by Curtis Dozier, Director of Pharos
The murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020 brought national attention to the Movement for Black Lives and its demand for justice for Black people in the United States. However, as most people of color already knew, Floyd’s murder was no isolated incident: 164 Black people were killed by police in the United States in the first eight months of 2020 alone. And police brutality without accountability is only one example of our white supremacist social order, which also perpetuates, for example, racial disparities in wealth and life-expectancy.
In a society so riven with anti-Black policies and structures, everyone has an obligation to resist. This obligation extends to our work as teachers of Classics. Writing in reaction to Floyd’s murder, Pria Jackson wrote in Eidolon that “White Classicists MUST resist and do the work. Every. Single. Day. To unlearn white supremacy in themselves, to unwrite the white supremacist narratives they discover, and to unteach the white supremacist ideologies they will invariably discover in students who approach Classics as a white history.” Her essay is a must-read for its articulation of the complicity of Classics and white supremacy, for its insistence on the fact that “white supremacy is already in your classroom,” and its diagnosis of the refusal of many white Classicists to acknowledge both. Read More→