This year has been wrought with conflicts, protests, civil unrest, and a growing global climate of xenophobia and nativism. Last summer, the United Kingdom signaled its exit from the European Union citing economic issues and a growing immigration crisis as grounds for its departure. While British hatred was directed at all groups of immigrants, such as workers from Eastern European countries, it became very clear that their xenophobia was also inextricably tied to racist notions of white superiority. This connection was not lost on those of us who understand the symbiotic ways that race, class, and commerce solidify empire while marginalizing those most vulnerable in society. Just a few months later, following the rise of right-wing nationalist and xenophobic governments in Poland and Hungary, the United States elected Donald Trump to the highest office in the land. Having run a campaign replete with homophobic, racist, heterosexist, and misogynist rhetoric, President Elect Trump’s prospective government appointees embrace white nationalist sentiments and offer very little hope for a unified nation. At the same time, Native American protestors and allies stood in defiance of the North Dakota Pipeline which threatens their sacred burial grounds and would pollute their drinking water, while facing state-sanctioned violence the likes of which have not been seen since the Civil Rights Movement. And then there is Syria, where civil war has left over 300,000 people dead and many more fleeing their homes in hopes of sanctuary from neighboring countries as well as those abroad. This year has seen over 4600 refugees die during their perilous crossings.
The Collegium for African American Research (CAAR), a trans-Atlantic international organization, unequivocally condemns these disturbing trends. As scholars of Africa and the Black Diaspora based in Europe and North America, we understand that white supremacy manifests itself in many guises, and therefore see the connections between Brexit, Syria, Standing Rock, and the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump as part and parcel of a new wave of global xenophobia. We denounce racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and the vitriolic hate speech that presently engulfs the United States and many parts of Europe. We support European and American activists, leaders, and politicians who have publicly denounced these 21st-century forms of hate, and we call on President-elect Trump to do so as well.
As executive board members of CAAR, we pledge to continue to use our research, scholarship, and overall activities in CAAR, including our biennial conferences, to sustain awareness of all forms of hate and intolerance and speak out against those acts as well as contribute to inclusive climates that prepare us and others to confront and effectively fight these 21st-century insidious global challenges.
Signed in Solidarity,
President—Violet Showers Johnson
Secretary—Patricia Williams Lessane
Treasurer—Silvia Castro Borrego