Composition Studies Supports #BlackLivesMatter

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King, Jr. 

As editors of Composition Studies, we will not be silent, and we want to call on the members of this field, specifically white colleagues, to not be silent as well. Continued silence supports the injustice happening all around us on a daily basis. So let us be clear: Black Lives Matter. 

Scholars of color have challenged the discipline to disrupt racism in scholarship and teaching for decades, and those calls have been too often ignored.

So we ask ourselves and our readers: How then do we best engage in and support efforts to protest against injustice, both within and outside the academy? In doing so, how do we practice antiracism without speaking for colleagues who are Black?

Be an ally. Check in: How many Black scholars are on your syllabi? Does white language get prioritized over native or home languages? 

Listen. Listen to what Black colleagues and scholars of color are saying and put it into action. 

Read. Let’s make sure the texts that inform our lives– our bookshelves, reading lists, and libraries– reflect commitment to justice. Below are two such resources; we invite additions in the comments!

Be uncomfortable. To understand our role in racism and to educate ourselves, we need to be willing to be uncomfortable with where we’ve been. That includes a critical exploration of whiteness and its role in systematic oppression. Here are a few resources provided by our Advisory Board:

  • Baker-Bell, A. (2020). Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy
  • DiAngelo, Robin (2018) White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
  • Fleming, Crystal (2018) How to Be Less Stupid About Race
  • Sensoy, O & DiAngelo (2017) Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice
  • Kendi, Ibram X. (2019) How to Be an Antiracist
  • Walker, Maureen (2020) When Getting Along is Not Enough: Reconstructing Race in Our Lives and Relationships

Sign. At the very least, sign and support the petitions that come your way, and be ready to vote in your upcoming elections at every level.  

Amplify Black voices.

  • At Composition Studies, we remain committed to amplifying the voices of Black scholars and scholars of color– as reviewers, as Advisory Board members, as members of the editorial team, and as authors supported and celebrated in our pages. In the upcoming weeks, the call for proposals for our second special issue will explicitly invite proposals on topics on antiracist and intersectional approaches to research, pedagogy, and administration.

If you know of other resources and voices that need circulation and amplification, please share those in the comments. Let’s do more to strengthen antiracist systems. 

Kt and MD

Editors of Composition Studies