Dear DRC Community,
These painful past few weeks have called on those of us at the DRC to reaffirm: Black Lives Matter. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Nina Pop, and countless others are symptoms of deeply entrenched white supremacy in the United States. Our country and its institutions—including academia—are founded on and sustained by white supremacy. We recognize that these murders are not isolated incidents, but articulations of an ongoing epidemic of violence sustained by anti-Black racism. When we say Black Lives Matter, we condemn not only individual murders, but also the underlying conditions of white supremacy that enable those murders. Our antiracist praxes must also be intersectional. We recognize Black trans women, Native womxn, and queer communities of color face a unique and profound epidemic of violence. As such, when we say that Black Lives Matter, we mean all Black lives.
As digital rhetoricians, we are particularly attuned to how technologies and their many facets are deployed in and for the projects of anti-Blackness, settler colonialism, and white supremacy. These calls for and manifestations of social justice were facilitated by a video recorded on a cell phone displaying the injustices Black communities experience every day; this video was one of many, and many injustices have gone unrecorded. The gatherings that are happening all across the nation give voice to a grieving that we participate in—and an anger we understand.
It is important to say their names, and it is important to call out police brutality and systemic violence against Black people. We also recognize that it is important to follow up with action. Silence, neutrality, and inaction are not options when we witness state-sanctioned murder. Neutrality will always only embolden oppression and silence perpetuates inaction. As such, we make the following commitments:
- We commit to integrate anti-racist ideals into our recruitment and retention practices.
- We commit to place anti-racism at the core of our digital publishing initiatives, including centering on the experiences and voices of color and explicitly requiring white authors to assess their positionalities, especially in discussions of social justice.
- We commit to post and create calls for content that call out anti-Blackness, systemic racism, and police brutality in digital contexts.
- We commit to address directly the ways that racism and inequality are built into the technologies we use and write about.
- We commit to create community engagement projects in which community organizers and members from Black communities, Indigenous communities, and other nonwhite communities are invited to speak out their perspectives in terms of racism, technologies, and inequality.
Further, we encourage everyone to peruse the following list of resources as a means of furthering education on anti-Blackness in technology studies and for engaging in the current moment. We will keep adding to this list, and we invite readers to post resources in the comments section.
Links from the DRC:
- Session C13: “Designing Inclusive Futures: Black Feminist Design(s) as Ethical Practice in Administration, Pedagogy, and Research” (2019)
- ‘I Do This For Us’: Thinking Through Reciprocity & Researcher-Community Relationships (2019)
- MLA Session 200: On Text and Context: Playing with Possibilities in Video Games (2019)
- C&W 18 Review of Saturday Keynote: “Racing Games: On Games, Race, and Community Building” by Samantha Blackmon (2018)
- C&W 18 Review: “Multimodal Hip-Hop and Transforming Writing Studies” (2018)
- Watson Keynote Session 2: Carmen Kynard, “Pretty for a Black Girl” (2016)
- Walking Black: Examining Telltale’s The Walking Dead as a Racialized Pedagogical Zone (2015)
- Reclaiming my Language: The (Mis)education of Wonderful (2014)
- Samantha Blackmon’s “Your Code Ain’t Like Mine: On Being #thatgirl in Technology Intensive Fields” ~ KN3 (2014)
- Digital Color and Racial Identity ~ Session F2 (2013)
- Draft Email to Send Students in Solidarity by Les Hutchinson
- NCTE/CCCC Black Caucus Statement
- Ways You Can Help Resource Hub
- Twitter Thread: Protesting and Deleting Your Digital Footprint
- A Guide to Data Protection for Protest and Rebellion
- Twitter Thread: Digital Security Tips for Protestors
- Do No Harm: Photographing Police Brutality Protests
Books & Articles:
- Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code
- Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism
- Network Sovereignty: Building the Internet Across Indian Country
- A Third University Is Possible: Uncovering the Decolonizing Ghost in the Colonizing Machine
- “Race, Rhetoric, and Technology: A Case Study of Decolonial Technical Communication Theory, Methodology, and Pedagogy,” by Angela Haas
- Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination
- “Technologies of Disenfranchisement: Literacy Tests and Black Voters in the US from 1890 to 1965,” By Natasha N. Jones and Miriam F. Williams
- Regina Duthely, “Black Feminist Hip-Hop Rhetorics and The Digital Public Sphere”
- Jessie Daniels, “The Algorithmic Rise of the Alt-Right”
- Bijan Stephen, “Social Media Helps Black Lives Matter Fight the Power”
- Alexaner Cho, “Default publicness: Queer youth of color, social media, and being outed by the machine”
- Kishonna L. Gray, “Gaming out online: Black lesbian identity development and community building in Xbox Live”
We, the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, work toward supporting all who combat anti-Blackness and systemic racism and commit to this work ourselves, and we support and participate in all expressions that condemn and reject white supremacy, bigotry, and hate, in any media. Here, we want to reaffirm that our work in digital technologies is directed toward combating white supremacy as it circulates within and through digital technologies and providing support for all who have been subjected to anti-Blackness and all who fight it. If you need an avenue to spread ideas of digital activism, digital help, digital hope, we offer our network to implement those ideals.