“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” -John F. Kennedy
No one likes being denied an opportunity — or told they shouldn’t do something they want to — solely because of the way they are. That’s especially true when it comes to something that’s an intrinsic part of one’s self, such as their race, gender, demeanor or personality. Which is why it surprised me to have my own legitimacy as a scientist questioned because of the way I choose to present myself to the world.
I think it’s important, in this world, not to conform to whatever stereotype people expect you to be, but rather to be yourself and express yourself as you truly are. In my experience, the people who matter most will not judge you negatively for that, but rather will appreciate your authenticity all that much more. Because not everyone needs to look like a majority (or even a plurality) of the people in your field do.
There’s a lot more to be said about “looking like a scientist,” and I’ll take it on for this week’s Ask Ethan!