The U.S. national motto, E pluribus Unum, suggests “we are one,” but also that “we are struggling to become one”. In a democracy that has been, still is, and will continue to become more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and other social categories that unfortunately are connected to oppression, it is increasingly important to not only teach students about the nature of social and public problems associated with race and ethnicity, but to also provide students with resources, skills, and knowledge that facilitate positive change.
Statement of Solidarity
As educators, we support the efforts of faculty, staff, and students towards the eradication of systemic and individualized acts of racism. We are committed to providing an educated citizenry who will demonstrate against racism and oppression and make definitive advances to reduce and repair the effects of historic and contemporary violations of the liberty of people of color.
SUNY Broome Values All Diversity and Inclusion
SUNY Broome’s Strategic Goal 1. DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: Foster the essential connections among diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of the college’s endeavors places a high priority on diversity and inclusion for all our students including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, differing abilities, and age. In addition, these diversity goals are expanded upon through the Strategic Plan for Diversity Equity and Inclusion.
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
1. a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
also : behavior or attitudes that reflect and foster this belief : racial discrimination or prejudice
2a: the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another
2b: a political or social system founded on racism and designed to execute its principles
From Multiculturalism and the Teacher Education Experience
“Racism is a systemic, societal, institutional, omnipresent, and epistemologically embedded phenomenon that pervades every vestige of our reality. For most whites, however, racism is like murder: the concept exists, but someone has to commit it in order for it to happen. This limited view of such a multilayered syndrome cultivates the sinister nature of racism and, in fact, perpetuates racist phenomena rather than eradicates them.”
Akintunde, Omowale. “White racism, white supremacy, white privilege, & the social construction of race: Moving from modernist to postmodernist multiculturalism.” Multicultural Education 7, no. 2 (1999): 2.
Teaching Racism as an Idea
From Teaching Racism as an Idea
“If these students see themselves, and if we view them, as fixed in their attitudes — as inherently racist — they will not learn how to see racism for what it is: a noxious idea that diminishes us all. Instead, those students will focus intently on not being seen as racist. They will be quiet and disengaged for fear of learning that they may indeed harbor racist ideas or, worse yet, that they will be revealed as racist to us and to their classmates.
Thus, to help our students gain a more accurate understanding of racism, we would do well to focus on racism as an idea rather than as a trait or personality characteristic.”
Kernahan, Cyndi. “Teaching Racism as an Idea.” Inside Higher Ed, October 31, 2019.
Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
From White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
“The good/bad frame is a false dichotomy. All people hold prejudices, especially across racial lines in a society deeply divided by race. I can be told that everyone is equal by my parents, I can have friends of color, and I may not tell racist jokes. Yet I am still affected by the forces of racism as a member of society in which racism is the bedrock.”
Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2020), 72–73
Diversity and Inclusion are not enough
The language of diversity and inclusion, whether intentional or not, can often serve as a way for institutions to abdicate their responsibility for doing their part in dismantling racism and systems of oppression. I certainly admit my own complicity, in at times being seduced into operating against my better judgement and conflating the two. But the current nationwide peaceful protests demanding justice for the black victims of police brutality and shining a light on ingrained policies and practices of inequality have solidified a recurring life lesson from my community work: diversity, equity and inclusion are not synonymous with antiracism.”
Reese, Benjamin D. “Diversity and Inclusion Are Not Enough.” Inside Higher Ed, June 18, 2020.