The faculty of the Expository Writing Program join Black Lives Matter in condemning the institutional and systemic racism that contributes both to inequality and to the anti-Black violence that is historically rooted in US slavery, segregation, and the prison industrial complex; violence which has long taken the form of murders of Black Americans, from the lynchings of the 19th and early 20th century to the well-documented cases of the past decade. We stand with those who have protested around the world against the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others; with those who fight these racist structures and systems internationally, nationally, and locally; and with the friends and families of Black and brown Oklahomans killed by law enforcement: in the last decade alone, Mah hi vist Good Blanket, Magdiel Sanchez, Luis Rodriguez, Martin Sanchez-Juarez, Marconia Kessee, Derrick Ollie Scott...
Acknowledging that the intersectional impact of anti-Black racism falls most heavily upon those Black bodies vulnerable to multiple forms of identity-based discrimination (non-binary, queer, trans, disabled or undocumented persons), and that Indigenous, Latinx, Muslim, Asian, and Jewish voices have long resisted White supremacy, as educators who embrace anti-racist pedagogy we now join more vocally and purposefully those who have been demanding accountability, reform, and justice.
As faculty members at the University of Oklahoma, it is important that our efforts begin by acknowledging local and regional histories of racism and White supremacy, which include the Oklahoma land run and OU’s subsequent foundation on tribal lands stolen from the Kiikaapoi, Osage, and Wichita, the Tulsa Race Massacre (1921), the banning of Black students at OU until the admission of George McLaurin (1948) the segregation of Black students at OU until 1950, Norman’s status as a segregated “sundown town" until 1967, the racist chant incident at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity (2015), and the repeated episodes of blackface and of racist language used by White OU faculty in the classroom since 2015--acknowledging also that no list such as this one can be fully adequate to the history it seeks to represent.
As a program serving primarily first-year students, we work collectively to undo the systemic racism and White supremacist thinking entrenched in secondary and higher education that centers White and other normative values and language. In order to empower student writers as researchers, critical thinkers, and compassionate human beings, we are committed to anti-racist and inclusive pedagogies that create equitable modes of learning for all students and that value all languages spoken and written. In our curricula, our classrooms, our offices, and our online classes, we strive to honor these commitments. And we pledge continued reflection on our programmatic structures, relationships, and practices, knowing that such a process is necessary if we are to truly oppose systemic racism.
A working list of anti-racist resources, featuring texts that we teach in our courses, can be found at our program's Canvas site: