Latinx Engineers And ‘Systemic Racism’: Government Grants Are Injecting Race Into Science And Tech

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Robert Schmad Contributor
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The federal government is pouring large sums of taxpayer dollars into pushing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives on academic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding a slate of programs aimed at addressing alleged racism in environmental and civil engineering, making the field of chemistry more diverse and training engineers that reflect “black/Latinx” communities, according to a federal spending database. The grants identified by the Daily Caller News Foundation are part of a broader effort by the NSF to push racial equity in STEM.

One NSF grant, worth $1.5 million and distributed to the University of South Florida in July 2022, seeks to “challenge anti-black-racism in civil and environmental engineering” by developing “a suite of integrated, interdisciplinary, community-engaged, anti-black-racism training opportunities for civil and environmental engineering undergraduates.” In doing so, the NSF and the University of South Florida aim “to build capacity for addressing complex and interconnected challenges of our time.”

This grant “serve[s] the national interest,” according to its description. (RELATED: ‘Serious Threat’: The National Science Foundation Has Spent Millions On Projects Combating ‘Misinformation’)

Another NSF-funded grant, worth about $180,000 and directed to Tufts University in Massachusetts in September 2023, will focus on producing engineers that reflect the “black/Latinx” communities by “broadening notions of what it means to be an engineer and who can become one.”

“Students will learn ways of doing engineering as they engage in real-world examples inspired by the realities, histories and traditions of afro-Latinx people” under the NSF-funded program.

The Tufts grant is funded through the NSF’s Racial Equity in STEM Education program, a broad effort aimed at inserting DEI in the academic sciences.

Institutions applying for grants awarded under the Racial Equity in STEM Education program should “conceptualize systemic racism within the context of their proposal,” make an effort to “describe how the proposed work will advance scholarship of racial equity and address systemic racism” and have their projects be “led by or in authentic partnership with those who experience inequities caused by systemic racism,” according to the NSF.

The NSF anticipates spending between $15 million and $25 million on this program annually, according to its website.

Other racial equity grants funded by the NSF this year include $184,000 to diversify chemistry research as well as to develop a program that promotes “equity, diversity and inclusion” and $300,000 to build New Mexico’s IT workforce “through equity and inclusion.”

The NSF and the organizations they awarded funds to did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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