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.
Resources on Social Justice (Miami University Libraries)
Racial Consciousness 101 (Miami-based resources)
*asterisk indicates alumni authored titles
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