National Conference of Black Political Scientists Condemns the Wave of Racism and Nativism

Sekou Franklin, President
Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, President-Elect
Kathie Stromile Golden, Executive Director

July 24, 2019—As an organization dedicated to racial justice, dignity, and liberation, the National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) condemns the wave of racism, bigotry, and nativism of the past few months as evidenced by:

  • The burning of a building at the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, a movement center for civil rights, labor and social justice activists since the 1930s. After the fire, investigators found a “white power” symbol painted on the site of the training center.
  • The burning of three black churches in Louisiana in March, which are being investigated as hate crimes.
  • Toxic statements by President Donald Trump and his supporters against Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, telling them to go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came” and to “send them back.” These attacks are eerily similar to those made by racial segregationists against civil rights activists.
  • Trump’s child detention policy that imprisons children and their parents in inhumane conditions.
  • A policy proposal by the Trump administration to restrict legal entry and requests for asylum of people who presumably will overstay their visas. If implemented, the policy would adversely impact people from African and Caribbean countries.
  • Racist, sexist, and homophobic social media posts by law enforcement officials and border patrol agents that were revealed in investigative reports by ProPublica and the Plain View Project.
  • A state proclamation signed by Tennessee’s Governor, Bill Lee, declaring July 13th Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. Forrest, a confederate general who massacred hundreds of surrendering black soldiers at Fort Pillow in 1864, became the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War.
  • The Department of Justice’s refusal to prosecute the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in 2014.
  • Inaction by Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, on voting rights protections and attacks on voting rights by state lawmakers in Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi, which have sparked lawsuits by civil rights organizations. In the context of an ambiguous decision by the Supreme Court on redistricting in Summer 2019, equal access to the ballot is left to the bad faith of local and state partisan officials.
  • The Trump administration’s attempt to change the U.S. Census procedure to diminish the count of racial and non-English speaking minorities.

These are not isolated incidences or anomalies. They are fueled by white racial resentment and embedded in United States institutions, society, and culture. The Trump presidency is also foregrounding racial resentment and leveraging political institutions to achieve his objective, perhaps, to polarize the electorate in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election.

NCOBPS stands against racism, nativism, and bigotry. We are committed to championing racial justice and equity-based agendas in our academic institutions and intellectual circles. We also call upon colleges and universities to create safe spaces for students, faculty, and administrators to address the trauma caused by these and other racists actions and behaviors, as well as the institutionalized practices of ongoing systemic racism.