The Department of Political Science at California State University, Northridge stands against Anti-Blackness, racism, and violence perpetrated against Black communities. George Floyd was one of several unarmed Black men and women senselessly murdered by police and white vigilantes in recent months. Ahmaud Arbery was killed by two armed white men while jogging in a South Georgia neighborhood. Breonna Taylor, an EMT, was killed by police in her apartment in Louisville. Tony McDade was killed by police in Tallahassee. In June, after weeks of protests, Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by police in Atlanta in the parking lot of a Wendy’s. We pause to remember these individuals, because their lives mattered. Although the disturbing reality is that there are numerous others, we want to honor the memories of all victims of racial violence, by saying the names of the following Black men, women, and children whose lives have also been taken: Malice Green, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, Alton Sterling, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin. As a department we condemn the racism, bigotry, callous disregard for human life, and state-sanctioned violence that led to their deaths. We recognize that our Black students, faculty, and staff live with the constant fear that their names could be added to this list, and we affirm that their lives are precious and must be protected. The violence must stop!
White supremacy was a part of our nation’s founding documents and continues to be a malignant force in today’s sociopolitical institutions. As Americans continue to grapple with the reality of racial injustice and seek solutions, the department of Political Science affirms that All Black Lives Matter. We recognize that Black people experience disproportionate violence at the hands of the police and that indigenous people and other minoritized groups in this country have also been subject to this violence. We also recognize institutionalized racial discrimination and inequality in American health care, education, criminal justice, and so many other aspects of our society. These enduring problems will not change if the voices of the American people remain unheard. Current protests are the latest iteration of voices that are, once again, calling for change in this country. We support this movement and its call to reimagine and rebuild a more just world. As CSUN professors, we recognize that many of our students are among those on the front lines of this movement. We support our students’ free exercise of their First Amendment rights, as these rights are vital to the protection of all other rights. We condemn any and all attempts by governmental authorities to suppress our students’ fundamental civil liberties, as well as the anti-democratic efforts across the country to suppress the voting rights of Black voters and other voters of color. As long as Black Americans are disenfranchised, the promises of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 remain unfulfilled.
Social justice, civil rights, and diversity have always been core aspects of the department’s curriculum. We see the current movement as an opportunity to learn, move the conversation forward, and more directly communicate these values to our students and the larger community. To this end, faculty are discussing ways to better address systemic and institutional racism through our research, course offerings, teaching approaches, and student activities. We also plan to solicit feedback from our students on classes and programming the department could offer in the future. More information on these discussions and department activities will be made available this fall. In the meantime, we offer a suggested reading list on race and ethnic politics below. Additionally, we list the department’s Fall 2020 courses that directly address the relationship between race, ethnicity, and/or identity and politics. We pledge to continue and expand our efforts to educate, research, and discuss racial injustice in American and international politics.
- Baldwin, James. 1963. The Fire Next Time. Knopf Doubleday Publishing.
- DiAngelo, Robin. 2018. White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. Beacon Press.
- Marable, Manning. 2015. How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society. Pluto Press.
- Reed, Adolph Jr. 1999. Stirrings in the Jug: Black Politics in the Post-Segregation Era. University of Minnesota Press.
- Ture, Kwame and Charles V. Hamilton. 1992. Black Power: Politics of Liberation in America. Vintage Books.
- Williams, Linda Faye. 2004. The Constraint of Race: Legacies of White Skin Privilege in America. Pennsylvania State University Press.
- Hinton, Elizabeth. 2017. The War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America.Harvard University Press.
- Davis, Angela Y. 2016. Freedom is a constant struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the foundations of a movement. Haymarket Books.
- Davis, Angela. 1981. Women, Race and Class. Vintage Books.
- Lipsitz, George. 2006.The possessive investment in whiteness: How white people profit from identity politics. Temple University Press.
- West, Cornell. 1993. Race Matters. Vintage Books.
- Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. 2016. From# BlackLivesMatter to black liberation. Haymarket Books.
- Alexander, Michelle. 2020. The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. The New Press, 2020.
- Cooper, Brittney C. 2016. But some of us are brave: Black women's studies. The Feminist Press at CUNY.
- Tatum, Beverly Daniel. 2017. Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?: And other conversations about race. Basic Books.
- Márquez, John D. 2014. Black-Brown Solidarity: Racial Politics in the New Gulf South. University of Texas Press.
- Mantler, Gordon K. 2013. Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974. UNC Press Books.
- Doane, Ashley. 2006. “What is Racism? Racial Discourse and Racial Politics.” Critical Sociology 32.2: 255-274.
- Hooker, Juliet. 2016. “Black Lives Matter and the Paradoxes of U.S. Black Politics: From Democratic Sacrifice to Democratic Repair.” Political Theory. 44.4.
- Nunnally, Shayla C. 2017. “(Re)Defining the Black Body in the Era of Black Lives Matter: The Politics of Blackness, Old and New.” Race, Groups, and Identities. 6.1: 138-152.
- Thompson, Debra. 2017. “American Political Development in the Era of Black Lives Matter.” Politics, Groups, and Identities. 6.1: 116-119.
- Thurston, Chloe. 2017. “Black Lives Matter, American Political Development, and the Politics of Visibility.” Race, Groups, and Identities. 6.1: 162-170.
- Baumgartner, Frank R., Derek A. Epp, Kelsey Shoub, and Bayard Love. 2017. "Targeting young men of color for search and arrest during traffic stops: evidence from North Carolina, 2002–2013." Politics, Groups, and Identities 5.1: 107-131.
- Baumgartner, Frank R., Amanda J. Grigg, and Alisa Mastro. 2015. "# BlackLivesDon'tMatter: race-of-victim effects in US executions, 1976–2013." Politics, Groups, and Identities 3.2: 209-221.
- McGowen, Ernest B., and Kristin N. Wylie. 2020. "Racialized differences in perceptions of and emotional responses to police killings of unarmed African Americans." Politics, Groups, and Identities 1-11.
- Porter, Ethan V., Thomas Wood, and Cathy Cohen. 2018. "The public's dilemma: race and political evaluations of police killings." Politics, Groups, and Identities 1-28.
- Losada, Paloma. “Addressing Structural Racism in Public Policy with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.” www.brookings.edu February 24, 2020.
- McKamey, Pirette. “What Anti-Racist Teachers Do Differently.” www.theatlantic.com July 17, 2020.
- Winfrey-Harris, Tamara. “The Reckoning Will Be Incomplete Without Black Women and Girls.” www.theatlantic.com June 14, 2020.
- Wingfield, Adia Harvey. “Color-Blindness is Counterproductive.” www.theatlantic.com September 13, 2015.
- Worland, Justin. “America’s Long Overdue Awakening to Systemic Racism.” www.time.com June 11, 2020.