NCA Anti-Racism Resource Bank

Anti-Racism

This resource bank provides materials about racism in America and offers information for allies and people of color in the anti-racism movement. These resources include information on organizations that are committed to anti-racism work, mass media, and both academic and professional articles covering topics such as identifying and addressing racism, advocacy work, and dialoging about racism and anti-racism in the classroom. 

The NCA Anti-Racism Resource Bank includes resources that may be helpful in understanding racism and how to address issues of racism, both in the classroom and in our communities. The resource bank is not exhaustive, and NCA does not endorse either the opinions expressed in or the research methodology used to develop any specific resource. Thus, we encourage all users of the resource bank to apply best practices in vetting source material prior to use. The resource bank will be updated as new material is identified. If you have resources you believe would be helpful to include on this page, please send that information to NCA at inbox@natcom.org.

During 2020, NCA and Routledge, Taylor & Francis, made the following articles free to access for a limited time. NCA members can access the articles below by logging in to the NCA website. If you are not an NCA member and would like to become one, click here to learn more about joining NCA.

Addressing Environmental Racism Through Storytelling: Toward an Environmental Justice Narrative Framework
Elizabeth Dickinson 
Communication, Culture & Critique (2012)

Asian American activism for environmental justice 
Julie Sze
Peace Review (2004)

Asian Americans Beyond the Model Minority Stereotype: The Nerdy and the Left Out
Qin Zhang
Journal of International and Intercultural Communication (2010)

COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter: Examining Anti-Asian Racism and Anti-Blackness in US Education 
Divya Anand and Laura Hsu
International Journal of Multidisciplinary Perspectives in Higher Education (2021)

Lost in Translation: Challenging (White, Monolingual Feminism's) <Choice> with Justicia Reproductiva
Kathleen (Catalina) M. de Onís
Women Studies in Communication (2015)

Performing Critical Interruptions: Stories, Rhetorical Invention, and the Environmental Justice Movement
Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Western Journal of Communication (2001)

Racism in the USA: ensuring Asian American health equity 
The Lancet (2021)

Stand against anti-Asian racial discrimination during COVID-19: A call for action 
Qin Gao and Xiaofang Liu
International Social Work (2020)

Stereotyping Asian Americans: The Dialectic of the Model Minority Myth and the Yellow Peril
Yuko Kawai
Howard Journal of Communications (2005)

Touring “Cancer Alley,” Louisiana: Performances of Community and Memory for Environmental Justice
Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Text and Performance Quarterly (2003)

Anti-Asian Hate Crime During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring the Reproduction of Inequality
Angela R. Gover, Shannon B. Harper, and Lynn Langton
American Journal of Criminal Justice (2020)

Why Are Asian Americans Silent? Asian Americans’ Negotiation Strategies for Communicative Discriminations
Jungmi Jun
Journal of International and Intercultural Communication (2012)

Black Panther and the Alt-right: networks of racial ideology 
Scott J. Varda and Leslie A. Hahner 
Critical Studies in Media Communication (2020) 

Communication's quest for whiteness: the racial politics of disciplinary legitimacy
Bryan J. McCann, Ashley Noel Mack, and Rico Self
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (2020)

Creating a space to #SayHerName: Rhetorical stratification in the networked sphere
Jennifer L. Borda and Bailey Marshall 
Quarterly Journal of Speech (2020) 

Here is something you can't understand: the suffocating whiteness of communication studies
Lisa B. Y. Calvente, Bernadette Marie Calafell, and Karma R. Chávez
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (2020) 

Using qualitative research articles to talk about gender and race inequities in health care 
Kallia O. Wright and Kelly A. Dagan 
Communication Teacher (2020)

Emplacing Climate Change: Civic Action at the Margins
José Castro-Sotomayor
Frontiers in Communication (2019)

Whiteness feels good here: interrogating white nationalist rhetoric on Stormfront 
Stephanie L. Hartzell 
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (2020)

Whiteness is not contained
Thomas K. Nakayama
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies (2020)

Psychological Impact of Anti-Asian Stigma Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Call for Research, Practice, and Policy Responses 
Supriya Misra, PhuongThao D. Le, Emily Goldmann, and Lawrence H. Yang
Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy (2020)

Black queer womanhood matters: searching for the queer herstory of Black Lives Matter in television dramas 
Jade D. Petermon and Leland G. Spencer 
Critical Studies in Media Communication (2019)

#Handsupdontshoot: connective images and ethical witnessing
Kate Drazner Hoyt 
Critical Studies in Media Communication (2019) 

Stay woke: The Black Lives Matter movement as a practical tool to develop critical voice
Vickie Cox Edmondson, Brandy S. Edmondson, and Tonya B. Perry 
Communication Teacher (2019)

A space for countering colorblind discourse: constructions of police-perpetrated homicides of African-American males
Akiv Dawson 
Critical Studies in Media Communication (2018)

Plantation Politics and Neoliberal Racism in Higher Education: A Framework for Reconstructing Anti-Racist Institutions
Dian Squire, Bianca C. Williams, and Frank Tuitt
Teachers College Record (2018)

Social media affordances in the context of police transparency: An analysis of the first public archive of police body camera videos
Fanny A. Ramirez 
Journal of Applied Communication Research (2018)

The normalizing of hate speech and how communication educators should respond
Michael S. Waltman 
Communication Education (2018)

A critical organizational communication framework for communication and instruction scholarship: Narrative explorations of resistance racism and pedagogy
C. Kyle Rudick
Communication Education (2017) 

Asians and Asian Americans’ experiences of racial discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic: Impacts on health outcomes and the buffering role of social support.
Suyeon Lee and Sara F. Waters
Stimga and Health (2021)

Promotion Beyond Tenure: Unpacking Racism and Sexism in the Experiences of Black Womyn Professors 
Natasha N. Croom
The Review of Higher Education (2017)

Racial Microaggressions, Racial Battle Fatigue, and Racism-Related Stress in Higher Education 
Jeremy D. Franklin
Journal of Student Affairs at New York University (2016)

Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics
Kimberle Crenshaw
University of Chicago Legal Forum (1989)

Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor 
Layla F. Saad
Sourcebooks (2020)

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
Cathy Parker Hong
Random House Publishing Group (2020)

Acts of Activism: Human Rights as Radical Performance
D. Soyini Madison
Cambridge University Press (2010)

Energy Islands: Metaphors of Power, Extractivism, and Justice in Puerto Rico
Catalina M. de Onís
University of California Press (2021)

Environmental Justice and Environmentalism: The Social Justice Challenge to the Environmental Movement
Ronald Sandler and Phaedra C. Pezzullo
MIT Press (2007)

Racial Ecologies
Leilani Nishime, Kim D. Hester Williams
University of Washington Press (2018)

Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Pollution, Travel, and Environmental Justice
Phaedra C. Pezzullo
University of Alabama Press (2007)

Water, Rhetoric, and Social Justice
Casey R. Schmitt, Christopher S. Thomas and Theresa R. Castor
Rowman & Littlefied (2020)

Teaching Race: How to Help Students Unmask and Challenge Racism
Stephen Brookfield 
Jossey-Bass (2019)

How to Be an Antiracist 
Ibram X. Kendi 
One World (2019)

Teaching About Race and Racism in the College Classroom: Notes from a White Professor 
Cyndi Kernahan
West Virginia University Press (2019)

White Fragility: Why It's so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism
Robin J. DiAngelo 
Beacon Press (2018)

The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics 
George Lipsitz
Temple University Press (2018) 

Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
Frank H. Wu
Basic Books (2003)

So You Want to Talk About Race 
Ijeoma Oluo
Seal Press (2018)

Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America (5th Ed.) 
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (2017)

The New York Young Lords and the Struggle for Liberation
Darrel Wanzer-Serrano
Tempe University Press (2015)

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
Michael Eric Dyson
St. Martin’s Press (2017)

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Reni Eddo-Lodge
Bloomsbury Publishing (2017)  

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
Richard Rothstein
Liveright Publishing Corporation (2017)

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide
Carol Anderson
Bloomsbury USA (2016)

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates 
Spiegel & Grau (2015)

The Making of Asian America: A History
Erika Lee
Simon & Schuster (2015)

Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race
Debby Irving
Elephant Room Press (2014)

Citizen: An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
Graywolf Press (2014)

The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority
Ellen D. Wu
Princeton University Press (2015)

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Michelle Alexander 
The New Press (2010)

The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America
Khalil Gibran Muhammad 
Harvard University Press (2010)

The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America 
Robert Entman and Andrew Rojecki
University of Chicago Press (2001)

On behalf of the African American Communication and Culture Division and the Black Caucus, we would like to express our solidarity with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. We are horrified by the deadly attacks that took place in Atlanta and elsewhere in the United States and recognize them as just the latest in a long history of white supremacists wreaking havoc and other racist violence that has only increased during the pandemic. We stand emphatically against xenophobia, racism, and white supremacy and the resultant ills, including the senseless murders of innocent people. We condemn these assaults and all hate crimes, noting that under white supremacy, the fates of Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and AAPI communities are conjoined. Far beyond what any statement could convey, we actively aim for a peaceful existence for all. We unabashedly assert that our shared human experiences are much greater than that which divides us. We seek unity based on the principles of truth, justice, equity, and understanding. As we continue to process the tragedy in Atlanta, we are faced with yet another act of gun violence. In the spirit of peace, service, and with compassion-filled hearts, we grieve for and, along with all, directly impacted by these tragic events, including the recent mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. We send our collective condolences to the families of all the victims of these senseless attacks. We also send a special expression of support towards the AAPI members of our AACCD, Black Caucus, and extended communities. We pray for the continued healing of our nation and world. 

African American Communication and Culture Division:

Chair: Jayne Cubbage
Vice Chair: Anita Mixon
Vice Chair Elect: Dianna Watkins-Dickerson
Immediate Past Chair: Shardé M. Davis
Secretary: Jenny Korn
Treasurer: Morgan Smalls

Black Caucus: 

Chair: Creshema Murray 
Vice-Chair: Nickesia Gordon  
Vice-Chair-Elect: Kevin Rudrow
Immediate Past Chair: Ashley Hall
Secretary: Dana Seay
Kandace Harris, Public Relations Chair 
Badu Smith, Parliamentarian
Natonya Listach, IDEA Council Rep

More than a year ago (March 19, 2020), in the early phases of the pandemic’s spread in the United States, the National Communication Association (NCA) published a statement “to amplify the concerns expressed by other scholarly associations, notably, the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) concerning the dangerous and pernicious racial/ethnic stereotyping evident in some coverage and communication about COVID-19 in the public realm.” NCA also noted in that statement that “we stand firm in rejecting anti-Asian bigotry in the guise of people expressing fear of Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19” and noted that these beliefs “are rooted in a history of Yellow Peril rhetoric, xenophobia, ableism, and anti-Asian racism.” Then, on March 24, 2020, NCA hosted an off-schedule podcast episode (Communication Matters) that featured Professor Jennifer Ho (University of Colorado), current President of AAAS, who discussed the history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the United States. In that conversation, Dr. Ho noted that she knew, given that history, that “it was only a matter of time that we would see a real spike in harassment and violence” against Asians. On April 16th, 2020 NCA co-signed a letter to members of Congress sent by The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (co-authored by the Democracy Initiative) that “denounce[d] the continued increase in racist attacks and discrimination against the Asian American community.”

During this past year, we have witnessed rampant violence, harassment, and hate directed toward Asian people. A recent report by “Stop AAPI Hate'' catalogued 3,795 hate incidents in the United States against Asian Americans since March 2020. Following the murder of six Asian women, along with two other people in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 16, 2021, Immediate Past President Kent A. Ono shared his scholarly expertise with a number of media outlets. Across these conversations, Professor Ono noted the lack of media coverage of the slain women and said the victims “are constructed as if their lives don’t matter...as if they are un-deserving,” which he described as a “critical component of racism.”

NCA has endorsed statements condemning anti-Asian violence, has dedicated materials focused on promoting solidarity with Asian American communities and on combating violence targeting them, and has promoted the work of our members in such pursuits. Despite these many activities and because of the continuing, daily incidents of hateful violence against Asian American people, we feel the need to offer a statement as an Association, further condemning anti-Asian hatred and violence and reaffirming our dedication to combat it.

NCA stands with Asian American people at this most difficult time and decries in the strongest possible manner the tragic incidents of hate-filled violence occurring across the United States. Such actions, in addition to anti-Asian rhetoric, promotes fear and produces psycho-social effects on Asian American people, as well as on those outside of the community. In her appearance on our podcast nearly a year ago, Professor Ho called on each of us to reach out to Asian American friends, colleagues, and students in kindness and co-conspiratorial allyship. NCA pledges itself to combating anti-Asian rhetorics and anti-Asian violence and renewing the Association’s ongoing beliefs in ethical, free, and democratic communication. We vehemently condemn the anti-Asian violence that has recently been perpetrated across the nation and we repudiate the rhetorics that have motivated and given rise to this violence. We are committed to the pursuit of intentional, reflective, and systemic actions to mitigate and alleviate such rhetorics and such violence, both in the Association and in the larger public realm. NCA again rededicates itself fully to the values expressed in its Credo for Free and Responsible Communication in a Democratic Society and its Resolution Condemning White Supremacy in Political Discourse. We are also committed to the principle that such values must be linked to action and therefore will dedicate its expertise and resources to efforts that contribute to the pursuit of justice and the condemnation of communication that promotes this hatred, intolerance, and violence. Among the many things we are hoping to do to help as an Association are: (1) to host an NCA convention panel that discuss bystander training pedagogy; (2) to host a workshop for journalists covering stories about anti-Asian violence; (3) to host a First Vice Presidential NCA convention panel on anti-Asian violence; (4) to foreground more centrally the role of communication research in helping understand and diminish anti-Asian violence; and (5) to work closely with the Asian Pacific American Caucus and Studies Division on joint programming and in any other ways to coordinate our efforts. Furthermore, we will continue to explore responses that can put more action behind the words we have written here, and to think of other ways to stand with Asian Americans.

David McMahan, NCA President
Roseann Mandziuk, NCA 1st Vice President
Walid Afifi, NCA 2nd Vice President
Kent A. Ono, NCA Immediate Past President

We write to express our profound sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery and to recognize that many members of NCA are feeling like we are: angry, hurt, sad, and disgusted. We write to tell you we are with you and recognize the incredible heartache so many are feeling in these times. We want you to know that our emotions, too, are raw, and that we want to make a useful contribution as your elected leaders.

It probably goes without saying that media scholars among us probably cannot help but notice the various ways information about the protests taking place across the country are coming to us through television, Twitter, Facebook, and various other media platforms.

Rhetoricians undoubtedly have noticed that the terms “looters,” “thugs,” and people “up to no good” being invoked reproduce past discourse by media and national leaders during racially oppressive times in the US past. Also, they might notice that an equivalent vocabulary for what Minnesota police officers did to George Floyd does not appear to have been coined or reproduced, at least not by national news outlets.

And, interpersonal communication scholars who watched the “dialogue” between two of George Floyd’s family members and the Minneapolis police chief on CNN could not help but wonder about the setting for such a “conversation,” the limits of intimate communication on television, and the parameters for expressing care via mediation.

Finally, members interested in freedom of speech and expression and free enterprise politics surrounding media industries likely are keeping a close eye on the degree to which reporters are being surveilled and regulated, and police, security, and cell phone cameras are being used as evidence.

Society needs communication experts to improve race relations and chip away at institutional racism and corresponding institutionalized discrimination; to educate people on how to get along, work together, talk in public, and write legislation that helps society; and to help people understand the history and present of white supremacist practices, institutions, and discourses.

At this moment, in addition to other necessary self-care practices, we encourage action and using your experience as communication experts as a response to any grief, helplessness, anger, resentment, loneliness, and frustration you might be feeling.

Communication is central to both how we are learning about these events as well as how to help heal our society.

In solidarity,

Kent A. Ono, NCA President
David McMahan, NCA First Vice President
Roseann Mandziuk, NCA Second Vice President
Star Muir, NCA Immediate Past President

Dear National Communication Association Colleagues,

Recently, the Black community specifically and people of color generally have encountered literally hundreds of statements – from organizations, institutions, departments, corporations, etc. These statements are laden with assertions of struggle, justice, allyship, and solidarity; some even name White privilege and White Supremacy as problems that the U.S. and global society must reckon with. 

The language is admirable; however, trajectories for accountability and action are largely and shamefully absent. So, this outpouring of statements partakes in what has become our normative societal cycle that unfolds like this—police brutality, Black death, public outrage against anti-Black racism that causes Black death, societal exhaustion, followed by a return to White normativity—only to be repeated again…and again…and again as the list of names of Black people who have died as a result of police brutality gets longer…and longer…and longer. 

Statements against racism and White supremacy constitute first steps only when they are followed by additional steps. In and of themselves—perfunctory, normative statements tend to do nothing at all or very little to actually improve the everyday lives of people of color with regard to individuals, intersectional identity groups, and/or communities. As such, most statements are brimming with unfounded hope, already broken promises, and soon-to-be empty rhetorical signifiers. 

Moreover, despite good intentions, such statements oftentimes wallow in Black suffering with an un/stated commitment to remembering how a Black victim of racial hate crime died rather than how the person who lost their life lived. For instance, Mr. George Floyd is currently more recognizable as a Black man murdered via police brutality over a $20 bill presumed to be fraudulent than being recognizable for the life he lived before, now former, officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao chose to take part in his murder. 

To be clear—the assertion of “Black Lives Matter” is about far more than just Black disposability and death; to reduce “Black Lives Matter” to Black disposability and death is to partake in the objectification and essentialism that has sustained White supremacy for centuries. Equally injurious are the many scholars in our field and members of our association who participate in objectification and essentialism by acknowledging and even researching Black suffering and Black death without acknowledging Black life in myriad contexts ranging from classrooms to faculty meetings to search committees to citational practices. 

In place of issuing hurried statements, NCA’s Diversity Council is calling for strategic articulations of concrete action steps designed to incite measurable systemic change in our discipline. Coupled with concrete action steps, we are calling for articulations of accountability and culpability if said actions are not completed on a specified timeline. As a council, for example, we are less interested in hearing our colleagues and myriad NCA constituencies (re)commit to White self-reflexivity and/or social justice yet more interested in how strategic action will amount to anti-racist praxis thereby rendering our discipline more humanizing and inclusive for people of color and less susceptible to White supremacy. What we are asking for in place of an outpouring of statements will admittedly take a great deal of energy and time when many are pressed for both. However, concretized action, accountability, culpability, and specified timelines for change and transformation are absolutely essential to building a robust infrastructure that will long outlast whomever is currently serving in leadership positions. 

As you think through what we are asking NCA’s caucuses, divisions, units, leadership, etc. to publicly do in place of or perhaps alongside statements, please consider the following questions: 

Did your respective unit issue a statement in response to the Distinguished Scholars Award controversy? If so, how has that statement resulted in anti-racist actions that have materially improved conditions for NCA members of color? If the statement has not resulted in anti-racist actions that have materially improved conditions for NCA members of color, how and why did the statement fall short of follow through and action? 

What does your respective unit need to start doing? What does your respective unit need to stop doing? What happens if your respective unit does not start or stop? 

How do people privileged by Whiteness need to step up? How do people privileged by Whiteness need to step aside? How will your respective unit respond when people privileged by Whiteness do not step up and/or aside? 

What are the specific racialized equity challenges that your respective unit faces? Why hasn’t each specific racialized equity challenge been addressed already? What steps will your respective unit take to address and resolve each specific racialized equity challenge? 

Which policies and practices anchored in White normativity need to change? What steps will your respective unit take to make these changes and build durable infrastructure that resists White normativity? What will happen in your respective unit if White normativity remains its guiding paradigm? 

To be clear, we are not asking you to report back to the Diversity Council in any way. Rather, we are trying to shape the kinds of discourses and efforts that emerge in our discipline in response to our current cultural landscape. 

Of the utmost importance to note is that the work we are asking NCA’s constituencies to do should not be only predicated upon or limited to the Black community or the Black/White binary that has governed race matters for too long. At times Blackness needs to be unapologetically centered; yet our approaches must also unapologetically attend to racial and ethnic diversity. Take for instance the egregious ways that those who identify as Chinese and those assumed to be Chinese have been impacted by President Trump and his Administration’s racist and xenophobic use of “Chinese virus” in place of coronavirus. Likewise, the coronavirus will continue to have devastating consequences for immigrants, those imprisoned, and working-class essential workers which are 3 of the many systemically disadvantaged groups that multiple communities of color are disproportionately represented within. 

Our hope is that you can really hear our request to shift from statements to articulations of specific actions—namely assessment, praxis, and accountability. We are making this request because the Diversity Council is not clear on what (re)commitments to struggle against racism in its myriad forms actually do for people of color. Like many other organizations and institutions, NCA has been “committed” to this for years and yet we are of the world we live in—and here we are. 

Always feel welcome to connect if the Diversity Council can be of service in your vital efforts to prioritize inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in its myriad forms. 

Sincerely, 

Rachel Alicia Griffin, Chair 
Elizabeth Parks, Asian/Pacific American Caucus 
Kami Anderson, Black Caucus 
Deryl Johnson, Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns 
Jim Cherney, Disability Issues Caucus 
Michael Lechuga, La Raza Caucus 
Ashley Mack, Women’s Caucus

In response to historic and ongoing systemic institutional violence against communities of color and particularly African American and Black communities in the US--most recently brought to international attention by the recent slaying of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade, among others--the officers of the National Communication Association Environmental Communication Division voice our commitment to anti-racism.

Environmental Communication is grounded not only in a crisis discipline ethic to intervene in unsustainable ways of living, but also in an ethics of care, which is a duty to honor the myriad relations that constitute our interconnected and reciprocal relations. The scholars, teachers, and practitioners of our field embody a tradition of critiquing structural inequity and engaging the complicated intersections of environmental degradation and oppression. Practicing the dual ethics of our field requires that we address the systemic racism that perpetuates and exacerbates poverty, food insecurity, health disparities, labor and wage precarity, and many other forms of oppression, as well as uplift and highlight solutions to heal, grow, rectify, and resist.

We stand in solidarity with those who experience systemic violence. Our division is committed to amplifying scholars who are People of Color, people who are colonized, people living in the Global South, LGBTQI+ individuals, people with disabilities, religious groups, women, and those who intersect or represent other marginalized communities.

In our own division, we have been engaging in a conversation about the norms and violences of white supremacy since 2019. We dedicated our most recent business meeting to discussing barriers and solutions. In the months since, we have continued these conversations, reaffirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion by explicitly expanding the scope of our outreach committee, working towards new fundraising possibilities, and making our own awards process more transparent. We recommit to our 2019 pledge to build academic spaces and systems that are fair, equal, diverse, and inclusive for more just and sustainable organizations.

In making this public statement, we make ourselves accountable to everyone reading it. Please hold us accountable, suggest further actions, and join in this work with us.

In solidarity,

Dr. Kathleen P. Hunt, President
NCA ECD Executive Board

As officers of the Western States Communication Association (WSCA), we stand in outrage with the Black community and in witness to the murders of and attacks on African-American citizens.  Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are notable, yet few, among the many deaths from overt racism in the United States, and we stand with individuals and organizations working to focus awareness on this fact and to elicit national change.

We condemn systemic efforts to centralize white experiences and obscure/delegitimize historic and ongoing racial discrimination, as well as the abuses of communication and power that uphold those systems.  We also recognize ourselves as an association that is situated within these systems, and commit ourselves to continued actions to move away from the status quo and to actualize social justice.
 
We reassert our Association resolutions and policies on anti-discrimination and diversity:

  • The Western States Communication Association is fully committed to principles of equal opportunity, freedom from harassment, and freedom from discrimination.
  • The WSCA opposes the abuse of communication in order to silence, coerce or exploit individuals or groups based on essentialized differences;
  • The WSCA opposes acts of violence against all individuals regardless of differences;
  • The WSCA opposes all that discriminates, prohibits, and/or restricts individuals’ expression and movements based on essentialized differences;
  • The WSCA emphasizes our belief in the power of communication to have transformative possibilities in social relations;
  • The WSCA endorses the use of public protests, advocacy, civil disobedience and/or other nonviolent means of expression as (counter)responses to acts of injustice;
  • The WSCA endeavors for social change and justice in its pursuits;
  • The WSCA supports communication scholars’ and practitioners’ exercise of academic freedom. 

We also commit to opening access to information to support social justice and anti-racist efforts. By end of day Friday, June 5th, and extending through the end of 2020, the following six articles published by the Western States Communication Association in our Western Journal of Communication and Communication Reports journals will be completely free for public access. We hope that people might read and share these select works, and use them as part of their efforts to inform, frame, and engage in the creation of systemic and individual anti-racist change.

Signed:

Marnel Niles-Goins, President
Christina Granato Yoshimura, President-Elect
Rodney Reynolds, Immediate Past President
Heather Canary, First Vice President
Sara Hayden, Executive Director-Select

Flores, L. A. (2020). Stoppage and the racialized rhetorics of mobility. Western Journal of Communication, 84(3), 247–263.
Free link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10570314.2019.1676914

Holling, M.A. (2018) Centralizing marginality, marginalizing the center in the WSCA 2018 presidential address. Western Journal of Communication, 82(5), 529-536. DOI: 10.1080/10570314.2018.1463450 
Free link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10570314.2018.1463450

Triece, M. E. (2018). Constructing the antiracial city: City planning and antiracialism in the 21st century. Western Journal of Communication, 82(5), 613–630.
Free link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10570314.2017.1390148

Gallant, L.M. & Krone, K.J. (2014) Tensions in talking diversity. Communication Reports, 27(1), 39-52. DOI: 10.1080/08934215.2013.837497 
Free link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08934215.2013.837497

Maurantonio, N. (2014) “That photo”: Journalism and bearing witness to history. Western Journal of Communication, 78(4), 500-521. DOI: 10.1080/10570314.2013.845687 
Free link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10570314.2013.845687

Richardson, B. K., & Taylor, J. (2009). Sexual harassment at the intersection of race and gender: A theoretical model of the sexual harassment experiences of women of color. Western Journal of Communication, 73(3), 248–272. DOI:10.1080/10570310903082065
Free link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10570310903082065

As the (U.S.) American Society for the History of Rhetoric, we have let “the history of rhetoric” guide our programmatic priorities since our foundation in 1977. The truth is, though, that such an emphasis is incomplete and even harmful when it ignores the American context in which we rhetoricians are educated, evaluated, and employed.

We unequivocally denounce the state-sponsored and state-excused murders of Black people in the United States, with Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and David McAtee as recent victims among a tragically untold number in our country’s centuries-long and present-day history of anti-Black oppression. We affirm that, beyond individual racist actions, the systems that order American life are themselves racist and rooted in white supremacy. Such systems, which we condemn, exist not only within the academy writ large but also within the field of rhetorical studies broadly and the history of rhetoric more specifically. 

What sort of work, from which scholars, about which topics gets rewarded in the U.S. American academy? Who faces serious consequences for their work? Who does not enter or remain in academe because of its hostility to them and/or what they teach and study? Honestly asking those questions reveals that whiteness and White scholars are often promoted, rewarded, and advanced, while Black scholars, Black scholarship, Black rhetors, and Black rhetoricians are often marginalized, ignored, neglected, and tokenized. 

ASHR commits to centering and supporting scholars and scholarship that draw upon the history of rhetoric to call out anti-Black systems and structures (including within the study of the history of rhetoric itself) and trace their historical-rhetorical development and deployment, to enrich understanding of Black rhetorical traditions, or to otherwise bring Black perspectives to the field. In doing so, we follow the lead of scholars and scholarly groups who have been doing and promoting such work for decades, and at no little personal and professional risk.

In making this public statement, we make ourselves accountable to everyone reading it. Please hold us accountable.

ASHR Steering Committee

The Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine unequivocally condemns the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and the many more Black people killed by police, law enforcement, and vigilantes. Moreover, we condemn the racist state-sponsored violence against Black people in the United States and around the globe. We recognize that white supremacist violence, and more specifically anti-Black violence, is historically intertwined with U.S. institutions, policies, and culture, and that it is also acutely visible in individual instances of oppression. We support the recent statements made by the leadership of Rhetoric Society of America, National Communication Association, and the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.

Science, technology, and medicine are intimately tethered to racist oppression and violence. From the colonial foundations of enlightenment science (Galleano, 1997) to the 18th century rewriting of Greek and Roman natural philosophy to erase contributions from Africa and Asia (Bernal, Black Athena), racism is deeply rooted in Western scientific enterprise so commonly referenced in ARSTM scholarship. From the “friction-free racism” enabled by surveillance capitalism (Gilliard, 2018) to the automation of anti-Blackness via discriminatory algorithms (Eubanks, 2017; Noble, 2018) to the use of genomics to reinscribe eugenicist and colonialist ideas (Ceccarelli, 2013; Happe, 2013), technology has long been a mechanism for building and expanding racist structures. From the eugenic sterilization boards of North Carolina (Schoen, 2001) to the “construction of Sickle Cell Anemia as a black disease” (Robvais, 2020) to the withholding of information and treatment from Black people in the United States Public Health Service Syphilis Study at Tuskegee University (Lynch, 2019), medical racism harms the health outcomes of Black people, regardless of socio-economic status (Geronimus et al, 2006; Squires, 2020; Davis, 2019; Hardeman et al, 2016; Yam, 2020).  

As rhetoricians of science, technology, and medicine, it is our ethical responsibility to acknowledge and reckon with the injustices central to the topics we study. And it is our responsibility to critique and resist the use of science, technology, and medicine as tools for the oppression of Black, Brown, and Indigenous People. We can and should use the rhetoric of science, technology, and medicine to call out and address institutional racism and to amplify and support those who are already doing that work, from #BlackInSTEM advocates to anti-surveillance community groups to reproductive justice activists and beyond. 

ARSTM is organizationally enmeshed in these systems and thus remains complicit, even while working to dismantle these often invisible structures that naturalize anti-Black oppression and violence. As Ibram X. Kendi writes, “there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist” (2019, p. 9). We commit to making anti-racist change within our own organization in specific material ways, which are detailed, along with next steps and specific deadlines in an action plan on our website (arstmonline.org). These actions are not an end point for ARSTM. Instead, they are a tangible starting point for collective deliberation, advocacy, and action.

To echo other leaders, thank you to those of you already doing anti-racist work, and to those who respond to this and other calls to action.

Black lives matter. 

Signed, 

Emily Winderman, ARSTM President
Lauren Cagle, ARSTM 1st Vice-President
Kenneth Walker, ARSTM 2nd Vice-President
Daniel Card, ARSTM Secretary
Danielle DeVasto, Social Media Officer
Jay Frank, Web Administrator
Molly Kessler, ARSTM Treasurer
S. Scott Graham, ARSTM Board Member
John A. Lynch, ARSTM Board Member
Zoltan P. Majdik, ARSTM Board Member
Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher, ARSTM Board Member
Lynda C. Olman, ARSTM Board Member
James Wynn, ARSTM Board Member
 
References

Bernal, M. (1987). Black Athena: The Afroasiatic roots of classical civilization; Volume 1, The fabrication of ancient Greece 1785-1985. Rutgers University Press.

Ceccarelli, L. (2013). On the frontier of science: An American rhetoric of exploration and exploitation. Michigan State University Press.

Davis, D. A. (2019). Reproductive Injustice: Racism, Pregnancy, and Premature Birth (Vol. 7). NYU Press. 

Eubanks, V. (2017). Automating inequality: How high-tech tools profile, police, and punish the poor (First Edition). St. Martin’s Press.

Galleano, E. (1997). Open veins of Latin America: Five centuries of the pillage of a continent. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.

Geronimus, A. T., Hicken, M., Keene, D., & Bound, J. (2006). “Weathering” and age patterns of allostatic load scores among blacks and whites in the United States. American journal of public health, 96(5), 826-833.

Gilliard, C. (2018, October 15). Friction-Free Racism. Real Life. https://reallifemag.com/friction-free-racism/ 

Happe, K.E. (2013). The material gene: Gender, race, and heredity after the human genome project. New York, NY: New York University Press. 

Hardeman, R. R., Medina, E. M., & Kozhimannil, K. B. (2016). Dismantling structural racism, supporting Black lives and achieving health equity: Our role. The New England journal of medicine, 375(22), 2113.

Kendi, I. X. (2019). How to be an antiracist (First Edition). One World.

Lynch, J. A. (2019). The Origins of Bioethics: Remembering When Medicine Went Wrong. MSU Press.

Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. New York University Press.

Roberts, D. (2012). Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century. New York, NY: The New Press.

Robvais, R. (2020). We are No Longer Invisible. Poroi, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.13008/2151-2957.1296

Schoen, J. (2001). Between choice and coercion: Women and the politics of sterilization in North Carolina, 1929-1975. Journal of Women’s History, 13(1), 132-156.

Squires, C. “Changing the Odds for Black Mothers,” Gender Policy Report (April 14, 2020), access: https://genderpolicyreport.umn.edu/changing-the-odds-for-black-mothers/  

Yam, Shui-yin Sharon. “Visualizing Birth Stories from the Margin: Toward a Reproductive Justice Model of Rhetorical Analysis.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 50, no. 1 (2020): 19-34.

Black Lives Matter: OSCLG’s Plan for Action

Black Lives Matter. It is more than a slogan or a hashtag. It is an affirmative statement that is challenged by racist actions and attitudes everywhere and on a daily basis. Hate-based murders are committed by the very police charged with “keeping the peace” and are covered up by those same institutions. The horrific murders of Black and African-American people have a long legacy in this nation, so that we cannot even know or name all of the victims. We stand in solidarity with those who are giving voice to the lives lost, protesting, and organizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

However, as a board and leadership team, we do not feel that expressing solidarity is enough for this point in time. While OSCLG has attempted to address issues of diversity and inclusion through activities like spotlight panels, the Color Purple award, etc., we recognize there is much work to do.

OSCLG can do better. And we will.

As a board, we have begun these conversations and plans. We are starting with a task force to re-envision our mission so that the organization recognizes issues of intersectionality as part of our core mission and values and to intentionally support anti-racism.

Some action steps we are developing include (but are not limited to):

  • We will share a re-envisioned mission statement at the 2020 conference for discussion, consideration and approval by our members. We will carefully reflect on how to revise our bylaws and practices to reflect this new vision and will share those as well so vision can become action.
  • Creating a new board member position and a task force of folks who are being intentional about inclusion as part of conference planning, award committees, and other organizational structures.
  • Conference planners will now create a statement/plan for how issues of inclusion and anti- racism will be addressed and supported in the planning and enactment of their conference. Further, board members have agreed to a pre-, during, and post-conference analysis so that there is a reflexive practice around these issues.

These are only a few of the action steps we have considered. More so, we want to clearly communicate that we are doing more than expressing solidarity with others during this point in time. OSCLG commits to building on our feminist foundations with issues of intersectionality as part of our core mission and to intentionally take action to be an anti-racist organization. As always, we welcome feedback from our members and community as we work to make OSCLG a more inclusive space.

OSCLG BLM Survey

In Solidarity and Peace,

The OSCLG Presidents & Board (www.osclg.org)

Paaige K. Turner, President
Karla Scott, Vice President
Chad McBride, Past President
Janelle Bauer, Executive Director
Patricia Geist-Martin, Board Member
Shauna M. MacDonald, Board Member
Jimmie Manning, Board Member
Gloria Pindi, Board Member
Kendra Rivera, Board Member
Rachel E. Silverman, Communication Coordinator
Marie Thompson, Board Member
Savaughn Williams, Board Member