Statement on Social Justice (October 2020)

Race was and always has been a fiction created to categorize human beings and facilitate the exploitation of some and the enrichment of others” (Nelson 2020).

The Anthropology Department is firmly committed to actively fight against racism. As anthropologists, scholars, teachers and citizens, we stand with all victims of racism and social injustice. We commit ourselves to this stance in our teaching, in our conversations, in our scholarship, and in our relationships in the department and with the community. It is our responsibility to engage with racism both in its intellectual ramifications, as well as the daily antagonisms that shape the lives of marginalized people in our communities and beyond. This requires that we take an anti-racist stance to consciously and actively work towards change. Anthropology has demonstrated time and again that race is not a biological concept, but a social construct. Human diversity in in all its facets is a strength rather than a weakness. We are, in fact, more alike than we are different. Yet race, while not grounded in our DNA, molds our identities and daily interactions in very real ways, impacting our well-being, health, economic and educational success. Talking about racism in our daily lives, in our classrooms and in our research, is hard but necessary. We cannot be colourblind, as that privilege is only available to those who never have to worry about colour. As anthropologists, we want to lead our students and our communities to unite against racism and to start real and lasting change. The task of implementing change falls to all of us, every day. We call on politicians, university officials, community members and world leaders to take a clear stance against racism, white supremacy and social injustices.  There is racism in Canada and we, as the Department of Anthropology and as individuals, will actively work against it.