The faculty and staff of the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs (SGPIA) at The New School stand in solidarity with the Black community and join movements demanding racial justice. We acknowledge and share the outrage of communities of color as too often the US has been on the side of injustice on issues of race as seen in pervasive acts of senseless police brutality and the recent killing of Black Americans including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, and countless others. We mourn the lives lost and offer our deepest sympathies to their families and loved ones. We are angered by the continuing incidents of suppression of protest by curfews and state violence that we are seeing across the US.
Sadly, since the inception of the United States, racism has been an issue—the country was born out of European colonialism that carried out a genocide against native populations and built upon the backs of African slaves. The American Revolution’s promise of freedom and liberty was not shared; the US Civil War and Reconstruction also did not address the profound inequalities in wealth and security; and, despite notable progress from the Civil Rights Movement, the dangers of a biased criminal justice system and police forces continue to plague Black Americans. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on people of color is but another representation of starkly unequal conditions sustained by racist undertones and policies.
From an international perspective, racism has also been an enduring issue, an essential element of colonization to slavery to today’s unequal political and economic order, contributing to the systemic causes of inequality, discrimination and oppression within and between countries. The study of international affairs has been shaped by this historical legacy and dominated by Western knowledge and experience that have shaped the narratives of climate, humanitarianism, security, development, global health and other challenges. Contemporary problems demand diverse sources of knowledge beyond the mainstream theories and practices that have been as much a part of the problem as a solution to the challenges that we face.
Going forward, our actions and our thinking must draw on a new praxis that honors the diverse realities of human existence and that draw upon the knowledge, scholarship, and world views of the non-Western world and marginalized populations everywhere. We commit to devoting our research and teaching to exploring the structures of power and racism that lie at the root of inequality and injustices, and to seeking alternatives. We pledge to listen to voices of the oppressed. We will not be silent on matters of race, instead we will share what we do and learn on our blog.
I call on all faculty, students, and staff of SGPIA to look within ourselves, assess power imbalances, and reject biases. We will take every opportunity in our program curriculum, course syllabi, small and large events, study groups, and research initiatives to share knowledge, learn, and understand racism as an element in international institutions and processes. Acting to dismantle the structural causes of racism and discrimination is an essential element in the praxis of international affairs.
For SGPIA, justice matters, and we are adamant in the belief that Black lives matter.
Julien J. Studley Programs in International Affairs
On behalf of Faculty and Staff