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American Studies Statement—October 27, 2020

The faculty of the Program in American Studies supports student activists challenging structural racism at Northwestern and nationwide, and firmly believe that the university has been and continues to be positively transformed by student activism. As a program that seeks to help students become productive members of an increasingly diverse and globalized U.S. and that centers inter-ethnic, racial, and socio-economic concerns, we are particularly concerned about language that pits ethnic and racial groups against each other at a time when solidarity and alliances are crucial to making progress toward a more just society. Historically, wedges have been used to divide communities and obscure their common interests. We urge the administration and the university instead to seize and build upon the opportunity presented by this unique historical moment when so many segments of society have joined together to protest anti-Black racism and other forms of oppression. In this spirit, we support the letter of October 26, 2020 sent to President Schapiro by a wide range of faculty and staff that urges his administration to take seriously the concerns expressed by the students as well as our colleagues in the Department of African American Studies, and to work to bring the community together rather than divide it.

October 27, 2020
American Studies Statement