by Anthea Butler and Kevin Gannon
September 2, 2020
Since 2014, scholars’ summers have been filled with the news of African Americans dying at the hands of police. Eric Garner. Mike Brown. Sandra Bland. Alton Sterling. Philando Castile. George Floyd. Jacob Blake. But as we well know, African American deaths by police know no season, no break. Laquan McDonald. Tamir Rice. Breonna Taylor. Countless others.
It’s hard to think about preparing or teaching a class, writing a book or article, or chairing a panel amidst the ambient violence of state violence, senseless murder, and racism. What about our students, especially our students of color? How are they managing in the midst of this racial maelstrom?
Given the recent events—namely the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake seven times in Kenosha, WI, and the same police force aiding and abetting a white terrorist who murdered two demonstrators—we can no longer sit quietly amidst state violence against communities of color. It is time for the academic community to do more than teach classes and offer reading lists on racism, policing, violence, and racial injustice. It is time for us to pause the endless meetings on diversity and inclusion, disrupt our institutions’ routines, look outward to the American public, and share our dismay, disgust, and resolve.