My daughter and grandson have been in town visiting, and I found myself taking care of the little one so that my daughter could have a break from him. We ended up at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry). With a few exceptions, I’ve never been fond of the place; it might be amusing to 10 year-olds, but there’s not much of interest for adults.
Since the planetarium has always been an interesting place to spend half an hour or so, I bought tickets for that show – without even paying attention to what it was going, specifically, to be about. As we waited in line, a movie was playing in a loop. It featured a black man rapping about the cosmos. After we got in, it soon became apparent that the show was nothing more than a short presentation by… you guessed it: A black man. He told us about the constellations and planets. He explained that some of the fainter stars are “unvisible” from our backyards, and how next year’s solar eclipse will travel through “Illi-noise.”
Not that I expect perfect English from everyone, but if somebody is getting paid to present to the public, his English should be pretty darn close to perfect. This guy definitely didn’t fit the bill, though I wouldn’t characterize his speech as “Ebonics.”
After the show, as we wandered around, I saw a poster featuring four or five black inventors and scientists.
It was quite obvious to me that OMSI is trying to paint a black face on science. It’s their own version of “blackface,” and I didn’t find it very funny. If notable scientists happen to be black, then by all means, give them their due. If a black musician writes a particularly catchy song about the cosmos, then by all means, let us hear it. If the best person they could find to give the presentation at the planetarium happens to be black, then so be it.
But the scientists featured in the poster were no more noteworthy than hundreds of other scientists. The rap song about the cosmos wasn’t in the least bit exceptional. As for the presenter at the planetarium, it’s obvious that his job prospects were greatly increased due to the fact that he’s black.
I, for one, am sick and tired of this science affirmative action. If OMSI is so intent on promoting blacks, rather than focusing on actual science, maybe it should move to Milwaukee.