MAY 29, 2020
Warmest greetings. This morning, I write to you with a heavy heart. On the most basic human level, the last few days have been very troublesome for me and perhaps for you as well.
I learned, at a very early age, while growing up in the rural South, about unnecessary pain and suffering. I watched many members in my community experience undeserved slights, neglect, and mistreatment simply because of their skin color. Of course, many were able to rise about the social milieu of the South, but it was not without emotional and psychological costs.
As a way to protect my genius and prevent the threats of existential nihilism, my family overshadowed me with love, care, encouragement, and the necessary supports to not be weakened by the bigotry that had persisted from the very beginning of time. The teachings, stories, and narratives that I heard on the front porch from my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents still resonate today. In these stories, you heard joy, happiness, pride, sadness, horrors, tragedies, and redemption – true Netflix content. More importantly, you were expected to attentively listen and to pinpoint what lessons to carry with you in your life journey.
You should not get into diversity, equity, and inclusion work unless you really believe that your efforts can truly make a difference in the world. In fact, you should not do anything unless you believe your efforts are the tipping point. Thus, when you let yourself dream of a better world, you must be prepared for a range of experiences and emotions, even those that you catch you off guard like a police officer who kneels on a man's throat until he dies, like a man watching birds who gets law enforcement called on him for nothing, or like a man who is chased to his death for the crime of jogging in his own neighborhood.
It is exhausting and painful to see the cruelty of the world directed at people who look like me, our relatives, our friends, our co-workers, and/or our neighbors. And for it to come at this time—when we are more alone than ever and frightened by a pandemic bringing death to our doorsteps—makes it even more unsettling.
It is clear that some of our law enforcement officers need greater training and responsiveness. Without critical examination, true reconciliation, and equal justice, false accusations will continue to be made about people of color and other vulnerable populations. Such groups will continue to be falsely accused, over-surveillanced, and even wrongfully killed. Add the names Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery to the dreadful and endless roll call of individuals that we have witnessed tragically killed.
I know this is not a very good pep talk, but the truth is the healing is in the pain. We have been given a special opportunity—the power to mend our broken hearts and end our disillusionment through the work we do. With this in mind, I believe in the power of education. We have an immense opportunity to transform the lives of our students and colleagues as we put our stamp on the next generation of leaders. The next generation will take on these issues that have bedeviled us and build on the work that previous generations have done.
The reality is we have, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a chance to “bend the arc” of the moral universe toward justice. So, once you have processed your pain, I ask you to pick up the pieces of your shattered heart. Our work is, too, important to wait and needed now more than ever.
Thank you for all you do to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion at our beloved The Ohio State University. Equally as important, thank you for working to make our world a better place.
James L. Moore, III
Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
What Can You Do? Read, Listen, Watch, Act
Building a Safe and Equitable Community
Our university is here to help foster learning, support active dialogue and continue to build a safe, equitable community for all Buckeyes. Part of building this community is to engage in learning about privilege, racism, and how to create social change. Below is an evolving but not exhaustive list of recommendations and corresponding resources curated from a variety of sources, including those that have been circulating at the grassroots level by the Movement for Black Lives. Citation is provided when available. Use them to learn more about systemic racism in our country and how to work towards being anti-racist.
Five Ways Allies Can Advance Racial Equity
- Re-Educate Yourself on the history of the birth and development of this nation and current racial inequity issues.
- Host conversations and reading groups with friends, family members, and colleagues about race and racism, why this is important, and the role of allies in dismantling and correcting systemic injustice.
- Speak up and out, privately and publicly, about racial inequity and injustice.
- Seek to understand before being understood. Do the work of educating yourself; listen to people of color; ask how you can be supportive; follow-through.
- Use your privilege as a platform to make space for those who do not have the opportunity to be heard.
Adapted from publicly distributed resources developed by the Movement for Black Lives
- The 1619 Project (all the articles) | The New York Times Magazine
- Tips for Creating Effective White Caucus Groups developed by Craig Elliott PhD
- ”White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh
- “Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
- Black Skin, White Masks by Franz Fanon
- Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald
- Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve
- From BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor
- From Slave Cabins to the White House: Homemade Citizenship in African American Culture by Koritha Mitchell (Ohio State professor!)
- How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- How to Be Less Stupid about Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal Marie Fleming
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Killing Rage: Ending Racism by bell hooks (plus more by this author)
- Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
- Microaggressions in Everyday Life by Derald Wing Sue
- Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Arnold
- The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (plus more by this author)
- The History of White People by Neil Irvin Painter
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs
- Whistling Vivaldi by Claude M. Steele
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson
Films and TV Series:
- 13th (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
- American Son (Kenny Leon) — Netflix
- Dear White People (Justin Simien) — Netflix
- If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins) — Hulu
- See You Yesterday (Stefon Bristol) — Netflix
- Selma (Ava DuVernay) — Available to rent
- The Hate U Give (George Tillman Jr.) — Hulu with Cinemax
- When They See Us (Ava DuVernay) — Netflix
- "How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion" | Peggy McIntosh at TEDxTimberlaneSchools (18:26)
- “So You Want to Talk About Race” I Ijeoma Oluo at Talks at Google
Toolkits, Teaching Materials, Recommendations
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Showing Up For Racial Justice's educational toolkits
- “Why is this happening?” — an introduction to police brutality from 100 Year Hoodie
- Zinn Education Project's teaching materials
- The Smithsonian's Talking About Race Toolkits
This list is adapted from multiple sources, including a document compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein. View the full document.