Statement of Solidarity
Dear Anthropology Community,
We write to you in mourning of the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black people killed by the police or because their killers apparently believed white supremacy made them immune to justice. We, like many of you, feel a mixture of hope, trepidation, outrage, and exhaustion as this round of protests unfurl. We also recognize that our Black community members and other community members of color face distinct stresses and threats everyday.
American racism is over 400 years old, and the anti-Black and anti-Indigenous violence that founded this country permeate our institutions, laws, and practices. Historically, the discipline of anthropology has been complicit with racist and colonial projects. It has also long been a field of struggle against these forces, including work on the invalidity of the biological concept of race and the deleterious effects of racism, and on the anthropology of white supremacy.
As a department, we recognize the way power, policing, and systemic violence are interconnected in and beyond the United States. We will continue to work to be a space for rigorous examination of structures of power and for learning about tools of resistance and change, both in courses directly related to racism and in classes that may seem less related. And we will continue to emphasize the importance of understanding connections—sometimes blatant and sometimes insidious and nuanced—among forms of racism in the U.S. and abroad, among state and non-state violence motivated by white supremacy and related forces, and among racism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, colonialism, militarism, and capitalism. We also recognize the necessity of tracing these connections at our own institution, where racialized disparities persist. As Tufts and other universities grapple with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will advocate to protect and expand existing efforts to address injustices on our campus and the already disproportionate effects of the pandemic on communities of color. We recognize with gratitude that some of these efforts for positive change have been spurred by student organizing. We are committed in our classroom to creating space for students to address institutional and community injustices.
Most importantly, as a department we express our strongest condemnation of racism in all its forms, including white supremacy and police brutality. We promise to continue to build this condemnation into our commitments as a department, as we recognize that there is more we can do over the short and long terms. Recognizing that listening can be as important for change as speaking out, we look forward to hearing from our students about how our department can contribute to building a more equitable, safe, and just campus and community.
Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer