Scientific Conference Charging White Scientists For Entry, Minorities Get In Free

A marine science conference will charge white scientists for entry while scientists of color are allowed to attend for free.

The POSea 2021 Conference, a virtual conference for the “marine science BIPOC community,” will charge white scientists $10 to attend as an “ally” as well as bar them from certain conference events.

“Allies are welcome to attend the main conference events and support the conference by purchasing a $10 ally ticket. The conference is free for BIPOC scientists,” the conference description says. BIPOC stands for black, indigenous, and other people of color.

A “BIPOC only preview event” will be held on July 31, the conference description says. The “main conference events” for the virtual conference will be held from 4p.m. Friday, October 1 to 10p.m. Sunday October 3.

The virtual conference is co-hosted by the Minorities in Shark Sciences, Latinx in the Marine Sciences, Black in Marine Science, Black Women in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Science, Minorities in Aquarium, and Zoo Science, and BIPOC in Ocean Science.

“This conference will provide networking opportunities and professional development opportunities for participants while showcasing the work of BIPOC marine scientists from around the world,” according to the conference description.

The conference accepts abstract submissions from “a broad range of topics” including biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, marine geology, physical oceanography, marine ecology, environmental science, marine policy, aquarium/zoo science, and science education. The deadline for abstracts was Thursday.

Conference participants can also showcase their organization during the conference as an exhibitor. A full list of speakers and the agenda for the conference will be revealed in July.

The marine biology conference is not the first event that has tried out charging white people for entry.

Earlier this month, organizers of a Pride event in Seattle charged “white allies and accomplices” a “reparations fee” to attend.

The event, called “Taking B(l)ack Pride,” is about “lifting the voices, narratives, and contributions of black queer and trans voices,” organizers said.

The event sparked concerns even among other LGBT groups, and Capitol Hill Pride filed a complaint with the Seattle Human Rights Commission, saying the event’s policy was racially discriminatory. The event was organized by the Trans Women of Color Solidarity Network and Queer the Land.

In 2019, an Afrofuturist group charged white people $20 and black people $10 to attend its Detroit festival.

The group backed down from the policy after a performer backed out and ticketing website Eventbrite threatened to unpublish the event. Rapper Tiny Jag, who was scheduled to perform, brought attention to the festival’s controversial policy.“This does not reflect the views of myself or the Tiny Jag team. I will not be playing this show. I apologize for anyone who may have been triggered or offended,” the rapper said. Tiny Jag told CNN that she is biracial and that her grandmother is white.

“I didn’t think we were near that thinking that something like that could be progressive,” she said. “We have never seen hate work, I don’t understand.”

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