The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) stands against state-sanctioned anti-Black violence and racism, and in solidarity with protestors around the world who seek justice. We also call for action against systemic and structural racism in the U.S. broadly and in our local communities. As teachers, researchers, and writers, we are committed to educating ourselves and others about anti-racist pedagogy and self-work, and to providing resources for students, faculty, staff, and the larger community to engage in a movement for change. Such change seeks to recognize and celebrate the personhood of each and every member of our local and global communities.


The Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures (WRAC) will:

  • Continue supporting, funding, and expanding our anti-racist pedagogy workshops series (led by two PhD students, Eve Cuevas and Nick Sanders).
  • Engage and extend conversations of state-sanctioned violence.
  • Continue to engage in shared readings and conversations about race, racism, and pedagogy (2019-2020 selections included la paperson’s (2017) A Third University is Possible; Ijeoma Oluo’s (2018) So You Want to Talk about Race; and Howard Stevenson’s (2014) Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences that Make a Difference.
  • Establish a speaker series on race and rhetoric, ideally a cross-disciplinary, cross-college series. 


Below, we include a very, very, very short list of statements, organizations, resources, and readings. We will continue to share and repost materials on our department social media.


“State-sanctioned violence” refers to overlapping laws, cultural norms, and stereotypes that create the conditions for police violence, overincarceration, environmental injustice, and withholding of medical care for poor people, all of which disproportionately affects Black people in the US. As scholars and educators, we in WRAC offer the following resources to start discussion of state-sanctioned violence (note that this list is evolving): Mapping Police Violence: https://mappingpoliceviolence.org

Davis, Charles H.F. III, & McGuire, Keon M. (2019). Killing us softly: Navigating state and state-sanctioned violence against Black men’s humanity. National Center for Institutional Diversity.


Herrerros, Francisco. (2006). “The full weight of the state”: The logic of random state-sanctioned violence. Journal of Peace Research, 42 (6), 671-689. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27640418?seq=1 (note: access through university library)

Milekhina, Maria. (2019, April 26). Understanding US prisons as state-sanctioned, discriminatory torture. Berkeley Political Review. https://bpr.berkeley.edu/2019/04/26/understanding-us-prisons-as-state-sanctioned-discriminatory-torture/

Reichel, Chloe. (2018, September 24). Toxic waste sites and environmental justice: Research roundup. Journalist’s Resource. https://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/superfund-toxic-waste-race-research/

University of Chicago Law School Global Human Rights Clinic. (2020). Deadly discretion: The failure of police use of force policies to meet fundamental international human rights law and standards. Global Human Rights Clinic. https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/ihrc/14; for an overview, see Pilkington, Ed,  “‘State-sanctioned violence’: US police fail to meet basic human rights standards” (The Guardian): https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/22/us-police-human-rights-standards-report



ATTW President’s Call to Action to Redress Anti-Blackness and White Supremacy: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SlewDtMX41u6hjo1Xydp3D-gNy1anUJ9kCinRCH0li4/edit?fbclid=IwAR2Lov7IDkv2nKkS-X3bTXI0Mxu3V1mr4o8-WDvgKZ8HrFwKD8WWtCVCmvk 

Natasha N. Jones and Miriam F. Williams (ATTW), “The Just Use of Imagination: A Call to Action”: https://attw.org/publications/the-just-use-of-imagination-a-call-to-action/

NCTE Presidential Team. (2020, June 1): NCTE Takes a Stance Against Racism. Available at: https://ncte.org/blog/2020/06/ncte-takes-stance-racism/



Black Lives Matter: https://blacklivesmatter.com/

Movement for Black Lives: https://m4bl.org

The Okra Project: https://www.theokraproject.com/

Black Trans Travel Fund: https://www.blacktranstravelfund.com/donate


MSU’s College of Arts & Letters Culture of Care. Available at: http://www.cal.msu.edu/about/culture-of-care 

MSU Resources from the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. Available at: https://inclusion.msu.edu/campus-resources/index.html   

Obama Foundation. (2020). Anguish and action. Available at: https://www.obama.org/anguish-and-action 

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. (2019). New era of public safety: An advocacy toolkit for fair, safe, and effective community policing. Available at https://www.obama.org/wp-content/uploads/Toolkit.pdf 

National Museum of African American History & Culture. Being antiracist. Available at: https://nmaahc.si.edu/learn/talking-about-race/topics/being-antiracist 

diAngelo, Robin. (2019, January). On anti-Blackness. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwpyoqJcmeI

diAngelo, Robin. (2019, January 16). White people assume niceness is the answer to racial inequality. It’s not. The Guardian. Available at:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/16/racial-inequality-niceness-white-people#maincontent 

Institutionalized Racism: A Syllabus. Available at: https://daily.jstor.org/institutionalized-racism-a-syllabus/?fbclid=IwAR0zJRD5BTThTtqHsZiND38GAz0ZAt2UlT5ohXdK1lXabcYLnRjpNPkuVgc 

Solly, Meilan. (2020, June 4). 158 resources to understand racism in America. Smithsonian Magazine. Available at: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/158-resources-understanding-systemic-racism-america-180975029/?fbclid=IwAR2xuewTuccAmk9m2OvweA5LV_sJyD1S2YuHMoHM_w56iFpiiKSyzgaLWSY 

Michigan League for Public Policy. 21-day racial equity challenge. Available at: https://mlpp.org/21-day-racial-equity-challenge/ 


Obama, Barack. (2020, June 1). How to make this moment the turning point for real change. Available at: https://medium.com/@BarackObama/how-to-make-this-moment-the-turning-point-for-real-change-9fa209806067 

Duke University Press. (2019, November 7). Racial justice syllabus. Available at: https://www.dukeupress.edu/Explore-Subjects/Syllabi/Racial-Justice-Syllabus 

Hutcherson, Lori Lakin. (2017, September 8). My white friend asked me on Facebook to explain white privilege. I decided to be honest. Yes! Magazine. Available at: https://www.yesmagazine.org/opinion/2017/09/08/my-white-friend-asked-me-on-facebook-to-explain-white-privilege-i-decided-to-be-honest/?fbclid=IwAR3uenBKKT4lI8L6eb1wSMYU1u7JeW955zd_q4iJth0cq4Iu-xRmrMYLS-w 

Ramos, Santos F. (2016). Building a culture of solidarity: Racial discourse, Black Lives Matter, and Indigenous social justice. Enculturation. Available at: http://enculturation.net/building-a-culture-of-solidarity?fbclid=IwAR02hnjJ0iTvkuEdtPW9EJzW26gOhckxawyMT_8hB_cTH3qXbJiIkDmkY4M 

Rebolini, Arianna. (2020, May 29). An essential reading guide for fighting racism. Available at: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ariannarebolini/george-floyd-amy-cooper-antiracist-books-reading-resources

Watson, Dyan; Hagopian, Jesse; & Au, Wayne. (Eds.). (2018). Teaching for Black lives. Information and introduction available at: https://www.teachingforblacklives.org/

Wing, Kelisa. (2020, May 29). Teachers must hold themselves accountable for dismantling racial oppression. Education Post. Available at: https://educationpost.org/teachers-must-hold-themselves-accountable-for-dismantling-racial-oppression/