Wandering Eye: The underrepresentation of minorities in museums, misdiagnosing childhood trauma, and more

According to a recent study through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, of 181 museums surveyed, women make up 60 percent of museum staff—and they fill up more than 70 percent of the top roles in curatorial, conservation, and education departments. In rather unsurprising news, however, museum staff is still mostly white. The Art Newspaper reported that although minorities make up 28 percent of museum staff, most work in security, finance, HR, or similar departments rather than in the creative leadership areas. And then there are the board members, who often have a lot of sway in the way the museum runs and markets itself, but the researchers say that the data on this was "unrepresentative" because response rates on these questions were low. Marginal progress is better than no progress at all, but we need to do better. (Rebekah Kirkman)

 

Effective altruism (EA) is the idea that charitable work should be informed by data and numbers in order to figure out the most efficient ways to do the most net good. Sounds good, right? But what happens when the EA movement becomes dominated by white men in the tech field? You get a movement that "is increasingly obsessed with ideas and data that reflect the class position and interests of the movement's members rather than a desire to help actual people," writes Dylan Matthews for Vox. "In the beginning, EA was mostly about fighting global poverty. Now it's becoming more and more about funding computer science research to forestall an artificial intelligence–provoked apocalypse. At the risk of overgeneralizing, the computer science majors have convinced each other that the best way to save the world is to do computer science research. Compared to that, multiple attendees said, global poverty is a 'rounding error.'" That's right. Fighting global poverty is a rounding error. That's what happens when you divorce the humanity from charity and only think about numbers. (Anna Walsh)

 

One in nine children in the U.S. currently have a diagnosis of ADHD—that's 6.4 million kids. But what if their symptoms—disruptive or inattentive behavior—are being misdiagnosed? That's what Dr. Nicole Brown thought during her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and she realized that a lot of the symptoms she was seeing in her low-income patients could also be a result of trauma. "Hyper-vigilance and dissociation, for example, could be mistaken for inattention. Impulsivity might be brought on by a stress response in overdrive," Rebecca Ruiz writes for The Atlantic. "'Despite our best efforts in referring them to behavioral therapy and starting them on stimulants, it was hard to get the symptoms under control,' [Brown] said of treating her patients according to guidelines for ADHD. 'I began hypothesizing that perhaps a lot of what we were seeing was more externalizing behavior as a result of family dysfunction or other traumatic experience.'" And by misdiagnosing PTSD as ADHD, and medicating kids with stimulants accordingly, doctors could end up making the kids' "emotional and psychological turmoil" even worse. Awareness of trauma, and the resources to provide care accordingly, needs to be greater in the medical and clinical fields. (Anna Walsh)

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