BA WMN Statement of Solidarity & Commitment to Action
The Biological Anthropology Women’s Mentoring Network (BA WMN) supports and seconds the statements and calls to anti-racist action issued by the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and the Association of Black Anthropologists. As biological anthropologists, we must educate ourselves on the racist history of our discipline, and acknowledge we still have a long way to go as a field to ensure all voices within our discipline are welcomed, heard, and valued equally. The BA WMN leadership who have signed this statement are committing to doing more as a collective and as individuals to promote and amplify the work of our Black colleagues. To start, we have listed some resources below on how to effect change in our everyday life, our teaching, and our research, particularly for those of us who are not people of color. We will work towards programming that provides venues for all of us to discuss systemic inequalities in our field and to amplify the work of Black women. We welcome your suggestions for how to keep this conversation going, and if anyone wants to get more involved in BA WMN in some way, please let us know.
- For lots of easily accessible (online, not paywalled) resources to educate ourselves on the experience and racism experienced by Black people in academic spaces, please see this post by Jasmine Roberts, this thread by Mya Robertson, and the website of Academics for Black Survival and Wellness.
- Do a search on Twitter (you don’t need an account to do this) for the hashtag #BlackintheIvory and reflect on what you see. Keep in mind that there are thousands more stories and examples like those you see – but many people, especially students and those in precarious positions, do not feel safe enough to share them.
- #CiteBlackWomen, particularly those in anthropology. For a running list of Black biological anthropologists (of all genders) and their publications, please see this document assembled by Tisa Loewen. If you are a Black scholar and you want your work to be included in that list, please contact Tisa directly. If you’re not, read the list regularly, keep an eye for updates, and, most importantly, cite Black scholars’ work and include it in your syllabi! A bibliography can be found here, and a decolonize primatology reading list by Michelle Rodrigues can be found here.
- If you can, check out the June 2019 Vital Topics Forum in American Anthropologist for works on diversity writ large in biological anthropology (note: this is paywalled).
- For an example of simple exercises we can do in our classes to start engaging with race and racism check out this post by Holly Dunsworth and this article by Amelia Hubbard.
- As one way to do more to nurture undergraduates of color for careers in biological anthropology, consider creating an explicitly anti-racist lab statement on diversity and inclusion – such as this one from the Ungar Lab at the University of Arkansas.
- If you are doing fieldwork, particularly outside of developed, Western countries and the global North, this Twitter thread by Kathryn Ranhorn lists actionable items you should do when developing/maintaining field projects.
- For a guide on how to prepare for a visit to an African country in a professional capacity (which can also extend to anyone from the global North preparing to visit a country in the global South in a professional capacity), please see this article by Keguro Macharia.
- For anti-racism resources more broadly (i.e., not specific to biological anthropology), please see here. For an anti-racism reading list by Ibram X. Kendi please see here. For suggested books on Black lives and experiences in the US, please click here.
- If you are able to do so, consider donating to some of the many organizations and funds set up to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
- Support Black-owned businesses, especially those local to you.
BA WMN Steering Committee Co-Chairs
BA WMN Steering Committee Members
Kathryn Grow Allen
Kris Fire Kovarovic