Media & Cinema Studies supports Black Lives Matter
In the wake of the murders most recently of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, and given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and Indigenous communities, MACS stands united with Black Lives Matter against structural and institutional racism against people of color in all its forms.
On May 25, 2020, black Minneapolis teen Darnella Frazier filmed the extra-jurisdictional killing of George Floyd in an astonishing and irrefutable unbroken take, and shortly thereafter posted the video to her Facebook page. We credit the many protestors, interested onlookers, and allies that not only have exposed these unconscionable acts of violence against people of color, but have inspired millions of people around the world. Moreover, we abhor and condemn how large portions of the media have warped the message of Black Lives Matter, turning what should be an uncontroversial social movement into one that has been too frequently portrayed as exclusionary, violent, or criminal.
As a university department with an educational mission, we have sought to make visible and condemn, through the voices of our faculty and through the support of our students’ instruction and creative output, the injustice, systemic racism, and violence aimed at people of color in our country. We understand MACS must undertake this work as well. We acknowledge that we must confront our own implicit biases, no matter how difficult, and learn to think and act in ways that affirm and support our students, staff, faculty, and community members identifying as Black and African American. We are listening and are learning. But we must go further and do more still.
We affirm the following:
- Our faculty will actively pursue the goal of hiring black and diverse scholars, instructors, and filmmakers.
- We will promote admissions and material support for black students at the undergraduate level.
- We call for increased hiring of black academic staff and academic staff of color in the college and are committed to diversifying support for students of color at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- We advocate for the admission and mentoring of graduate students of color.
- We actively uphold the end to Native American stereotypes, especially as sport mascots and symbols.
- We demand the college-level hiring of a specific diversity officer with diversity advocacy specifically in their job description and qualifications.
- We will leverage the university’s resources for constructive engagement with the larger community.
- We call for the end of current forms of instructor evaluations, which have been scientifically found to foreground racial, gender, age, sexuality, and national biases.
We point to the following resources:
- Annenberg Inclusion Initiative: https://annenberg.usc.edu/research/aii
- Critical Media Project: https://criticalmediaproject.org/
- Champaign County Bailout Coalition: https://champaigncountybailoutcoalition.wordpress.com/
Media & Cinema Studies faculty