A call for authentic Black engagement in the academy and beyond

Efforts to eliminate anti-Black racism in academia must go far beyond superficial ticking of boxes. The academic community must create conditions for authentic, not tokenistic, Black engagement, argues JPB Fellow Tony Reames.

During the summer of 2020, the streets of cities and towns across America, and even the world, filled with protesters demanding justice for the state-sanctioned murders of Black Americans, most recently George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. At the same time, many academic and academic-adjacent institutions, already reckoning with the fallout of a global pandemic, had to come to terms with how they would respond in this new moment of racial and social unrest. I and several of my friends, who also happen to be the lone or one of a few Black faculty members in our university departments, pondered what was different about this time and what did this moment require of us. Little did we know that we would bear the burden of helping our white colleagues and in some cases our entire schools and universities figure out the same. Read more.