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Statement of Solidarity

March 1, 2015

Dear Carolina Community,

We, the undersigned, are faculty in the Department of Anthropology at UNC Chapel Hill who would like to voice our strong support for the efforts of the Real Silent Sam Coalition. This growing movement seeks to confront the racist histories of  the memorials commemorating white supremacy on campus. We believe it is morally reprehensible that racist monuments and building names are currently taken for granted as an acceptable part of the infrastructure. Specifically we support the Coalition’s demands to mark the statue of Silent Sam with a plaque explaining how it commemorates a history of white supremacy; to provide all incoming first-year students with educational material addressing the history of racialized violence on campus; and to rename Saunders Hall. As members of the academic discipline of Anthropology, which has a long and complex history of ignoring, justifying, and challenging white privilege, we feel particularly committed to these efforts.

These efforts to address both ongoing and memorialized racial violence on campus  give UNC-Chapel Hill an opportunity to lead the South, and universities across the nation, in the battle to shift how racial inequality is silently commemorated on college campuses and in public spaces. This movement, and the important discussions it is generating, is vital to creating a diverse and safe community here at Chapel Hill and in the academy at large.

In solidarity,

  • Florence Babb, Harrington Distinguished Professor
  • Jocelyn Chua, Assistant Professor
  • Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, Chair and Professor
  • Jean Dennison, Assistant Professor
  • Arturo Escobar, Kenan Distinguished Professor
  • Glenn Hinson, Associate Professor
  • Towns Middleton, Assistant Professor
  • Christopher Nelson, Associate Professor
  • Michele Rivkin-Fish, Associate Professor
  • Margaret Wiener, Associate Professor
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