15 June 2020
We, the Politics Department at the University of San Francisco, stand in solidarity with our Black students, the USF community, and those protesting police violence and demanding accountability in the San Francisco Bay Area, the United States, and around the world.
Stopping anti-black policing is consistent with preserving our democracy. Generations of Black intellectuals, from Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Angela Davis, have long advocated the protection and advancement of democratic principles. The movement against police brutality is thus a call to the field of Politics to take up the deep critique of democratic institutions spearheaded by Black intellectuals and social movements across centuries.
We recognize the pain and trauma of the many families who have lost -- and continue to lose -- loved ones to acts of police brutality. We condemn police violence, the increasing militarization of police forces, and the erosion of democratic ideals and institutions that are leading us on a slippery slope toward authoritarianism. This historic moment is part of a long and enduring legacy of US political and economic institutions founded on anti-Black attitudes and built to uphold white supremacy. The deep-seated inequities of racist structural violence are reinforced by many others – such as class, gender, and sexuality – and continue to undermine the country’s founding ideals of equality, liberty, and justice.
Yet even as we mourn the terrible price of our unjust system, we are heartened by the astonishing upsurge of protest taking place locally, across the US, and around the world. In particular, we note how organizing for Black lives and against police brutality has educated and inspired many young people of color, some of whom face a similarly disproportionate amount of police violence, and white allies to take to the streets and to the internet.
As members of the Politics Department, we re-dedicate ourselves to incorporating traditionally marginalized voices in the classroom, centering race in the study of politics, and providing students with the tools to engage effectively in political action and advocate for social justice. This work cannot be done in isolation. Black Lives Matter is a program for action that demands change in our policies and institutions. The University of San Francisco must not only reflect these changes in its curriculum where necessary, but also in its institutional practices and policies. We call on USF to take up this challenge by listening to the voices of its Black students and faculty, as well as our local Black communities, in order to begin addressing the inherent legacy of white supremacy that is present in University spaces.
An Abbreviated List of Resources for Further Learning & Action
USF BSU Call to Action
Gleeson library resource page with links to anti-racism resources and eBooks
Dr. Clarence Jones Statement on the National Crisis
Paradox and Promise: “A Nation’s Story: ‘What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (Frederick Douglass)
“America, This Is Your Chance” Michele Alexander Op-Ed in New York Times, linking to further reading and viewing suggestions
UC Berkeley community list of anti-racist resources for action, learning and engagement.
Othering & Belonging Institute readings, interviews, podcasts & workshops
The Movement for Black Lives policy agenda, actions, webinars & resources
“The Case for Uppercase: Commentary on style, dignity, and Black culture”, Christian Science Monitor
Zaneta Rago-Craft, “You may be your Black Colleagues Amy Cooper,” The Professor Is In blog
Andre Flynn, et al., The Hidden Rules of Race: Barriers to an Inclusive Economy
Melvin Leiman, Political Economy of Racism
David Phoenix , The Anger Gap: How Race Shapes Emotion in Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
Megan Ming Francis, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
Terry Smith, Whitelash: Unmasking White Grievance at the Ballot Box (Cambridge University Press, 2020)
Daniel Q. Gillion, The Political Power of Protest: Minority Activism and Shifts in Public Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
Jamila Michener, Fragmented Democracy: Medicaid, Federalism, and Unequal Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
Paul Butler, Chokehold: Policing Black Men (New Press, 2018)
Gillion, Daniel, The Loud Minority: Why Protests Matter in American Democracy (Princeton University Press, 2020).
Alex Vitale, The End of Policing (Verso Press, 2018)
Kellie Carter Jackson, Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)
Kellie Carter Jackson, “The Double Standard of the American Riot.” The Atlantic, June 1 2020.
Justin Ellis, “Minneapolis had this Coming,” The Atlantic, June 9 2020.