Throughout modern history, the emergence of movements making powerful demands for justice have opened up the possibility for profound social transformations. The members of the Department of Asian Studies recognize the sweeping protests that have arisen in the wake of recent murders by police of unarmed Black persons as constituting such a moment. In this spirit, we wish to express our affirmation of, and support for, Black Lives Matter and its allies in their quest for redress for injuries perpetuated by systemic racism. For too long, we have failed to acknowledge both the blatant, and also subtle, violences that have been the legacies of American slavery, the genocide of Indigenous peoples, and exclusionary practices and illegal internments of Asian migrants and their descendants. Complicity with this disavowal at every level of our institutions, including those of higher education, belie the principles of democracy to which we believe our society aspires. Indeed, in this historic time of reflection on the origins of modern national cultures, we believe we as scholars must undertake far-reaching examination of how our very critical concepts, not only of "race," but of "racism" itself, may yet perpetuate implicit bias. We therefore urge Cornell University, in the coming year, to encourage and promote extensive reflection on these matters and how they may be addressed in our teaching and research, in hiring, promotion, and admissions, and in transforming the cultural and social life of the university as a whole. And as a Department, we commit to redressing the ways implicit bias and structural violence unevenly affect graduate students' disciplinary training, professionalization, and security.
A Statement from the Department of Asian Studies 2020
August 14, 2020