How To Support Blacademics: For Non-Black Faculty and Grad Students Teaching Black Faces in White Spaces
It’s hard to see Black resistance, Black resilience and Black power. Black love and Black beauty. If you’ve shown the footage of Alton Sterling’s murder, or are tempted to, stop. Adjust and show the footage of Quinyetta McMillan and her 15-year-old son Cameron. Show her face and the strength in her voice as she promises not to let Alton Sterling’s murder go unnoticed. Show what strength looks like. Show the future.)
Tue Jul 12 13:54:27 2016 - permalink -
don't sensationalize violence, trauma or pain. (re: no pictures or videos.) Let your students relate racism in the media and intersecting forms of discrimination/identity back to their lived experiences. Violence is complicated. So is identity. Help your students make sense of that.
Your empathy and allyship are constantly practiced, learned and always developing. Sometimes you fuck it up, reorient yourself and learn from your mistakes. Tell your students this from the outset.
The emotional and psychological burden of attending lectures and tutorials with anti-Black content is exhausting. Don’t single out Black students to address anti-Blackness or racism in the room.
Do not force your Black students/peers/colleagues to give you the "Black Perspective" on anything. (Why is this still a thing?)
That one Black person in your section doesn't speak for the entire race. You know this, right?
>>> i can see it with respect to technical topics... i will ask about pottery from pottery experts, and russia from russian-american friends, etc.
(And you can get collective feedback by asking the entire room for thoughts, comments or feedback, and inviting students to speak to or email you after with these things.)
Do not leave it up to marginalized students and communities to identify, explain and justify their struggle against systemic discrimination to supervisors, departments and administrative wings with the power and authority to oust them. Often when Black students raise issues of anti-Black racism to administrative bodies they are met with a response that individualizes issues and problematizes them
Be critical of scholars who produce work on marginalized bodies, social movements and anti-oppression when they are not actively practicing these politics in their academic lives and relationships.
Call them out. Right now. Always. Consistently.
Put your support out there. Make it public. Make it known. Use your privileges and platforms to amplify Black voices and experiences. (read: I’m telling you to literally step aside and let Black people take up space in academia.) There is no such thing as apolitical or objective social inquiry. There isn’t. When you teach students who come into the social sciences with a fire for activism, organizing, resistance and community development to remove themselves from their political leanings for the sake of ‘objectivity’, you’re putting out the fire of critical activists, innovators and educators, and you need to get out of the way.