Letter: Faculty releases statement on Northwestern's "culture of racism"


    We as faculty write in support of the recent student efforts to open dialogue and their demands for accountability and substantive change from the students and administration for the series of racist actions at Northwestern University. In particular we think it is unacceptable that the students Kellyn Lewis, Dallas Wright and Paul Jackson should continue to be disparaged in the pages of the Daily Northwestern simply for having the courage and temerity to expose the latest racist incident on the NU Campus. The April 27 Daily Northwestern editorial seemed more concerned with demonizing these students and rehabilitating the perpetrators of the racist incident than addressing the need to have an open discussion about the lack of diversity on campus. The disparaging of these particular students seems reflective of age-old tropes through which Black males, in particular, are demonized as irrational and volatile, and as part of a grander effort to criminalize and silence astute critiques of power. Whilst we all have benefited from the leadership of those three individuals, it is imperative to note that the movement to address the social climate at NU exceeds their interventions. It derives from a much more diverse student collective that has been established across racial, ethnic, and gender boundaries. This year's movement to address the crisis of diversity at NU, for example, was initiated by a Latina who had reached a threshold of frustration with feeling marginalized and excluded. We are proud to see that many of the students that are part of that collective are using lessons and tools that they have appropriated from courses on race and racism that we offer at this university. That student collective has created a space for a much needed conversation to take place, a conversation that we are invested in legitimating, and that can result in benefits for us all. We concur that these are not isolated events, but signify a problematic culture of racism and symbolic violence at the University that must be addressed. Faculty have been involved for years in various and numerous efforts to diversify the University community and make it welcoming and inclusive to all. That our efforts have not been successful testifies to the depth of the problem. We continue our efforts, and faculty are discussing strategies in light of recent events. Like the many students who have repeatedly raised issues of diversity not only this year but in years past, our goal is to develop a more positive, inclusive, and dynamic Northwestern community. We call on members of the community to stop vilifying those who identify discrimination and racism and start supporting a truly diverse and welcoming Northwestern.

    Frances Aparicio, Martha Biondi, Nathalie Bouzaglo, Joshua Takano Chambers-Letson, Jasmine Cobb, Jorge Coronado, John Alba Cutler, Nick Davis, Jaime Dominguez, Betsy Erkkila, Kasey Evans, Brodie Fischer, Henry Godinez, Susannah Gottlieb, Mark Hauser, Barnor Hesse, Katherine E. Hoffman, Richard Iton, E. Patrick Johnson, Jinah Kim, Christopher Kuzawa, Micaela di Leonardo, Tessie P. Liu, Emily Maguire, Susan Manning, John Marquez, Richard Morimoto, Aldon Morris, Phuong Nguyen, Mary Pattillo, Sandra Richards, Ramon Rivera-Servera, Monica Russel y Rodriguez, David Schoenbrun, Helen Schwartzman, Shalini Shankar, Nitasha Sharma, Julia Stern, Kearsley Stewart, Valentina Velazquez-Zvierkova, Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Mary Weismantel, Ivy Wilson, Ipek Yosmaoglu, Ji-Yeon Yuh

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