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Statement on Department Commitment to Anti-Racist Education and Action

June 5, 2020

UTSA Department of Anthropology’s Commitment to Anti-Racist Education and Action

The faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio stands in solidarity with the Black community in the fight for justice and equality. We recognize the gravity of this historical moment, yet also recognize that this is a moment long in the making. Our history as a nation, and a discipline, is rooted in racialized inequality.

We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others whose names have not been spoken loudly enough. We raise our voices with our students, our city, and our nation to affirm that Black Lives Matter. We will support this affirmation through a renewed commitment as individuals and as a department to the ongoing work of anti-racist education and action.

We know that this work is simultaneously urgent and enduring and recognize that anti-Black racism in the United States is part of broader systems of racialized inequality that were perpetuated through historical processes of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. These processes have dispossessed Black people in the United States of their very lives and livelihoods. As we have seen in San Antonio, this system of racialized inequality extends to endanger the lives of all people of color. We also know that anthropology as a discipline came into being through these same historical processes—and that the critical consideration of race and racialized violence is central to both the possibility and peril of our discipline.

We must rebuild our ways of knowing about human diversity and difference in a manner committed to anti-racism and decolonization. We will expand and build upon our commitment to design our courses and course content in a manner that incorporates critical considerations of race and colonialism and that reflects the diversity of scholarship in our discipline today. We will intensify our work to ensure that the diversity of our faculty, staff, and students better reflects that of our city, region, and country. And we will redouble our efforts to support the training and career development of scholars from backgrounds grossly underrepresented here and throughout the academy.

We commit to doing this work with our departmental community, our university, our city, and the communities of people that we have the privilege to work and live with around the world. We commit to be active now and to sustain our work into the future as we imagine and build a world in which we will forcefully affirm through our words and actions that #BlackLivesMatter.

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Our department is grateful for the work and reflections of so many others, including our disciplinary professional organizations. Below is a selection of resources. There are many others and we welcome the opportunity to learn about them and share them.

Open Letter from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists
https://physanth.org/…/open-letter-our-community-response-…/

AAPA Statement on Race & Racism
https://physanth.org/…/position-statements/aapa-statement-…/

AAA Statement: Rush to Judgment Rather Than Justice
https://www.americananthro.org/StayInformed/NewsDetail.aspx…

SAA Calls on Archaeologists to Confront Racial Injustice
https://www.saa.org/…/saa-joins-the-national-call-for-compr…

List of anti-racism resources
https://docs.google.com/…/1PrAq4iBNb4nVIcTsLcNlW8z…/preview…

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