ACCUTE Statement on Racial Injustice

Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English
ACCUTE Statement on Racial Injustice

The Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) condemns the police brutality inflicted on Black people in both Canada and the United States. The recent victims, including George Floyd, Chantel Moore, Breonna Taylor, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and D’Andre Campbell, remind us that the brutality perpetuated by the police and others is part of a larger structure of systematic and institutional racism. This racism is evident in our discipline of English literary studies, which has served as a tool of colonial and racial violence, and in our professions and institutions, which have been and continue to be shaped by institutional and structural racism.

We all have a responsibility to address the disproportionate violence that Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities experience by actively participating in challenging and deconstructing systemic racism. Literary studies offer critical avenues for this by providing tools for education and facilitating allyship. As literary and cultural scholars in Canada, we must identify and speak out against settler colonialism, systemic racism, racialized violence, white supremacy, and hate. Through our teaching and research, we commit to fostering communities of respect and solidarity amongst our members and with the wider public. Struggles for freedom, liberation, and decolonization require meaningful, ongoing work. ACCUTE’s immediate priority is to centre BIPOC voices at Congress and in ACCUTE publications. The incoming executive will work with the ACCUTE Board to introduce changes to the governance of ACCUTE to reflect our commitment to anti-racism advocacy in our institution, our discipline, and our wider profession.

We would encourage members to consider donating if you have the means to any of the following organizations, and to continue to educate yourself about the ongoing reality of violence directed at Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities:
Black Lives Matter
The Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Project

A few suggestions, focused on anti-Black violence and the strength of Black art and storytelling, are listed below. Thanks to Hannah McGregor for providing the foundations of this list:
Women Do This Every Day by Lillian Allen (Women’s Press)
Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard (Penguin)
The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole (Penguin)
The Black Prairie Archives: An Anthology by Karina Vernon (Wilfred Laurier UP)
I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My DaughterBrother, and Soucouyant by David Chariandy (Penguin)
A Map to the Door of No Return by Dionne Brand (Penguin)
Blank: Essays and Interviews by m. nourbeSe philip (BookHug)
The Hanging of Angelique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montreal by Afua Cooper (HarperCollins)
How She Read by Chantal Gibson (Caitlin)
Frying Plantain by Zalik Reid-Benta (Anansi)
The Outer Harbour by Wayde Compton (Arsenal)
The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin (McClelland & Stewart)
You Must Be a Basketball Player: Rethinking Integration the University and Visitor: My Life in Canada by Anthony Stewart (Fernwood)

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