GGeP and NOG stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter
These are momentous times. After weeks of shut down and Covid-19 related anxieties, the world has erupted in mass protests in support of #blacklivesmatter and anti-racist struggles.
The Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) at Utrecht University together with the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies (NOG) stands in solidarity with the growing global protests and the work that activist groups and organisations everywhere undertake in order to fight structural racism, white supremacy and the continued colonial order.
The fight against systemic racism
The brutal murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020 has deeply outraged us. This killing – along with the countless other Black lives lost to police brutality – has provoked a profound reckoning not only in the US but everywhere on the globe, including in the Netherlands. It is time to once more speak out against the ongoing terror enacted on Black people through racist violence, sexual violence, and gender violence. It is time to once more loudly address how systemic racism is rooted in social and economic structures, including in higher education and in the health and welfare systems we inhabit.
Moving in solidarity
There remains a lot to be done, many actions to be taken and many study curricula to be decolonized. In our work as Gender Studies teachers and researchers, we ceaselessly aim to raise awareness about the entangled power dynamics of racism, colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism that uphold structural exclusion and discrimination. Grounded in an intersectional feminism and inspired by Black, BIPoC, de/postcolonial, queer and trans scholarship and activism, we are committed to openly addressing inequalities and injustices in academia. But we also need to commit to critically reflecting on our own complicity with these structures that uphold white supremacy. How can we move from being in solidarity to moving in solidarity? The work of anti-racist activist initiatives becomes all the more urgent to us, such as Black Lives Matter, The Black Archives, Keti Koti, Zwarte Piet is Racisme, Kick Out Zwarte Piet, and many more. We commit to amplifying Black voices in our daily work at the university and beyond, and to contributing to a politics of permanent contestation and dialogue and to the dismantling of systemic racism.
Doing the work
It is time:
- to interrogate and rethink how notions of merit and competency are themselves conditioned by racialized histories so as to realize far more rigorous hiring practices of inclusion (than those we currently have in place);
- to remind our institutions that the concepts of diversity/inclusion are not just buzzwords but should actually refer to concrete practices and measures;
- to attend to the protracted precarity and emotional labour of Black and BiPoC colleagues and students by building more supportive institutional structures.