The Department of Political Science at McMaster University stands in solidarity with Black communities at home and around the world in condemning all forms of racial injustice and acknowledging in particular the suffering that Black people everywhere continue to endure as a result of systemic anti-Black racism.
As political scientists, we study how power functions within societies and to whose benefit it inures. The historic and more recent violence against members of Black communities in Canada and other jurisdictions emphasizes the pervasive and on-going disparity in power relations between White and racialized people.
As a Department, we are also directly implicated in the same power disparities that we study.
We recognize that anti-Black racism is embedded in the political systems, institutions and policies that govern our lives and that continue to promote white supremacism five hundred years into settler-colonialism. The current protests across the United States and Canada have focused the attention of the world on the insidious nature of anti-Black racism, but we acknowledge this is not just a “difficult moment” for Black communities fighting for equity—it is a lived reality that only the most privileged among us have the option to overlook.
Though we hope that our work as a community of scholars will broadly contribute to advances in social justice, we recognize that the most immediate and direct impact we can have in terms of redressing racial injustice is to identify ways in which we can make concrete contributions to the promotion of equity and inclusion within our Department.
To that end, we commit to the following:
- We will continue to listen carefully to what our Black students say they need in order to feel supported within our department practices and our courses. We want to centre Black voices in these discussions, but we are mindful of the fact that it is not our students’ job to teach us about racism. Instead of creating additional service work for our Black students, we will look to amplify and replicate their calls for action.
- We will establish an advisory working group to review our processes and practices around faculty hires, student recruitment and admissions, funding packages, and scholarship allocations to ensure that they reflect our commitment to inclusive excellence.
- We will explore the possibility of developing scholarships for all visible minorities, and specifically for Black students, at the undergraduate and graduate levels as a means of recruiting and supporting Black political scientists in our department and our discipline.
- We will draw on the wealth of information available from Black writers and educators in an effort to decolonize our teaching and research practices. We will provide additional training to instructors as to how to further develop diverse and inclusive syllabi.
- We will pay an educator from the Black community to provide additional Department-wide training and consult on the Department’s efforts to meet our commitments.
- We will report to Department faculty, staff and students on our progress in meeting these commitments at the end of the academic year. At this time, we will assess goals for future years to ensure our commitment to change is not a one-time event.
We welcome feedback from the broader McMaster community—in particular from our Black community members—as to how we can improve upon these commitments and contribute more substantively as a Department to redressing racial injustice at McMaster, within Canada, and around the world.
Most importantly, we wish to express to our Black colleagues, students, and friends that we see you, we support you in your struggle for equity and justice, and your lives matter.