08 July 2016

How To Support Blacademics & Be an Ally

If you are working in academia, this post is for you.

Ellie Adekur has created this important resource on How To Support Blacademics: For Non-Black Faculty and Grad Students Teaching Black Faces in White Spaces.

Adekur is a is a PhD student in Human Geography at the University of Toronto, as well as human rights activist and social justice educator. This resource was posted today on Adekur's Facebook page in response to the latest instances of anti-Black violence witnessed across North America this week, and the need to address "anti-Black racism in classes, tutorials and office hours: professors and teaching assistants screening violent content, leaning on racist tropes, ignoring anti-Black comments, or singling out Black students to address problematic comments/opinions in the room."

This resource is not exhaustive, but it is a useful and important place for instructors to start rethinking their engagements in and outside of the classroom in relation to racism and social injustice. It contains simple, invaluable points or reminders about how to support our colleagues, students, and others in the university. As social scientists, especially as anthropologists, we already know these things intellectually, but for non-Black academics remember:
3. If you're not Black or racialized, don't pretend to be an expert. Don’t pretend to have all of the answers, or feel like you need to. Your empathy and allyship are constantly practiced, learned and always developing. 
You may also wish to check out this page of Links for Allies from White Ribbon.

UPDATE - 10 July 2016: Jennifer has also pointed out this article, "11 Common Ways White Folks Avoid Taking Responsibility for Racism in the US" (2016, Everyday Feminism), written by Robin DiAngelo. As a white educator who focuses on critical multicultural and social justice education, DiAngelo draws on her own observations as a white person facilitating anti-racism workshops with white Americans, and the outrage she frequently meets in trying to engage them in discussions of racism as systemic. Part of learning to engage as an ally requires that people with privilege (here, those who identify/ are identified as white) be willing to hear feedback on how their actions contribute to systemic violence. This might be a useful piece for students to reflect on in the classroom, perhaps as an exercise leading to a discussion about contemporary race and racism.

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