Recently physicists at MIT and the State University of New York confirmed that the surface area of two black holes was maintained after the two entities merged, which was predicted by both Einstein’s theory of general relativity and Stephen Hawking’s work at Cambridge University. But as significant as those findings were, they failed to address a crucial unanswered question that permeates the ether on college and university campuses across the country, i.e., what is the connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness?
Academia’s preoccupation with race, especially on college campuses is well-documented. And we now learn that Cornell University offers an astronomy class that explores that connection through concepts like black holes and warped space-time. According to the catalog description the course titled “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” challenges the conventional wisdom that the sciences of cosmology and astrophysics are pure scientific endeavors and have no racial implications.
But let’s take a step back. Cosmology is the branch of astronomy that deals with the origin, structure, and space-time relationships of the universe. And at present, most of the scientific community subscribes to the Big Bang theory – no, not the TV show, but the prevailing cosmological model explaining the existence and evolution of the observable universe from the instant of creation to today.
However, Cornell University aims to challenge that concept with a course titled, “Black Holes: Race and the Cosmos” that asks the question, “Is there a connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness?” Now anyone who’s watched TV or read the newspaper since the election in November knows the answer to that question—of course there is! And if you doubt that, read the outline from Cornell’s class catalog for the Astro course #2034.
“Conventional wisdom would have it that the “black” in black holes has nothing to do with race. Surely there can be no connection between the cosmos and the idea of racial blackness. Can there? Contemporary Black Studies theorists, artists, fiction writers implicitly and explicitly posit just such a connection. Theorists use astronomy concepts like “black holes” and “event horizons” to interpret the history of race in creative ways, while artists and musicians conjure blackness through cosmological themes and images. Co-taught by professors in Comparative Literature and Astronomy, this course will introduce students to the fundamentals of astronomy concepts through readings in Black Studies.”
This course fulfills Cornell’s science distribution requirement, however, Cornell’s astronomy department recently announced that it will no longer allow its graduate programs’ applicants to submit the physics GRE requirement, which was dropped due to the examination’s adverse impact on female, black, and Hispanic students. Being unclear how the Graduate Records Examination (a standardized test) could cause this adverse impact to only certain demographics I decided to investigate. The GRE is owned and administered by The Educational Testing Service, the world’s largest private non-profit educational testing ass assessment organization and found that the test included a number of highly racial & sexists topics such as, Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Optics & Wave Phenomenon, Quantum Mechanics and Laboratory Methods.
Additionally, students taking the class offered in Spring 2021 were expected to familiarize themselves with works of theorists who “implicitly and explicitly” posit the connection between race and the subject matter of the hard science.
But Cornell wasn’t finished with attacking racism, the university’s faculty also, and very wisely I might add, removed any mention or race from campus crime alerts on the grounds that it endangers black people. Cornell University’s Faculty Senate will no longer allow campus police “CRIME ALERT” emails to use race as an identifier when alerting students and faculty to a crime.
Resolution 158, also titled “Regarding Crime Alerts and Race” stated it sought to end the “false association of blackness with criminality” and stop the justification of the “violent policing of black people.” The resolution read in part: “Whereas, the knowledge that a crime may have been committed by a black man does not make CRIME ALERT recipients any safer, but instead endangers black people in the community, reinforcing the common phenomenon of violence against black people on the grounds that they look like suspected criminals.” As an aside, on background it was reported that 75% of suspects were identified as black and male.
Boy, I sure am glad I attended college when campus life was more akin to the “Animal House” than it is today where sanitized safe spaces and censored speech keep our young adults from experiencing anything like the real world.