SSN Commentary

Black Studies Needed Now More Than Ever

Policy field

Connect with the author

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Originally published as "Black Studies Needed Now More Than Ever," The Cap Times, July 5, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Black communities disproportionately more than white communities and police brutality has caused mass mobilization all around the world. We must affirm the centrality, importance, relevance, and need for Black studies programs and departments at colleges and universities. Unfortunately, there is a prescribed cycle of demands for justice: a case of violence or inequality occurs; resulting mobilization; institutions are pressured; those institutions issue statements, and in the end everything slowly returns to an uncomfortable "normal." Not anymore.

Like any health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic does not spread in a vacuum. It occurs within structures of social inequalities, including gender, race and social class. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Black organizations and intellectuals have highlighted the disproportionate number of Black deaths and demanded equity policies.