Statement on Racism and Recent Violence

Department of Psychology

June 2, 2020

Dear students and colleagues:

We recognize that our Black and African American students, faculty colleagues, staff, friends, families, and neighbors may be experiencing trauma and harm from the recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Tony McDade, and the official responses, or lack thereof. We see what is happening and support you in your grief, anger, and weariness. We recognize that recent events are just that – the most recent manifestations in a long history of white supremacy, inequality and oppression of communities of color. As psychologists, we know our discipline can help illuminate the individual, ecological, and structural contributors to racism, violence, and oppression as well as their direct and indirect impact on disparities in development, health, and well-being. Psychology can also offer insight into effective and ineffective strategies for intervention and change. However, we simultaneously recognize that our discipline has a history of contributing to injustice and trauma, foregrounding the perspectives of the powerful at the expense of others, and failing to act. Indeed, in Dr. King’s address to the American Psychological Association Convention in 1967 entitled “The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement,” he exhorted psychologists to engage with and in the movement, noting that as a society we must always be “maladjusted” to racial discrimination, religious bigotry, and economic inequality. 

As a university community, a department, and as individuals we must reflect on our own positionality and the ways that we collectively and individually contribute to racism and oppression by our actions and inactions. We commit to examining on our own teaching and research to 


Psychology Faculty