Last Wednesday, a group of African-American students staged a public protest against racism on our campus. You can see video and read about it here. They chanted, “Silence no more,” vowing to call out the racism that they saw.
As of yesterday, faculty response coalesced around the phrase “Complicit no more.” There will be an in-person show of support today, posters to sign publicly, buttons, social media, and more.
I like this phrase very much, as it’s aspirational and confessional. It acknowledges that each of us may be complicit in structural racism. It looks past specific incidents – a one student asked in class if they were talking to their drug dealer when on the phone (to use the calculator); a student in a suit asked if they had a court date; intimidation by security services – and pushes each one of us to get to work changing our campus climate. We are accountable.
Microaggressions matter. They compound. They exclude. And the fact that so many people think they don’t matter is just a sign of the work we have to do.
Still more to come.