DRC Affirms Black Lives Matter | Statement Against Anti-Black Violence

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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:

Resources:

Books & Articles:

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.

About Author(s)

Wilfredo Flores is a third-year PhD student at Michigan State University. His research interests include digital rhetoric, health communication, land-based and multimodal design, and cultural rhetorics.

Dana Comi is a third-year Ph.D student at the University of Kansas with research interests in Rhetorical Genre Studies (RGS), technical communication, and public rhetorics.

Soyeon Lee teaches writing courses at Houston Community College and works as a PhD candidate in Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy in the English department at the University of Houston.

McKinley is a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, where he studies technical communication and cultural rhetorical theory.

Nupoor is a PhD Candidate in the Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media at the North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on audience analysis, digital rhetoric, user experience and information design primarily in the field of technical communication and artificial intelligence. Her research experience and partnerships with the industry help her bridge gaps of knowledge that she then brings to her pedagogical practices.

I am Jialei Jiang, a PhD candidate in Composition and Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. My research areas of interest include digital rhetoric, new materialism, and multimodal pedagogy.

Jathan Day is the Graduate Administrative and Editorial Associate for the DRC. He is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan. Jathan's research interests include course management systems, digital literacies, online pedagogy, disability studies, and reading practices.

Simone Sessolo is a Lecturer IV in the Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan, where he teaches and does research in multimodal writing, new media, and writing center pedagogy.

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