The Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of racism and hate. The recent, horrendous event in Atlanta that targeted Asians and Americans of Asian ancestry in the United States is but one more manifestation of the systemic racism and exclusion that many of our colleagues and neighbors suffer routinely.
The FBI reports that hate crimes in the United States are at their highest point in over a decade; similar statistics have been reported in Canada. Hate crimes are motivated by biases towards a person’s race, religion, sexual preference and other categories. Critically for us as statisticians, violence against targeted groups occurs when we fail to make our profession — and all of society — more diverse and inclusive. Through our skills in quantitative reasoning, we are best equipped to generate evidence on impacts of inherent biases on targeted groups so that informed actions are taken to prevent hate crimes.
While Asian, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are not alone in terms of how frequently they are subjected to hate and prejudice, 2020 saw a sharp increase — as high as 150% relative to earlier years — in the number of crimes reported by AAPI persons. This is intolerable. COPSS, on behalf of its partner societies and all their members, stands firmly in support of all Asian, Asian Canadian, and Asian-American statisticians.
As a profession, we have benefited from the many and important contributions of our AAPI colleagues. There is no question that the influx of talent from other nations, but particularly from Asian countries, has enabled the United States and Canada to sustain its leadership role in science, technology, and innovation. Science and technology are the engine that drives economic development and opens more opportunities for advancement in society.
COPSS states in no uncertain terms that hate, prejudice, and exclusion have no place in any of its partner societies and will not be tolerated. We all need to do our part to build a more just society. COPSS has established a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce to develop strategies and activities to ensure that our profession is welcoming to all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and any other personal attributes. Furthermore, COPSS will continue to reflect on its own role in the perpetuation of any implicit biases against any member of our professional community by examining the fair representation of all deserving statisticians (including members of Asian and Pacific Islander descent) among recipients of COPSS awards, identifying any systematic underrepresentation or historical exclusion, and implementing more equitable solutions.
We all need to do more to promote justice, fairness, and respect. Let us commit to doing everything we can to ensure that those values guide our profession. Please join COPSS in expressing its deepest appreciation to all its members in these difficult times and in expressing its solidarity with the entire Asian community, and especially our cherished members of Asian descent and their loved ones.
*This statement was approved by leadership of all five COPSS societies.
American Statistical Association (ASA)
Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society (ENAR)
Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS)
Statistical Society of Canada/Société statistique du Canada (SSC)
Western North American Region of the International Biometric Society (WNAR)