Statement on Anti-Racism
The Department of Anthropology joins faculty, staff and students across the institution in pledging our continued commitment to creating and nurturing a community that in its composition undermines the institutional and societal structures of inequity which are rooted in Eurocentrism. These inequities have long been expressed through white supremacy, the ongoing oppression of groups not defined as white, and racist violence- as most recently demonstrated by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of police and white vigilantes.
As anthropologists, we celebrate human diversity. However, we acknowledge that racist assumptions, perspectives, and results are deeply embedded in Anthropology, a field conducted predominantly by whites in colonial and neo-colonial contexts. We are continuing to struggle with and overcome this foundational history towards decolonizing the discipline and becoming the study of humankind by humankind. Furthermore, we are fully committed not just to understanding the historical legacies of racism and inequity, but to challenging those legacies and seeking social justice in the present. That includes standing with and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Positive change does not come without action and self-critique, and we pledge to continue to address and correct our own disciplinary and institutional legacies, practices, and unconscious biases that perpetuate white supremacy and Eurocentrism.
It is appropriate and just that we acknowledge the leadership of our colleagues in Africana Studies, The Lemon Project, and the W&M Task Force on Race and Racism in not only fostering awareness of W&M's history of racism and inequality, but in promoting and fostering action in the present. As a department, we welcome and support President Rowe’s call for all of us at William & Mary to engage in ‘direct, anti-racist work.’ We believe that Anthropology can and does contribute meaningfully to the dismantling of structures of inequality, and we are committed to expanding our efforts to embed anti-racism in all of our activities and engagements within and without the classroom, across William & Mary, and well beyond.