UNM Sociology Condemns Systemic Racism

Departmental News

Posted: Jun 04, 2020 - 11:00am

We, the sociology and criminology faculty of the University of New Mexico, express our sadness and outrage at George Floyd’s abhorrent murder by Minneapolis police officers. Tragic in its own right, we recognize that Floyd’s death is only the most recent incident of systemic, state-sanctioned racism, which dehumanizes and criminalizes Black people and justifies violence against them.  

Eighty years ago, sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois vividly conveyed the separate and unequal worlds wrought by American racism. He explained that White Americans do not comprehend how racism imprisons and “entombs” Black people, and that even when confronted by it, the “passing [White] throng does not even turn its head, or if it does, glances curiously and walks on.”* Unfortunately, Du Bois’s description still applies to our present moment, when cries of injustice are too often unheard—or else willfully ignored or intentionally twisted.

To our Black students and colleagues: we hear you.

Black communities have long been forced to bear atrocities and endure daily indignities; they have done so with steadfast poise. We acknowledge and understand their grief and rage. We respect the right of protest and reject the disingenuous trap laid by calls for civility. Condemning racial oppression, we stand in solidarity and affirm that Black Lives Matter.

As faculty, we are committed to fighting racial injustice through our research, teaching, and personal activism. Too often, racism has been reinforced by complicities of silence, intentional ignorance, and even outright dismissals by academic scholars. We are determined to overcome this troubling legacy. Many of us have dedicated our careers to documenting and revealing the realities of anti-Black racism.  We will continue to do so with the fierce urgency that this moment demands of us.

The pernicious hold racism has on American culture and politics can bring us to despair and reminds us of the steep challenges that lay ahead. At the same time, we look to the tenacity of Black communities and Black-led justice movements in their strivings toward racial justice. We join in the difficult struggle.


As educators, it is our role to teach about the enduring system of anti-black racial oppression in the United States. Toward this end, we have accumulated some scholarly works that speak to this topic.


Read a statement from the American Sociological Association.


* From p. 650, W.E.B. Du Bois. 1986 [1940]. Dusk of Dawn, pp. 549-802 in Du Bois: Writings, edited by Nathan Huggins. New York: The Library of America.