Wenn sich Naturwissenschaftler nicht entblöden, zu fordern:
“…We must confront the institutional barriers to justice for Black people in academia and beyond, challenge the notion of the meritocracy whereby “objective and neutral” criteria infused with systemic racism…”
und damit Erfolg haben, dann ist die Wissenschaft als Erkenntnisinstrument tot.
It should go without saying that Black lives matter. Yet we find ourselves again mourning and raging over state and vigilante violence against Black people. The recent murders of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery are just a few examples of the violence and racism that Black people live with every day — and have for centuries — in the US, Canada, and around the world. We acknowledge the ways in which the effects of anti-Black racism are compounded for people who are also, for example, women, trans, non-binary, queer, Indigenous to the lands occupied by the United States and Canada, Latinx, Muslim, Jewish, disabled, and/or undocumented. We demand justice, reform, and accountability now.
Therefore, as physicists, we believe an academic strike is urgently needed: to hit pause, to give Black academics a break and to give others an opportunity to reflect on their own complicity in anti-Black racism in academia and their local and global communities. This #strike4blacklives is in dialogue with a call from colleagues in astronomy to #shutdownSTEM and #shutdownacademia for at least the day of June 10.
We recognize that our academic institutions and research collaborations — despite big talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion — have ultimately failed Black people. Demands for justice have been met with gradualism and tokenism, as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives that — while sometimes well-intentioned — have had little meaningful impact on the lived experiences of Black students, staff, researchers, and faculty. Black representation among physics faculty is non-existent at most institutions, and it is widely known that Black students often feel unwelcome, unsupported, and even unsafe in their physics departments and predominantly white campuses.
Anti-Blackness is pervasive throughout academia, and the number of students and faculty in particle physics and other subfields make this very clear. Moreover, anti-Blackness affects all aspects of Black peoples’ lives. To steward a new generation of students, research staff, and faculty in physics means to acknowledge our collective responsibility to combat anti-Blackness, not just on campus, but also in the streets, in governance, and society at large. Ending white supremacy is a matter of urgency, yet far too often, instead of using power to question institutional practices and advocate for Black students, faculty and staff, many senior academics and administrators retreat to the Ivory Tower, disengaging from the pursuit of justice. Again, the fight against white supremacy — in all of its manifestations — is an urgent one, and we are clear that justice will not be achieved until Black people not only have the right to survive but also thrive.
We are conscious of the ways in which Black students and scholars, including two authors of this letter to the community, are expected to do the heavy lifting to advocate for and support justice and representation in academia. We know that this burden functions as an unfair and unevenly distributed barrier to their ability to thrive in academia. We call for a universal strike to give them a break and because those of us with the most privilege have the greatest responsibility to use that privilege to enact change. We must confront the institutional barriers to justice for Black people in academia and beyond, challenge the notion of the meritocracy whereby “objective and neutral” criteria infused with systemic racism are used to exclude Black people from physics and other academic disciplines, and rebuild our institutions and collaborations in a way that is just and equitable.
Importantly, we are not calling for more diversity and inclusion talks and seminars. We are not asking people to sit through another training about implicit bias. We are calling for every member of the community to commit to taking actions that will change the material circumstances of how Black lives are lived — to work toward ending the white supremacy that not only snuffs out Black physicist dreams but destroys whole Black lives. In calling for a strike, we call on people who are not Black to spend a day undertaking discussion and action that furthers this work, while providing Black scientists with a day of rest. Every single institution around the world can and should get involved in this work, and the strike marks an opportunity to recommit to the humanist values which should underpin academic work, including the belief that Black Lives Matter.