In an HBCU first, Howard awarded $90 million military research contract
January 24, 2023 12:55 AM   Subscribe

 
“The new center, funded by the Defense Department and the Air Force, will focus on tactical autonomy technology for military systems. The investment reflects efforts by military leaders to promote and draw upon expertise that better reflects the country they are protecting — and correct biases and problems that weaken it.”
posted by bendy at 1:31 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of thing that reminds me of Matt Bors brilliant cartoon about how nice it is that a woman is dropping bombs now.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:50 AM on January 24 [23 favorites]


What's the connection between this story and the tags "blacklivesmatter" and "newnormal" exactly?
posted by lazaruslong at 6:18 AM on January 24


What's the connection between this story and the tags "blacklivesmatter"

I would guess it's that BLM is about recognition of black people as equal footed participants in our society...even the pointy, exploding murderous bits.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:21 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Yeah, when POC ask for investment in the community.....THIS was not what they meant, but Military Industrial Complex has to Military Industrial Complex I guess.

*sighs*
posted by Fizz at 6:27 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Yeah, when POC ask for investment in the community.....THIS was not what they meant, but Military Industrial Complex has to Military Industrial Complex I guess.

Given that the military industrial complex is the only public education and full employment program that the American political apparatus is willing to support, I'm glad these benefits are accruing to HBCUs.
posted by mhoye at 7:10 AM on January 24 [6 favorites]



Yeah, when POC ask for investment in the community.....THIS was not what they meant


If this is really true, I have to question a whole lot about the wisdom of the POC asking for investment. It's really hard to truly integrate into society when you spurn society's common interests and goals. If you want POC making STEM inroads, some of the most respectable paths to betterment, you're not helping by saying "no, not this way". Recognizing the effort and capabilities of HCBU research and engineering departments (jesus, is this really such a novel thing?) is just another step forward.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:31 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Mmmmm, what exactly is that AI doing?
posted by kingdead at 7:54 AM on January 24


I say this with kindness: I wish more people understood the history of the US government's, and more specifically the US intelligence community's, harmful interference in the lives of black, indigenous, and other racialized peoples. I also understand why so many people don't know much about that subject, because it's effectively been laundered out of our public education systems and collective memory. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'd suggest reading the work of Black marxist scholars, or at least read about COINTELPRO and then work one's way out from there.

I don't want this to derail the conversation. Rather, I want to urge an open mind -- and consideration of the impact of what it means, both symbolically and in practice, for the US military-industrial complex to be viewed as a solution to the systemic material abuses they forged in the first place.

If this is really true, I have to question a whole lot about the wisdom of the POC asking for investment.
While it may not have been intended this way, this feels like a very unkind and uncharitable statement. No one is saying this isn't a complicated situation.
posted by nightrecordings at 8:00 AM on January 24 [19 favorites]


I don't really feel like it's my place to pass moral judgement on this, but I do wish we lived in a world where no college or university needed or wanted to accept money from the Pentagon.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:49 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


Expecting people of color (or women or any other minoritized group) to be more morally pure than the rest of society and therefore transform the dominant culture by not participating in the institutions and activities that are part of society is super fucking racist.
posted by medusa at 10:03 AM on January 24 [15 favorites]


I am not trying to say there aren't interesting critiques of this. I'd just ask that we go beyond knee-jerk "people of color should be better than that" responses.
posted by medusa at 10:05 AM on January 24


came for the comments about "military-industrial complex simps" (j/k!!!) stayed for this very interesting and nuanced discussion.

its great that HBCU's are getting bigger grants, more government funding etc., including for science that has application for military purposes.

but yeah, I wonder how the student body feels? (not all the same of course) when I was in Uni (not a HBCU) we protested this kind of thing, perhaps with that naïve demand for ethical purity that can seem so reasonable when you are 19.
posted by supermedusa at 10:24 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Expecting people of color (or women or any other minoritized group) to be more morally pure than the rest of society and therefore transform the dominant culture by not participating in the institutions and activities that are part of society is super fucking racist.

That's totally true, but it's also true that if supporting an institution (such as the military) is intrinsically* morally reprehensible, it remains morally reprehensible when we minorities do it, and it's super racist to think otherwise.

*If on the other hand, part of the reprehensible nature of the institution is how it treats minorities, then integrating minorities could serve to mitigate that aspect of its reprehensible nature. In theory at least. Maybe not so much in practice. (Law enforcement etc. enters the chat.)
posted by xigxag at 11:07 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


The US military has sometimes been a leader in racial integration. (Also in racial extermination.)
posted by grobstein at 8:10 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Expecting people of color (or women or any other minoritized group) to be more morally pure than the rest of society and therefore transform the dominant culture by not participating in the institutions and activities that are part of society is super fucking racist.

Indeed it is. This post is pretty racist. Why is it up? Who is it for? White liberals to dunk on HBCUs?
posted by lazaruslong at 2:18 AM on January 25


Thinking about what Mohammad Ali said when asked about the Viet Gong and marvelling at what the proper anti-racist viewpoint set forth in this thread is. America is in a great place right now.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:19 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


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