Nature’s Disastrous ‘Whitewashing’ Editorial, by Ross Andersen - The Atlantic
Nature’s editors don’t say whether there is a substantive case to be made that Sims’s or Parran’s scientific achievements merit these honors in spite of their ghastlier deeds. You can understand why they’d be gun-shy about making that case. For one, the two figures’ sins are not private indiscretions, incidental to their professional reputations. Their treatment of black men and women as subhuman subjects was core to their work. They profited from these experiments, and in the field’s highest currency: scientific prestige. And their actions are not dead history. They are continuous with the racism that infects American society, to the present day. They helped construct a system of medical #apartheid, in which black people were allowed to serve as subjects in the experiments that nudged #medicine into modernity, but were denied the fruits of those experiments.
Science’s ethos of self-correction should apply to how it thinks about its own history, too.