Wikipedia Has Two Big Problems and Diversity is One of Them

supermodelsonya
6 min readApr 3, 2021

by Supermodelsonya

It is one of the most visited websites in the world. From children using it as a resource for a book report to people looking up topics on anything one person can think of. If you need to research it, chances are you can find the information on Wikipedia.

I grew up reading encyclopedias as a child out of a desire to want to learn different things, and out of boredom so Wikipedia was a great place where I could get lost for hours and just hop from one topic to another, expanding and sharing knowledge. What makes it unique is that anyone can go on Wikipedia and edit its content, creating articles for others to understand.

I was very excited when I created my first article, realizing that there was a lack of information on a female murderer who was the last woman to die in the gas chamber of California. I did all my research and found sources. There, I teamed up with an experienced editor and they helped me navigate the vast rules and regulations, along with links and sources. I thought that I would never get through it all, but I did and was proud of my contribution.

I was so excited, I wanted to do more to Wikipedia, ready to contribute more content. As a disabled person of color, just going through some of the topics showed that there was a true lack of diversity on the “volunteer staff”.

It was here that I ran into my first set of issues.

Diversity

Clarice Phelps

In 2019, if you went looking for information on a black nuclear chemist named Clarice Phelps, you wouldn’t have been able to find any information about her on Wikipedia. She was the first black woman to discover an element, a worthy achievement that should have been a triumphant reason to include a page about her, at least a stub.

In 2018, a British physicist named Jessica Wade noticed this oversight and created a page for her. However, to those who know how Wikipedia operates, her page was promptly deleted. The Wikipedia “community” consensus was that her biography had to go. The deleted biogrpahy was disputed…

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supermodelsonya

I fight Lupus w/chemo. 😘 Astrophysics Wheelchair 💁🏾-watch your ankles!♿️🇩🇪🌈 I eat MJ haters 4 lunch. Debating me is foolish w/any topic Don’t. 🔱