Profs pledge to 'decolonize curricula' to fight 'privilege'
Professors at American University have penned an open letter to black female students, vowing to add more “minority voices” and “intersectional studies” to their classes.
“Dear Sisters” was published by a group of 18 AU professors in the school newspaper The BlackPrint, a student-run newspaper that describes itself as a “safe space for people of color” to learn about campus news and to “stay woke.”
"We work behind the scenes...to decolonize curricula."
The professors begin their letter by asserting that the campus may feel “hostile” and “dangerous” for black female students because of the “stresses of living amid White supremacy and fighting for social change.”
“We, as women of color and our allies, understand the nature of stress and Struggle,” they write. “Who knows what frustration must’ve welled up inside you as you sought to be heard on equal terms as your more privileged peers?”
The letter then goes on to lament the historical legacy of racism on campus, declaring that some white students are “acting out” against black students because they are “not ready to face the sins of their ancestors.”
The professors say they are doing all they can to fight back, and urge students to share additional concerns with them so that they might create events “that would raise awareness and facilitate dialogue” surrounding issues of importance to student activists.
“We work behind the scenes—program by program, course by course, assignment by assignment—to decolonize curricula, bring minority voices in from the margins, centralize intersectional studies of racial formation in our programs, and support one another as faculty and staff ‘doing the work,” they state, adding, “We would, of course, also like to engage you in face-to-face dialogue and will be reaching out to you again through your student-organization leaders in the Fall.”
The letter was coordinated by the AU Race, Empires, and Diasporas faculty working group, which is dedicated to the “decolonization of the academic world and broader race-class ordered society,” but none of the working group’s members responded to requests for comment from Campus Reform.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen