Statement on Anti-Racism
In support of our multiracial, multilingual population, the Department of Writing is committed to fostering an anti-racist teaching and learning environment for our students, faculty, and staff. We recognize and condemn the brutal history of racism, colonialism, and white supremacy in our country, a system that, despite all its claims toward equality, continues to land especially hard on the bodies of Black and Indigenous people. We believe that Black lives matter and that Black voices matter. We live and work on the unceded land of the Dena'ina people and commit ourselves to pedagogical practices that not only acknowledge colonialism's local impacts but encourage and nurture Alaska Native voices as a response. We welcome students from around the world and believe that multilingualism is not only a strength in a global economy but an essential component of any genuine effort toward justice.
While we realize that formal writing instruction has historically prioritized and reinforced the linguistic preferences of white supremacy, we also believe that education can be a powerful tool for our students, one that can enhance lives and change the world. As professors of Writing in one of the most diverse communities in North America, we have a responsibility to embrace anti-racist pedagogies that not only respect but promote different cultural traditions in writing and communication; teach texts by people of color as constitutive pieces of our rich linguistic tradition; expose, analyze, and challenge racism; and reflect the realities of our students’ lives and identities. We have a further duty to help our campus colleagues recognize and dismantle educational practices that reflect outmoded conceptions of writing that, even when unwittingly applied, so often discriminate against and undermine students of color. We acknowledge that our actions as educators can sometimes perpetuate racism, but we pledge to work towards a more equitable and just institution for all Black, Indigenous, and other students of color. The Department of Writing is committed to fighting racism in all its forms—subtle and blatant, interpersonal and institutional—in our department, at our University, and around the world.