Old First World problem: White male Europeans dominate Western society.

New First World problem: White male Europeans dominate Mars.

Yes, various social justice warriors have concluded that the current fascination with colonizing the Red Planet, exemplified by Tesla-crat Elon Musk’s SpaceX project, isn’t grounds for enthusiasm or even skepticism. It’s grounds for hand-wringing: Space exploration is just too darned male and white.

Typical is this May 6 article in the U.K. Guardian titled “How Can Our Future Mars Colonies Be Free of Racism and Sexism?”

This question has probably never occurred to most people, whose main question about Mars colonization might be more along the lines of “Why Would Even a Racist or a Sexist Want to Live in a Freezing Desert 140 Million Miles Away?” But Guardian contributor Martin Robbins writes:

To paraphrase Douglas Adams: “Space is white. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly white it is.” It’s also very male and European. Women in space-colony fiction have generally been presented as sexy walking vaginas, whose main purpose is to provide the male astronauts with a place to dock their penis at night. This being necessary in order to “ensure the survival of the species”.


There’s no room for discussion about social justice or equality when it comes to planning our future Mars colonies because we all just assume that decent educated scientists and engineers – the “right kind” of people – won’t have any problem with that sort of thing.

Then there was D.N. Lee, writing for Scientific American:

Diversity, Inclusion, Access and Ethics should be a critical part of these conversations about space science, discovery, exploration, and yes eventual travel and emigration. And when we look around and see a homogenous group of individuals discussing these issues – issues that command insane budgets, we should pause. Why aren't other voices and perspectives at the table? How much is this conversation being controlled (framed, initiated, directed, routed) by capitalist and political interests of the (few) people at the table?

Zuleyka Zavallos, a sociologist and self-proclaimed champion of “gender equity in science,” blogged:

Imagine you are a young Indigenous child intrigued about space. Indigenous groups, including in Australia, already have many sacred stories about the stars that have influenced science. Indigenous Australians may be “the world’s oldest astronomers.” What a great way to connect Indigenous youth with STEM careers! But now imagine they see these media stories, where White men conceive of space travel in colonial terms, while at the same time they are living through their communities being pushed off their lands.

Next  space-exploration problem for social justice warriors to consider: extraterrestials. For example, why is E.T. so…pale-skinned?