Florida International University
African & African Diaspora Studies Program (AADS)
AADS Steering Committee Statement
Police Stereotyping and Fatal Brutality Against Unarmed Black People in the U.S.
Since its inception, the multi-disciplinary field of inquiry called Black Studies, later renamed African American, African Diaspora, Africana, or African and African Diaspora Studies in many American universities, has been interrogating the production and reproduction of anti-black racism. It has exposed the ideological, cultural and socioeconomic mechanisms through which notions of “black inferiority,” “inhumanity,” and “abjection” have been naturalized and used to justify social inequalities. Indeed, scholars in this field have meticulously investigated the blatant and hidden operations of “race” that have allowed for the establishment of a racist social order that both informs and is reinforced by state sponsored discrimination and violence. This discrimination and violence is evident in racial profiling, disproportionate and ineffective policing, unequal sentencing, systematic institutionalization including but not limited to incarceration and, as we have seen so vividly of late, the fatal elimination of black bodies by those in charge of maintaining law and order. It is important to recognize that these killings of black people have not been limited to men, as they have also targeted women, girls, and boys.
Aware of the intricacies of the racialist and racist history of the United States of America, the faculty of Florida International University’s African & African Diaspora Studies Program (AADS) are greatly concerned by the unjustified and disproportionate police brutality against unarmed black people that persists with impunity in this country. We are deeply troubled, outraged, and saddened by this documented widespread practice of abuse and stand in support of the families and communities directly affected by these acts of devastating injustice. We remain committed to the mission of Black Studies to educate our students and the public at large about historical, social, cultural, political, and economic processes so that they have the tools to critically interpret current events.
We call on the greater FIU community to join us in creating the necessary spaces wherein we can discuss, disentangle, and analyze the various cases of fatal police brutality against unarmed black men, women, girls and boys. From the killing of Arthur McDuffie in 1979, the execution-style shooting of Amadou Diallo in 1999, the fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd in 2012 to the fatal choking of Eric Gardner in 2014, we stand against all acts of institutionalized, sanctioned violence against black bodies in societies throughout the Americas and the world. We believe that engaging this unfortunate social reality by subjecting it to critical inquiry as well as recognizing the consequences that it has on our diverse community of students, faculty, and staff is essential to meeting the objective of creating a more just society through education.
AADS is planning a roundtable/discussion, Police Stereotyping and Fatal Brutality Against Unarmed Black People in the U.S., with the participation of local community leaders and politicians, law practitioners and experts for February 26, 2015 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in the Graham Center, room 243, on the Modesto Maidique Campus. Please, check our website for updates.
The roundtable will be followed by a reception to celebrate the 20th anniversary of FIU’s African & African Diaspora Studies Program.
The African & African Diaspora Studies Program
Labor Center Building, room 304