Renewing DEI commitments in the wake of anti-Asian mass shooting
We need action; and as a community of communication scholars and students, we are uniquely equipped to aid in the broader struggles toward racial justice. #FightRacism, #StopAAPIHate, #StopAsianHate
One week ago, across multiple sites in the Atlanta area, a white man killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. Racist violence like this is not isolated. NPR reports that during the pandemic, anti-Asian violence has been on the rise. As scholars and students of human communication, we have important roles to play in challenging racism and prejudice that research tells us is rooted in structural inequalities and is perpetuated in organizational culture, everyday talk, political speech, mediated representations and more.
Last summer, in the wake of the racist killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the Department of Communication outgoing and incoming Heads released a statement committing to standing “in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and an end to systemic racism.” Hate is not an Aggie value. We continue to “need collective, systematic and focused action. The responsibility and labor for ending systemic racism and working toward social justice is the responsibility of everyone. The work does not simply rest on students, faculty and staff who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color.” Furthermore, it is work on which we will sometimes fall short and that we will occasionally get wrong; but it’s work we must attempt and strive to improve.
As scholars and students of human communication, we must reflect on the myriad of ways in which racism generally and anti-Asian racism in particular is buttressed by repetitive messaging — sometimes easily identified as hate speech, other times more heavily coded and readily dismissed through a colorblind lens. In that reflection, we must seek to critically engage and systematically challenge the everyday communicative expressions that enable the kinds of racist terrorism we saw last week, as well as a host of other inequities affecting all BIPOC faculty, staff, students and community members.
Our hearts go out to the victims of the Atlanta attacks, their families and the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities here at Texas A&M and across the country. But in times like this, we continue to need more than platitudes. We need action; and as a community of communication scholars and students, we are uniquely equipped to aid in the broader struggles toward racial justice. For additional resources and to report incidents of Asian American and Pacific Islander hate, consider Stop AAPI Hate at https://stopaapihate.org and https://stophate.tamu.edu.
Hart Blanton, Head
Kristan Poirot, Executive Associate Head
Nancy Street, Associate Head for Undergraduate Studies
Anna Wolfe, Associate Head for Graduate Studies
Darrel Wanzer-Serrano, Chair of Climate and Inclusion Committee