Pitt German Department Statement on Recent Events

The German Department at the University of Pittsburgh mourns and condemns the senseless loss of life of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, and untold others like them. We unequivocally condemn police brutality. We acknowledge the deep pain and destruction caused by slavery, racism, genocide, antisemitism, xenophobia, and many other forms of discriminatory practices that saturate the history of the country in which we live, as well as the countries that we research and teach about.

As educators and scholars in a predominantly white department, we recognize that it is essential to listen, learn, and involve ourselves in anti-racist action. We openly recommit ourselves to the shared values of equity, diversity and inclusion. We invite our students, colleagues, alumni, and members of our community to join us as we work to educate ourselves and those around us about explicit and implicit racial bias, the weaponization of whiteness, and the insidiousness of white privilege that kills African Americans today, as it has done for centuries. For years now, German Studies has exposed the historical burden of antisemitism, toxic patriarchy, colonialism, racism, and xenophobia in the German-speaking world, and it has initiated critical reflections on similarly dangerous and destabilizing forces in the United States and elsewhere.

We demand accountability and justice from our political leaders and appeal for systemic change, starting within our institutions and local communities.