Being one of the useless college educated group and female to boot, there are certain personality traits I am expected to exude in the presence of these cultures. I am supposed to:
- Be quiet when the "real world" people are talking. People look like they've been slapped when they approach me and assume I am the more quiet, soft-spoken version of my husband, and look equally kicked in the nuts when I cut through their language of ignorance.
- Not ever correct misinformation being spewed by the "Real-Worlders." I'm an educator: that's what I do. If someone if making decisions based on faulty information, I will immediately correct them. Does it hurt their egos? Probably, but I'd rather hurt an ego than have a discussion proceed and conclude on a faulty premise.
- Not express any opinion with confidence. I don't do passive-aggressive. I don't fish in muddy waters for compliments. If I know something, I say it. I jump in.
- Respect ALL opinions. Nope, sorry. I can't respect opinions founded on logical fallacies or willful ignorance. Faulty logic leads to faulty solutions. A person has the right to believe whatever they wish, but that right does not protect them from critique.
Knowing this makes me extremely appreciative of the science community. This is the one community in which (close friends, my dojo, and family are the exceptions) where I feel it is perfectly fine for me to be a scientist and a person. It's not a community without its own peculiar faults, but it is one of the few places I feel as though I belong. Perhaps I'll live to see the day when "scientist" isn't a dirty word to the general public, but right now I feel as though I'm experiencing a modern Dark Age. All I can do is science on, and hope that my small efforts will contribute to the little spark of knowledge that will survive these times and shine bright and strong in the future.