Chronically Academic anti-Black racism statement

At the time of writing, worldwide protests are taking place against police brutality and anti-Black racial violence in the US. As a community, we at Chronically Academic condemn anti-Black violence and systemic racism. We support and stand in solidarity with our Black network members, colleagues, and students. Our mandate to support academics with chronic conditions and disabilities and to work to dismantle structures of academic ableism is intersectional; we cannot dismantle ableist structures without dismantling racist, sexist and colonial structures of white supremacy in the academy and beyond.

We recognize that in academia, in the medical system, and in everyday life, Black disabled academics face a great deal more systemic oppression and direct discrimination due to the intersection of disability and blackness. Therefore they are more likely to face ableism and racism. This might include: being turned down for a job, not being able to access healthcare or disability accommodations, being racially profiled, being told that they do not belong in academia, not being believed when they speak up about being mistreated, being ignored, being silenced, being racially abused, being victimised. We also recognise that this intersectional lens has to acknowledge the oppression faced by Black trans people and Black queer people, who face disproportionately high rates of discrimination and violence.We recognise that making a statement in itself is not enough, and strive to learn about how we can do better as a community and with this platform. We do not want to place the burden on BIPOC/BAME members of our community to educate us. Instead we encourage everyone in the Chronically academic community to join us in educating ourselves and fighting these inequalities.We commit to the following actions:

  1. Amplifying the voices of Black disabled students and academics and helping to increase representation.
  2. Providing a platform for Black disabled students and academics (e.g. through our Twitter account, and through Twitter hashtags).
  3. Ensuring that people in the Chronically Academic community are aware that we have a zero-tolerance policy to racism, ableism or discrimination of any kind.
  4. Holding monthly Twitter chats about allyship and sharing resources about how to be an ally.
  5. Looking at whether Chronically Academic needs to make any other changes at an organisational level to become more inclusive and anti-racist.

If you are a non-Black person, as a first step, we urge you to educate yourself on the key issues and how to engage on this topic, including taking note of what not to do. We as a team are committed to doing this self-education and self-reflection as well. Please see below a list of resources as a starting point. We welcome you to get in touch with us to add more to the list. It is OK to be outraged or upset about the injustices, but do not air your outrage or sadness with Black people and ask them to educate you about what you can do, or expect their emotional support. It is understandable that you may feel guilty and uncomfortable about your privilege, but ask yourself how you have benefitted from this privilege, why it makes you uncomfortable, and what you can do going forward to make things better for people without your privilege. Use your privilege to provide platforms for others without it. Do not ask for emotional labour from Black students or colleagues at what is already a traumatic time. Do not share graphic images or videos of violence against Black people, especially without a trigger warning. If you are an academic with seniority, support your Black students by thinking about what you can do practically to make your department actively anti-racist.

Lastly, you may feel an urge to write about this movement as an academic, but reconsider: does academia need another non-Black perspective on Black issues? Instead, look at your archive and citations, consider what perspectives are missing and work to fill these spaces. We must all strive to continually do anti-racist work and uphold anti-racist practices, no matter our fields of study or the demographics of our classrooms and departments.

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