Mathematicians of the African Diaspora

Fascinating website. If you look inside, a very large number of them are not African-Americans, but instead they are actual Africans. Although it is true that Blacks are only 1% of all mathematicians, a disproportionate number of Black mathematicians are engaged in high-end mathematics research. Lots of good stuff inside, including the racist BS a lot of these fine scholars had to go through. Black mathematicians were pretty much kept out of the academy until around 1970, but they have been making up for lost time ever since.

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17 thoughts on “Mathematicians of the African Diaspora”

    1. Yeah I read about that guy. I swear, looking at his pic, I thought he was a White guy. There was no possible way that guy could be Black. I guess he’s a victim of One Drop Rule. He also experienced a lot of racism, despite his White looks.

  1. The US only imports the top tier of, for instance, Indian and Chinese immigrants. So from an American perspective, Indians and Chinese seem very clever, even though in their home countries there is a broad variety of ability. It’s the same with Africans. Just look at Obama’s father.
    But Africans descended from slaves had a different selection criteria – physical ability. Not only were they selected for this, but they were bred for this. The atlantic passage weeded out the weak ones, the institution of slavery encouraged physicality over intellect. The results, in both culture and gene expression, are plain to see.
    Robert Lindsay often claims that the mere presence of blacks degrades a society. However, would it not be better to import University-level Africans to raise the standard of American blacks? Any white would be happy to live in a suburb of Obamas.

  2. The US only imports the top tier of, for instance, Indian and Chinese immigrants. So from an American perspective, Indians and Chinese seem very clever, even though in their home countries there is a broad variety of ability.
    Kind of / Sort of yes for Indians (although I am convinced India as Africa could benefit markedly by adding iodine and other micro nutrients to common staples..) but I would say that is not correct for China. I have heard too many tales about line workers in China making suggestions that increase productivity and other signs that collectively the Chinese are smart and on the move. Look at the two predominantly Chinese countries that were not under the shadow of Mao, Singapore and Taiwan. These are first world countries in multiples senses of the word. In my own experience I have worked with Chinese people in Beijing who are simply put… the competition. They’re good …. and about 1/10 my salary when various taxes, health package, etc are thrown in. They are very hard working people and actually pretty inovative within the guidelines given them.

    1. China could not turn into “another Taiwan.” This was known as early as the early 1960’s. Why not? Easy. China has 1.5 million mouths to feed. This has always been the game killer for China. Mao was probably the first man in China to feed the Chinese people in centuries, millenia, or ever.
      Do you know what China was like in 1949? Without Mao, China would be like India, a wreck, but maybe a high-tech wreck. Big deal. There was industry during Chiang too. I actually think it might be more like Somalia. Probably 450/100,000 women dying in childbirth, I would say 50% malnutrition, a total catastrophe, probably 6 million a year at least dying of hunger. Probably 3-4 million kids dying every years from infant mortality. That would be China without Mao. A cruel and pitiless mess.
      Keep in mind that the US forced social democracy on Chiang’s gangsters in Taiwan to make into a capitalist showcase to show up Mao.

    1. They are 1% of all mathematicians, that’s all. I doubt if there is much AA in hiring at the professor level. You either cut it or you don’t. You have to go before a Goddamned committee and it’s nasty and ruthless as Hell. And once you’re there, you really need to pull your weight. It’s quite a while before you’re tenured. Before that, you are probably part time, and if you don’t cut the mustard, I assume you are just out. And now you have a bad recommendation too.
      I’ve spent quite a bit of time at universities (10 years at least) and the number of incompetent professors I met was vanishingly small.

  3. “You either cut it or you don’t. You have to go before a Goddamned committee and it’s nasty and ruthless as Hell. And once you’re there, you really need to pull your weight.”
    Math is one of those areas that is more cut and dry than a qualitative area, no doubt. However, there is massive racial preferences (and to a lesser degree gender preferences) in math and science (as far as women goes, much of this is due to simple preferences to subjects other than math, which combined with a lower mathematical aptitude drives their numbers very low).

  4. For every Harvard math/science/engineering faculty position there are hundreds of applicants. Everyone who gets a job here knows their stuff and is qualified, and many who do not get the job could have done quite well. They instead go to lesser universities, such as SUNY, UMASS, etc.
    So what racial preferences do in math/science/engineering departments is that they get underrepresented a hand on the scale; they are less qualified than Whites and Asians and many White and Asian faculty members at lesser schools have more impressive accomplisments than the NAM’s and women and top schools.

    1. I am sorry but it is really hard for me to see those Black mathematicians on that webpage as “unqualified” in any way. I just don’t see it. I’ve been to the lesser schools and all of the teachers there were quite qualified. There were only a few women on staff but they were at least as good as the men, actually, one of them was probably better.
      There were no NAM’s in my department – Linguistics. Linguistics is pretty hardcore stuff, some call it The Physics of the Humanities. If you can’t do the work, you’re just out, period. You have to publish a lot too, it’s publish or perish until you get tenure.
      Do you really have a point, Scott. If only 1% of Blacks are mathematicians (university math professors) exactly how much AA is really going on university hiring of math professors. I would suggest very little if any. Now if Black professors were 13% of all math faculty, maybe we would have an argument.

  5. Ronald Mallett sounds like he knows his stuff as far as math. He’s a physics professor and is working in theoretical physics regarding time travel and attempting to send sub-atomic parties back in time. They say blacks haven’t contributed nearly as much as whites have in the sciences, but if a black guy becomes the first to break the time barrier, I think that would make up for a lot to say the least.
    Pretty interesting guy in general: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWnoMaSgYPY

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