CRDM's Commitment to Anti-Racism
Like you, we are sickened, saddened, and frustrated by the recent murders by police of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the use of violence on the part of many law enforcement agencies against protesters in Raleigh and elsewhere around the country. We have been listening to and learning from the calls from BIPOC activists and colleagues to identify and actively dismantle the vestiges of white supremacy that so many of our institutions--including postsecondary education--continue to reproduce. We are also mindful of statements that express solidarity and support for Black lives without committing to particular courses of action, and we want to avoid allyship that is merely performative.
CRDM needs to enact a sustained response to the direct and indirect administrative and pedagogical structures in our program that promote white-serving racism. To this end, CRDM leadership will be communicating, collaborating, and sharing with you more in the coming weeks and months as we continue to listen, learn, and act in support of Black lives and racial justice. During the administrative transition to a new Director and Associate Director at the end of this month, we will begin by reaching out to the CRDMSA, CRDM faculty, and organizations on campus from whom we can learn a lot, like the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA), whose statement and suggestions “to transmute our words into action and further the anti-racist movement” were clearly and compellingly communicated this week.
The pandemic has already opened up space for us to reflect critically on 'business as usual', whether that be in how we teach, recruit, support, mentor, collaborate, and socialize with one another; but the events of the last couple of weeks have underscored just how overdue we are for a comprehensive assessment of our program's continued investment, however incidental or unintended, in institutional racism. This is the project before us.
As immediate steps, we are doing the following:
- Compiling lists of anti-racist scholarship organized by subject matter to include in teaching and research. Such a document can never be ‘complete’, but we will have a usable draft in the next couple of weeks;
- Mandating anti-bias training for CRDM Program Committee members;
- Devoting the first Program Committee meeting in the fall, as well as the first full faculty meeting, to discussing and implementing concrete plans. These discussions will be guided by the BGSA’s statement, as well as other resources assembled by BIPOC activists and their allies for dismantling white supremacy in institutional settings;
- Making anti-racist advocacy and pedagogy a central focus in the CRDM colloquium, through offering guest speakers, workshops, and credit fulfillment options related to the cause.
Going forward, we plan to work with the CRDMSA to ensure that further changes are developed in collaboration with graduate students, while also not putting undue strains on student time and labor.
This page will be updated regularly to reflect our ongoing commitment to Black lives and to anti-racism in our community.
Nick Taylor, Director, CRDM
Helen Burgess, Interim Associate Director, CRDM