The MacArthur Foundation named the recipients of its 2021 “genius” grants. Above are the 15 honorees NPR chose to represent the group Each will receive $625,000, which they are free to spend however they see fit: Left to right, top row to bottom, are Hanif Abdurraqib, Daniel Alarcón, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Jordan Casteel, Don Mee Choi, Nicole Fleetwood, Cristina Ibarra, Ibram X. Kendi, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Monica Muñoz Martinez, Safiya Noble, Alex Rivera, Jacqueline Stewart, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
As you can see, all the Fellows shown are “of color.” Since I can’t count, this originally confused me into thinking these were all of the Fellows, but ten were missing. [Hence the correction.] I checked of the remaining ten, three are white, and the ethnicity of one is uncertain: I can’t find any reference to her parents. There is only one Asian-American in the 25, which is decidedly strange. So the final tally, counting the mystery woman as white, is four out of 25 “geniuses” among the individuals chosen, 16%. The 2020 Census found 61% of Americans were white.
Is it racially insensitive to mention this? The Foundation is confident that its obvious bias won’t be criticized—this kind of disproportionate demographic mix would be considered evidence of discrimination in most contexts—and NPR decided only to highlight the “of color” honorees. What happened to “inclusion and diversity”?
Meanwhile, I am officially humiliated by belonging to such an inferior race.
Pointer: Here’s Johnny, who alerted me to the fact that I miscounted.