A Statement From ABS On Attacks On Black Women/Black Academics

A Statement From ABS On Attacks On Black Women/Black Academics

March 28, 2024

It is with the utmost urgency and sincerity that we, the Executive Committee of the Association of Black Sociologists (ABS), issue this statement and call to action.

We vehemently condemn—and call on others to do the same—the unremitting, mounting, and normalized anti-Black sentiments and full-on attacks on Black academics, including Black sociologists. We also strongly condemn the attacks on Black and African American curricula in sociology and other disciplines, as well as attacks on extracurricular programming through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

More directly, we denounce and repudiate persons, places, policies, and practices that initiate, fabricate, or appear complicit in the pervasiveness of anti-Black ideologies, agendas, narratives, and actions through articulation, silence, and inaction. We note that increasing and escalating vitriolic racist, sexist, intersectional[i] and misogynoir[ii] harms are inflicted particularly on Black women in the academy and more broadly.

Black lives still, and will always matter. This was expressed widely in 2020 following the heinous murder of George Floyd, and it remains true. The backlash to the declaration and demand that Black Lives Matter has been notable and disheartening.

Nevertheless, we (re)sound the alarm on seemingly widespread, domino-effect approaches of targeting, harassing, and picking off Black women one-by-one, overtly and subtly through reported trolling, bullying, and other acts of intimidation. These attacks range from the widely covered professional and personal denigrations experienced by former Harvard University President Claudine Gay, to daily life disruptions from stress, severe anxiety, depression and even death as in the case of Dr. Antionette “Bonnie” Candia-Bailey, former Vice President for Student Affairs of Lincoln University of Missouri. Countless Black (women) academics across the country face similar detrimental experiences, many of which result from, or are exacerbated by, harmful actors and an accumulating lack of institutional support.

These attacks have now come to our front door. ABS supports Black woman sociologist, Dr. Christina Cross of Harvard University, as a stalwart, exemplary, and interdisciplinary scholar. Dr. Cross’s work has been highly lauded in numerous sociological and cross-disciplinary organizations, journals, and more, at every juncture of her career. Her expertise spans topical areas like families and children, race/ethnicity, social stratification, social demography, and education in higher education. Dr. Cross’s credentials are beyond reproach. We know that Dr. Cross’s attackers are not at all interested in her scholarship. This is an attack on Black people at large.

ABS also notes that there are other Black scholars who face similar and lesser-known plights in sociology and beyond, and we support them, too. We will not be bullied away from doing research and teaching about Black lives.

Hence, we call on all persons, departments, institutions, organizations, and elected officials who identify as allies and championed “Black Lives Matter” sentiments in 2020, to substantively push back and disallow flagrant discriminatory accusations and behaviors that scrutinize, denigrate, and aim to destroy Black lives and the quality thereof in the name of free speech.

As ABS, we are here for our membership and for Black sociologists who need backing and encouragement. We may not have fancy lawyers or deep pockets, but we have a strong network of scholars and practitioners who have fought many battles against anti-Black racism.

We stand in solidarity and struggle with you.

– The Executive Committee of the Association of Black Sociologists


[i] See Collins, Patricia Hill. 1990. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Routledge.; Crenshaw, Kimberle. 1991. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review 43. 1241-1299.

[ii] See Bailey, Moya. 2010. “They aren’t talking about me…” The Crunk Feminist Collective. https://www.crunkfeministcollective.com/2010/03/14/they-arent-talking-about-me/

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