Over the past two weeks, in the aftermath of a hotly contested presidential election, a wave of racist and xenophobic attacks has swept across the United States. In elementary and middle schools, young Latino/a children are taunted with chants of “Build the Wall” and “Go Back to Mexico.” At universities, similar jeers taunt our Black and Brown students, as students and others who are aligned with the White supremacist rhetoric of the U.S. president-elect feel they have gotten a “green light” to parade through campus claiming the space as their own (while occluding all space for non-White others). Muslim students are subjected to physical intimidation and assaults, particularly the women whose hijabs make them a target for religious persecution. Many college students are afraid to even leave their homes and attend class. And now, in the city streets and rural roads, undocumented immigrants are constantly threatened by the specter of arrest and deportation. These demonstrations of racism, bias, and bigotry are, unfortunately, just one small part of a growing populist movement representing a frightening legacy of historical periods of fascism across the globe. In Europe, Latin America, and throughout the African diaspora, people of color and members of the LGBTQIA community are facing increasing levels of harassment and violence.
During these troubled times, the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) denounces all forms of harassment, aggression, and violence based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. Although we always stand in opposition to such bigoted acts, we feel it is important to assert our position even more clearly in light of recent events. We are concerned about the President-elect’s courting of White nationalists and supremacists. We are alarmed about the advancement of rhetoric that forecasts the transformation of Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, sexist, and racist campaign discourse into tangible policy. We consider the current climate antithetical to all that we rigorously and passionately work to achieve as scholars in the realm of social justice and respect for humanity. As a result, we call upon President-Elect Donald Trump join the growing demands for an end to racist, misogynist, homophobic, and discriminatory attacks. We also urge universities and cities around world to become sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants.
As scholars of Africa and the African diaspora, we are committed not only to producing and disseminating scholarship on the global Black experience, but also to defending the most vulnerable in the places where we live and study—the members of our worldwide community who are people of color, LGBTQIA people, Muslims (and other religious groups facing discrimination), immigrants (documented and undocumented), the differently abled, and women. We stand in solidarity with all those who are struggling to fight against discrimination, intolerance, and oppression, and we pledge to foster an inclusive, welcoming intellectual and political environment at our upcoming 2017 conference in Seville, Spain.
Leslie M. Alexander, President
Elisa Joy White, Vice President
Laura Rosanne Adderley, Secretary
Walter C. Rucker, Treasurer
On behalf of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)