Scientific American, like many older publications, wanted to get into the blogging game. Unfortunately Scientific America was not too picky about whom it let through the door. And it made the mistake of having Danielle Lee write a blog called The Urban Scientist.
Urban is liberal code for Black. Obviously Scientific American was looking to push some minority friendly stories. But its focus was on science. It didn’t realize that identity politics and science go together about as well as phrenology and science or as well as Scientology and science.
Danielle Lee blogged the usual empty nonsense. Bugs she saw. Food she ate. Various conventions she went to or wanted to promote. There was nothing interesting here or anything that anyone would care about. The post before her big drama post had one tweet. The post before that had one like.
The obvious problem for Lee was that she wasn’t going to stay employed for very long without traffic. And the drama had to come from somewhere. So she put up a post accusing an editor from another site that solicited work from her of being a racist.
It was the usual, “Want to do some work for free” that freelance writers often have to put up with. The editor allegedly insulted her after she refused.
There were plenty of places for Danielle Lee to call him out. She had a Twitter account and a YouTube channel, on which she put up a video attacking him.
The improper place to put up a post full of trash talk about a personal issue was at Scientific American, which isn’t Gawker or Slate or Buzzfeed. Despite all the blogging, it was trying to talk about science. Not people that Danielle Lee was angry at. So Scientific American did the right thing and took down Danielle Lee’s post.
It’s not as if Danielle Lee’s post was some sort of rational response. It was an illiterate rant that read like this…
“I’m far from rah-rah, but the inner South Memphis in me was spoiling for a fight after this unprovoked insult. I felt like Hollywood Cole, pulling my A-line T-shirt off over my head, walking wide leg from corner to corner yelling, “Aww hell nawl!” In my gut I felt so passionately:”Ofek, don’t let me catch you on these streets, homie!
But the fact is I told ol’ boy No; and he got all up in his feelings. So, go sit on a soft internet cushion, Ofek, ’cause you are obviously all butt-hurt over my rejection. And take heed of the advice on my khanga.
Not exactly Scientific American quality. Not exactly quality of any kind.
But Scientific American had made the mistake of allowing identity politics through the door by giving someone like Danielle Lee a blog. Now it was going to be made to pay for that mistake.
Liberal activists denounced Scientific American for “silencing” Danielle Lee. And then there were angry posts on liberal blogs, hashtags targeting Scientific American and claims of sexual harassment.
Before long, Scientific American was forced to apologize for pulling an inappropriate and illiterate post by Danielle Lee. And it was forced to put the post back up.
Liberal activists were furious when Scientific American editor Mariette DiChristina wrote, “Scientific American is a publication for discovering science. The post was not appropriate for this area & was therefore removed.”
Before long however she was forced to apologize for her common sense response to Danielle Lee’s Twitter hate mob.
Juggling holiday-weekend commitments with family, lack of signal and a dying phone, alongside the challenges of reaching colleagues over a holiday weekend, I attempted to at least address initial social-media queries about the matter with a tweet yesterday: “Re blog inquiry: @sciam is a publication for discovering science. The post was not appropriate for this area & was therefore removed.” I acknowledge that microblogs are not the ideal medium for such an important explanation to our audiences and regret the delay in providing a fuller response. My brief attempt to clarify, posted with the belief that “saying something is better than saying nothing,” clearly had the opposite effect. With 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had simply promised a fuller reply when I was able to be better connected and more thorough.
We take very seriously the issues that are faced by women in science and women of color in science. As a woman who has worked in science publishing for more than 20 years, I can add that we intend to discuss how we can better investigate and publicize such problems in general and search for solutions with Dr. Lee and with the wider scientific community. With the help of Dr. Lee as an author, Scientific American plans to provide a thoroughly reported feature article about the current issues facing women in science and the related research in the coming weeks. I am personally grateful to Dr. Lee for her support in these endeavors and am looking forward to working with her on these issues.
So Danielle Lee, whose previous contributions to Scientific American involved taking photos of herself next to her truck and press releases of conventions, is now going to be participating in SA’s surrender to identity politics.
Once again liberal blackmail and shakedowns worked. And science lost.
Danielle Lee’s personal drama has made her famous, not for science, but for whining about turning down a freelance writing gig and for having her inappropriate illiterate name-calling post deleted by Scientific American. Now the whiner has triumphed. And that just means she’ll have to go on doing more of the same.
Danielle Lee can’t contribute to science, but she can go on contributing to identity politics by finding more villains to denounce. And now that Scientific American was forced to knuckle under and run her rant, it will have to go on surrendering the banner of science to leftist agit-prop.
The moral of the story is that you don’t hire a Danielle Lee to write a blog with even a hint of identity politics or you’ll pay the price for it sooner or later. Anyone who has to trade on their identity is already bound to be a failure at doing anything else. And their only way out is to find a way to shake you down.
No matter how nice you are to them, sooner or later they’ll turn on you for the same reason that the scorpion turned on the frog. They have no other choice. They can’t succeed. They can only complain. And eventually they’ll have to blame you for their failure and begin feeding on you.