Systemic racism exists in all arenas, including academic neuroscience and psychology. I support the Neuroscience Training Program (NTP) in believing that dismantling the beliefs and policies that perpetuate inequities requires intentional and enduring actions from each and every member of the UW–Madison community. Because scientific excellence thrives when diversity is celebrated, we strive for a world where ALL scientists can lead fulfilling lives without having to overcome discrimination. To further our collective progress towards this goal, I (Brad Postle) pledge:
•to consider my own biases and hold myself accountable for my actions and words, even if uncomfortable
•to intentionally and consistently act to address inequities that I witness or experience
•to engage in life-long learning in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion through training and other activities that are documented on a yearly basis.
During the 2020-2021 academic year I have:
• attended the (remote) BlackInNeuro conference in Fall 2020. [Our mission is to diversify the neurosciences by building a community that celebrates and empowers Black scholars and professionals in neuroscience-related fields.]
• after attending BlackInNeuro 2020, I worked with BiN leadership to contact cognitive-neuroscientist members of BiN and organized a symposium for the 2021 annual meeting of my “home society”: https://www.cogneurosociety.org/affirming-black-excellence-in-cognitive-neuroscience/;
• in parallel with organizing https://www.cogneurosociety.org/affirming-black-excellence-in-cognitive-neuroscience/ I actively sought to organize a BlackInCogNeuro-themed Special Focus at the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (where I am Editor-in-Chief). After initial interest, it became clear that an “identity-defined” Special Focus (as opposed to one defined by a scientific question) would not be helpful. There is an open invitation to participants in https://www.cogneurosociety.org/affirming-black-excellence-in-cognitive-neuroscience/ to organize a discipline-specific Special Focus at JoCN.
• worked with NTP ad hoc Equity and Diversity working group to formulate this pledge and related Code of Conduct for the NTP; my intent throughout this process is to let my colleagues-of-color define the critical problems, and then step up to do as much “heavy lifting” as I can, so as to relieve from them the burden of fixing systemic inequities.
• (re-)volunteered to mentor a SfN Neuroscience Scholar. A participant in the Psychology Research Experience Program that I direct suggested that I elaborate on this point. And what I’m realizing is that although I’ve done this several times, I’ve failed to stay in touch with previous years’ mentees. I need to track them down and be proactive about staying in touch.
• learned from a microaggression committed by staff under my supervision in my role as Director of Psychology Research Experience Program.