Black Lives Matter Statement

Given the ongoing, tragic killings of unarmed black and brown men and women, and the missions of the Department, College, and University, the Philosophy Department feels compelled to act in solidarity with those who are targets of this violence.  We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement

 The Philosophy Department stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.  In so doing we are engaging our mission to create “inclusive and equitable spaces wherever students, staff, and faculty gather to interact.”  Additionally, taking this position directly supports the mission of the College of Arts & Sciences, namely, to “improve life in the Commonwealth and particularly in the greater Louisville urban area.”  Our solidarity with Black Lives Matter also contributes to the University of Louisville’s mission of becoming a “model metropolitan university, integrating academic excellence and research strength with civic engagement to transform Kentucky.”  And it also contributes to the University’s goal of “foster[ing] and sustain[ing] an environment of inclusiveness, free of prejudice and bias, empowering all we touch to achieve their highest potential,” where “education is the key to changing society [and building] a more tolerant, inclusive society.”

The long history of systemic oppression, stereotyping, and stigmatization of black and brown people in the U.S. have created two worlds: one of privilege and advantage and another of oppression, discrimination, and violence.  These two worlds set the context of who is seen as a criminal and who is not, who is seen as a threat and who is not, and who’s life is valued and who’s is not.  The differential valuing of life based on which racialized group one is thought to be a member of is manifestly unjust and generates the insistence that, yes, black lives matter.  Black lives do matter, and our collective practices, discourses, policies, and laws must reflect this.  Saying that black lives matter does not claim or entail that other lives do not also matter; what it does accomplish is to directly confront the devaluing of black and brown lives in present practices, discourses, policies, and laws.  For these reasons, the Philosophy Department believes that black lives matter, and we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.  We also are committed to taking further steps to engage the campus community in dialogue around this essential movement. 

September 26, 2016

[Image featured on website is taken from Tony Webster's Flickr site -- Creative Commons License]