Do you then wonder why America as a leader among nations in the world cannot command more respect among common people who make up the majority of citizens of the world? Her inner corruption cannot long persist without backfiring.
Dear Antiochians and Friends,
I want to begin by acknowledging the severe pain, trauma and hopelessness that has been triggered by the public murder of George Floyd, especially for the Black students, faculty, staff and alumni members of our community.
Over the past days I have read many of the statements from college and university presidents. I do not doubt their sincerity or their intentions. But I cannot bring myself to tell you that Antioch College, no matter its values and progressive views, is without complicity. Whatever our intentions, those among us who have benefited from white (and often male) privilege, must now declare our positions without hesitation or qualification: anti- racist or racist.
Coretta Scott King ’51 loved Antioch College. Mostly.
The fact is that when she was enrolled from 1945 – 1951, she was among only a handful of Black students and while she benefited educationally from many great teachers, her favorite professor, Walter Anderson, was the only Black member of the faculty.
At Antioch then and in the surrounding communities, Coretta Scott as a Black woman experienced racism in subtle and blatant forms from individuals and institutions, including the College. Read her own words with clear eyes.
The awful death suffered by George Floyd last week has—once again—exposed to the entire world the “inner corruption” that deeply infects our country and its citizenry in the form of racism and injustice. The fury and outrage we hear coming from American cities and communities nearly everywhere is the sound of the backfire promised by Coretta.
So when we commit now to standing in solidarity with a movement to end racism and to honor the memory of those who have had to sacrifice their most precious lives, let us do it because our conscience—not our safety, vanity or sense of expediency—tell us do the right thing.
Now is the time to look inside ourselves and at our own individual and institutional actions to end racism. We cannot accept the “few bad apples” explanations being offered yet again as a way of muffling the truth. To serve justice finally, an unambiguous and sustained resolve will be required from each of us and from each of our institutions.
The campus community is continuing to come together in discussion—including Community Meeting this afternoon—to grapple with the hard work ahead.