As we contend with the stark reality of the racial inequities being laid bare and exacerbated by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, coupled with regular incidents of anti-Black racism and police brutality, including the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and Ahmaud Arbery, we, the members of the Yale Department of Psychology, must speak up and take action. The Yale Department of Psychology denounces these and any number of other acts of violence enacted, and often seemingly sanctioned, by elected officials and government actors. We acknowledge that these events are just one manifestation of the racism that undermines the health, wealth, and well-being of people from minoritized racial and/or ethnic backgrounds, notably Black, Indigenous, and Latinx peoples. As members of a renowned psychology department, we must also recognize the ways in which systemic racism affects not only how members of our department are treated, but also the demographic makeup of our community in the first place. Further, we must acknowledge that our very field and department participated in the production and dissemination of research designed to forward narratives of Black inferiority and used, if not intended, to justify the exploitation of Black and other minoritized people. Our department’s participation in the scientific racism that has served to justify and maintain white supremacy and our nation’s racial hierarchy makes it all the more incumbent on us to act now. We must develop and implement anti-racist practices and policies to govern all aspects of our work as educators, students, scholars, and members of this community. If we are committed to fostering an equitable, just, and inclusive environment for all members of our community, we must do our part to eradicate white supremacy and racism.
It is for this purpose that our department recently formed a Committee on Racial Equity and Justice (CREJ). The committee’s aim is to investigate and propose solutions to systemic racial inequities in the resources, opportunities, and felt climate afforded to and by members of the psychology department and the broader community. Our ultimate goal is to eradicate these inequities. The committee is beginning the important work of fostering anti-racism in our department’s policies and practices, so as to engender a more equitable and just community. Please see here for more details on this committee.
The Committee on Racial Equity and Justice works alongside the student-led Psychology Department Committee for Diversity and Inclusiveness, which continues to work to create “a diverse and inclusive departmental environment for faculty, students, and staff” and to “discuss how the department can express its commitment to diversity (including but not limited to issues of gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and SES).” (link to website: https://psychology.yale.edu/diversity/about-psychology-department-committee-diversity-and-inclusiveness