Black Lives Matter

Statement on Black Lives Matter

Miami University Languages, Literatures, and Writing Department
Miami University English Department

"In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be antiracist." Angela Davis


The Miami University’s Languages, Literatures, and Writing Department and English Department stand together in solidarity with our Black colleagues, students, and communities. We are outraged by continued police violence and murder of Black people. We resist any attempt to dilute, distort, or obstruct antiracist protesters and protest. Further, we affirm our commitment to racial justice through teaching, service, and research which imagines a culture free from state-sanctioned violence against Black bodies.

Words matter. As teachers committed to social justice, we are sensitive to and concerned by the words and narratives used to describe current events. Terms like "rioters" and "looters" have long been used to discredit Black activism. When we construct narratives that stress restoring “stability” or “civility” over justice, we participate in oppression. We acknowledge that systemic racism and racist structures are enabled by stories that position racism elsewhere. White supremacy functions in our everyday lives and is particularly pernicious when it goes unacknowledged by others.

The beatings and/or murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Iyanna Dior, David McAtee, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black people should prompt all of us to reflect on how we contribute to or dismantle racist structures.

We can do better with supporting and amplifying Black experiences by 1) facilitating access to educational and professional opportunities (especially in fields in which Black people are underrepresented); 2) providing safe spaces to speak and to listen about experiences of social injustice; 3) considering the ways in which we all participate in implicit power structures that disenfranchise Black people; 4) challenging our own biases; 5) condemning racist speech and action on campuses; and 6) working for systemic change at Miami University and other higher education institutions and organizations.

Accountability starts at home. Black lives matter.

Resource Suggestions

We will add to these resources as we continue to build our toolkit for dismantling white supremacy and institutional racism.

Literature and Film

*asterisk indicates alumni authored titles

  • Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • Claudia Alick, Every 28 Hours 
  • James Baldwin:
    • Notes of a Native Son
    • The Fire Next Time 
  • Octavia Butler, Kindred 
  • Ta- Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me 
  • Cooper, Morris, and Boylorn (eds), The Crunk Feminist Collection
  • Anna Julia Cooper, A Voice from the South
  • Brittney C. Cooper, Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women 
  • Patrisse Cullors, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
  • Lisa D’Amour, Detroit
  • Angela Davis, The Autobiography of Angela Davis 
  • Ava Duvernay, 13TH and When They See Us
  • Ralph Ellison, Juneteenth
  • Nicole Fleetwood, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration*
  • Frances Harper, Iola Leroy
  • Saidiya Hartmann, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black 
  • girls, Troublesome Women and Queer Radicals
  • Ruthie Gilmore, Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case For Prison Abolition
  • bell hooks:
    • Cultural Criticism and Transformation
    • Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
    • Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings 
  • Saeed Jones, How We Fight For Our Lives
  • Tayari Jones, An American Marriage
  • Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer (directors), Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin. (2003)
  • Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist 
  • Kiese Laymon, Heavy: An American Memoir 
  • Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider 
  • Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
  • Kevin Mumford, Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men from the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis
  • Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix
  • Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race
  • Suzan-Lori Parks, The America Play
  • Raoul Peck (director), I Am Not Your Negro
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric 
  • Dee Rees (director), Pariah 
  • Rehman and Hernández (eds), Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism (2019)
  • Marlon Riggs, Ethnic Notions
  • Sami Schalk, Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s 
  • Speculative Fiction*
  • Assata Shakur, Assata
  • Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being
  • Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead
  • Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity
  • Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
  • Rebecca Wanzo, The Content of our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging* 
  • Jessmyn Ward, Men We Reaped
  • Ida B. Wells, The Red Record
  • Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad 
  • Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X