Being Black Means We Have to be 200% Better
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

I have to say, I found the Sam Kriss article pretty funny. I think NdT can be a bit of a buzz-kill at times, as can lots of other high-level scientists. I know that movies frequently have scientific inconsistencies; having someone point them all out certainly takes some of the wonder out of movies that are designed to be fantasies. In the second, less humorous portion of the article, Kriss makes some valid points, even though I generally disagree with his perspective.

With that said, I highly respect NdT. He is a brilliant astrophysicist and a fantastic ambassador for science. The Kriss article does absolutely nothing to affect my opinion of Tyson. Just because a writer criticizes another person, especially in a humorous way, does not mean it is racist, nor does it mean that the opinion represents a personal attack. Sometimes poking fun at someone is just poking fun, and sometimes criticizing someone’s perspective is just that — healthy criticism which is essential to the exchange and debate of ideas. Getting offended when someone makes fun of us or criticizes us is a sure sign that we’re taking ourselves too seriously, and overreacting only serves to emphasize our insecurity.

I don’t know how NdT reacted to the Kriss article, or if he even read it at all. But I’d have the utmost respect for him if he could laugh about it and recognize it for what it is — one person’s opinion that he has every right to share, and one that all of us as intelligent readers can choose to enjoy or dismiss as we see fit.

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