Anti-Black racism is not in the United States’ past. Still, it is a current system of oppression that continues to shape our society and mold our relations. When our country is reckoning with the devastating effects of this oppressive system, none of us must remain silent about the harms and dangers of white supremacy. Quietism is a form of complacency; even more, it is a form of complicity.
We, the Liberal Studies faculty at SFSU, are committed to the ideal of racial justice. We express our support of the Black Lives Matter movement that is in the process of redrawing the lines of our political imagination.
Liberal Studies’ two chief goals are the following: 1) to give students a broad and interdisciplinary education rooted in how the humanities, social sciences, creative arts, and natural sciences interact, and 2) to prepare future generations of public school teachers. Both of these goals have a role to play in the fight against white supremacy. We are committed to preparing our students to succeed in the world as individuals and to inhabit it in an ethically and politically conscientious manner as community members.
More than noting our opposition to racial hatred and discrimination, we are committed to do what we can to instill in our students a solid understanding of the complex realities that people of color, especially Black people, experience daily. To this end, we plan to encourage LS faculty to further incorporate Black authors and artists into course materials from multiple disciplinary perspectives, to cultivate integrative approaches and methods that help students investigate and critique existing structures of oppression, and to motivate students (especially those who intend to become K-12 teachers) to think about the kind of work they, too, will need to do to create equitable pedagogies and environments. In addition, we commit to the following actions:
Make a concerted effort to increase our enrollment, retention, and graduation rate of Black and BIPOC students over the next several years through enhanced recruitment efforts, and to connect our bBack students with each other and with other Black alumni.
Invite more Black and BIPOC professionals to our campus (e.g., to give public talks and workshops).
Organize educational events such as workshops, brown bag lunches, colloquia, and public lectures on race, racism, and white supremacy for the SFSU community.
Incorporate into our faculty meetings agenda items discussing specific steps, perhaps in collaboration with other departments, to make our program more inclusive.
It is crucial that all of us, especially those who benefit (directly or indirectly) from white supremacy, use this moment to act. But it is also essential to listen to the myriad of voices from the Black community and to reflect upon what it means to honestly respond to what these voices tell us.