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

  • Angela Davis, The Autobiography of Angela Davis
  • Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
  • Assata Shakur, Assata
  • Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider
  • Ibram X. Kendi, How To Be An Antiracist
  • Ta- Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
  • James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
  • James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
  • Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric
  • Sami Schalk, Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s
    Speculative Fiction
  • bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
  • bell hooks, Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice
  • bell hooks, Cultural Criticism and Transformation
  • Ava Duvernay, 13TH
  • Ava Duvernay, When They See Us
  • Ethnic Notions (Any film by Marlon Riggs)