What We Believe
Anthropologists are almost uniquely capable of and trained to understand and appreciate the complexity of the context of human views, behavior, and culture. We have used our preparation to study and address myriad societal issues that have defied other disciplines’ attempts to change their course. The persistent and pervasive inequities that face Black people in the U.S and elsewhere, require that anthropologists focus their skills and energies on effecting change whether as principals and participants or as allies. It is insufficient to have a time-limited campaign; our focus must continue and be woven into the ways that we function and focus as an organization and as individuals in our work. We must not lose focus on the centrality and significance of Being Black as we propose means and methods to change the cultures that support and enable systemic racism. As professional, practicing, and applied (PPA) anthropologists, it is not enough to study systemic racist systems and actions, we must integrate the confrontation of racism into our lives and our work and hold ourselves accountable for both action and inaction.
Working to make change in the world demands that both systems and individuals change. We must ask, as individuals and as a discipline with a colonial legacy that perpetuated racism, how we benefit from systemic racism. Acknowledging that we are embedded and a part of inherently racist systems in every aspect of life, and learning ways to make change, we must challenge ourselves and others to actively work to be an ally and to help to ensure that Black Lives Matter in the world.
As an organization that serves the community of PPA anthropologists within the discipline of anthropology, NAPA must ask how we can be an instrument of change in addressing both systemic racism and the downstream effects. We must also ask how we can be allies in ways that are respectful of the centrality of Black voices, views, and values. And we must commit that our anthropological praxis will support critical cultural change.
BLM Ad Hoc Committee
David Himmelgreen, NAPA President
Cathleen Crain, NAPA President-Elect
Jacqueline Cortez, BLM Ad Hoc Committee Chair
Zelda Harrison, NAPA Board Member
Wendy Hathaway, NAPA Volunteer Coordinator
Betselot Wondimu, NAPA Student Representative
Suzette Chang, NAPA Member