SACC Response to Black Lives Matter – Updated 20 July 2020
The Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges Executive Board and members share your grief, frustration, and rage at the violence perpetrated by police on Black members of our society. These historic protests erupting all over the world against police brutality and systemic racism are taking place amidst a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black and Indigenous communities.
Like you, we are committed to making change within our colleges: to change hiring practices, bring more cultural competence and anti-racist curricula, to address microaggressions and implicit bias through training and other professional development, to revisit our campus police policies and procedures, to create or enhance our diversity and inclusion centers, and to raise awareness of anti-Blackness on campus and to work to dismantle discrimination and prejudice against all people of color and other marginalized communities.
Those of us teaching at community colleges serve underrepresented and marginalized students who live below the poverty line. Many of our students have been essential workers during COVID, and still go into the streets to fight for justice. On the other hand, we also serve students who have little exposure to such diversity, and we are committed to fostering a welcoming approach to providing such exposure.
With our students, we commit to educating students to deconstruct race, and in the process, dismantle the social hierarchy that operates on the basis of looks alone. We also commit to encouraging students to apply their anthropological knowledge to think about solutions to the inequities within our society that continue to support this racial social hierarchy.
We recognize that anthropology, as a discipline, has a problematic history with race. Some of our anthropological ancestors were central players in the creation of “racial” categories falsely situated in biology, which provided the justifications for patterns of institutional racism that still persist today. However, others fought the prevailing ideas of the time and made early contributions to the understanding of race as a biological fallacy that we now hold. Today, anthropologists of all fields are at the front of the fight to dismantle racialization and prejudice. Yet we still have a long way to go.
We know that resources are essential for broadening and deepening our perspective, and would like to support the scaffolded anti-racist resources curated by Anna Stamborski, M. Div Candidate (2022); Nikki Zimmermann, M. Div candidate (2021); and Bailie Gregory, M. Div, M.S. Ed. For a list of compiled resources on anti-racist pedagogy, please see USC’s Anti-racist Pedagogy Library Guide highlighting work of the Center for Urban Education and others.
As an organization, we strive to be inclusive and seek members and leaders from a diversity of backgrounds. While we know that we can’t fix all of the systemic issues that have led to this moment, still we pledge to do better to identify structural problems that may be preventing BIPoC voices (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) from joining our leadership and publications. Please contact us if you would like more information about getting involved.