IASA Statement of Support for the Struggle Against Racialized Violence in the United States
The International American Studies Association is dismayed to see the explosion of anger, bitterness and desperation that has been triggered by yet another senseless, cruel and wanton act of racialized violence in the United States. We stand in solidarity with and support the ongoing struggle by African Americans, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants and the marginalized against the racialized violence perpetrated against them.
As scholars of the United States, we see the killing of George Floyd and many before them as acts on the continuum of the history of the powerful committing racialized violence against the powerless in the United States from before the birth of that country to the here and now of the present day. This continuum stretches from the transatlantic slave trade, the genocide of the indigenous population, the denial of rights and liberties to women, through the exploitation of American workers, slavery and Jim Crow, to the exclusion and inhumane treatment of the same migrants who make a profit for American corporations and keep prices low for the U.S. consumer. As scholars of the United States, we are acutely aware of how racialized violence is systemic, of how it has been woven into the fabric of U.S. society and cultures by the powerful, and of how the struggle against it has produced some of the greatest contributions of U.S. society to world culture and heritage.
The desperate rebellion of the powerless against racialized violence by the powerful is in turn propagandized as unreasonable or malicious. It is neither. It is an uprising to defend their own lives, their last resort after waiting for generations for justice and equal treatment from law enforcement, law makers, and the courts. In too many instances, those in power have answered such uprisings with deadly force—and in every instance, they have had alternatives to this response.
We are calling on those in power and the people with the guns in the United States now to exercise their choices and choose an alternative to deadly force as a response to the struggle against racialized violence. You have the power and the weapons—you have a choice to do the right thing and make peace.
We are calling on U.S. law makers to listen and address the issues of injustice and racialized violence through systemic reform that remakes the very fabric of the United States justice system, including independent accountability oversight for law enforcement.
We are calling on our IASA members and Americanists around the world to redouble their efforts at teaching their students and educating the public of the truth about the struggle against racialized violence in the United States.
We are calling on our IASA members and Americanists around the world to become allies in the struggle against racialized violence in the United States and in their home societies by publicizing scholarship on the truth, by listening to and amplifying the voices of black people, ethnic minorities and the marginalized, and supporting them in this struggle on their own terms.
We are calling on all fellow scholarly associations to explore all the ways in which they can put pressure with those in power at all levels in the United States to do the right thing and end racialized violence.
There will be no peace in our hearts and souls until justice is done and racialized violence is ended—until all of us are able “to breathe free.”
- Dr Manpreet Kaur Kang, President of the International American Studies Association, Professor of English and Dean, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, India;
Dr Jennifer Frost, President of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association, Associate Professor of History, University of Auckland, New Zealand;
Dr S. Bilge Mutluay Çetintaş, Associate Professor, Department of American Culture and Literature, Hacettepe University, Turkey;
Dr Gabriela Vargas-Cetina, Professor of Anthropology, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico;
Dr Paweł Jędrzejko, Associate Professor of American Literature, University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland;
Dr Marietta Messmer, Associate Professor of American Studies, University of Groningen, The Netherlands;
Dr Kryštof Kozák, Department of North American Studies, Charles University, Prague;
Dr Giorgio Mariani, Professor of English and American Languages and Literatures, Department of European, American and Intercultural Studies, Università “Sapienza” of Rome;
Dr György Tóth, Lecturer, History, Heritage and Politics, University of Stirling, Scotland, United Kingdom;
Dr Manuel Broncano, Professor of American Literature and Director of English, Spanish, and Translation, Texas A&M International University, Laredo, USA;
Dr Jiaying Cai, Lecturer at the School of English Studies, Shanghai International Studies University, China;
Dr Alessandro Buffa, Secretary, Center for Postcolonial and Gender Studies, University of Naples L’Orientale, Italy;
IASA; protest; racialized violence; the United States; George Floyd
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