Black Lives Matter Statement
The Department of Philosophy stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
We are part of a society where the lives of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color continue to be blighted by structural racism, lack of opportunity, health disparities, and direct violence by agents of the state and others. Universities, including our own, have for too long been complacent or complicit.
The University of Louisville Philosophy Department hereby reaffirms its longstanding commitment, and pledges more fully, to act in solidarity with those who are targets of this violence and inequity.
Affirming that Black lives matter engages with our Departmental mission of “recognizing the value and importance of diversity,” and recommits us to creating “inclusive and equitable spaces wherever students, staff, and faculty gather to interact.”
In reaffirming this commitment, the Philosophy Department recognizes that the ongoing history of oppression occurs not just in police departments, eviction courts, legislatures, banks, and hospitals, but in academia – and especially in the philosophical tradition that we inherit. For too long, and in too many ways, we have been both complacent about and complicit in the erasure of intellectual and cultural contributions by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color as well as women, and in whitewashing the racism that too often pervades the contributions of white philosophers and the sexism that is evident in the works of male philosophers.
We therefore pledge the following concrete actions to embody our affirmation that Black Lives – and Black Minds – Matter.
- We will include the contributions of nonwhite and non-male philosophers, and non-Eurocentric philosophical traditions, in the curriculum, both through offering courses dedicated to these and by integrating them into every course we offer.
- We will not whitewash racism, sexism, or other forms of bias within the work of the philosophers we study.
- We will strengthen and expand our curricular programs focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly within the major and minor, the Health Care Ethics program, and the Diversity Literacy program.
- We will dedicate departmental resources to the planning and promotion of extra-curricular opportunities that foster all of our students’ understanding of oppression and of the contributions of philosophers from underrepresented groups.
Research and Creative Activity:
- We will cite and amplify the voices of Black philosophers and those from other historically underrepresented groups.
Service and Administration:
- We will prioritize the recruitment, hiring, mentoring, and promotion of Black philosophers and philosophers from other underrepresented groups.
- In our service to the profession, we will foster and amplify the contributions and perspectives of Black philosophers and philosophers from other underrepresented groups, and promote widespread discussion of issues of particular concern among such philosophers.
- We will seek guidance from and assessment by dedicated campus and professional organizations to audit our department for these purposes, we will publish such audits, and we will be openly and publicly accountable for continual improvement in these respects.
The differential valuing of life, of achievement, of opportunity, and of intellectual and cultural contributions based on which racialized group one is thought to be a member of is manifestly unjust. It compels us to repeat, internalize, and act upon the affirmation that Black lives matter. Black lives do matter, and our collective practices, discourses, policies, and laws must reflect this. Black lives matter for the same reason that everyone’s life matters; yet we are compelled to affirm that Black lives matter precisely because institutions, practices, laws, and behaviors have so long denied it.
Reaffirming this commitment at this time flows from our mission “to be a resource on important conceptual, ethical, and broadly philosophical issues for the citizens of Louisville and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.” We are committed to taking further steps to engage the campus and community in dialogue and action to realize a world in which “Black lives matter” does not even need to be a battle cry because it is a simple description of how we all live.
Until that world is achieved, we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
Adopted September 26, 2016
Revised June 12, 2020