ASA Statement of Concern about Censorship of Educational Material Pertaining to Racial Inequality February 17, 2016

The Executive Committee of the American Studies Association (ASA) deplores the apparent decision of the Board of Education in Henrico County, Virginia to ban the valuable short video Unequal Opportunity Race. We express our support for the joint statement of the African American Policy Forum, which created the video, and the National Association for Ethnic Studies confronting this act of censorship. That statement is found here The video, shown by Virginia Commonwealth University Professor Ravi K. Perry as an invited guest at Henrico County’s Glen Allen High School, has contributed to productive debates in classrooms since 2010. Nevertheless Henrico County has capitulated to a conservative campaign to falsely brand the grounded discussion of structural racism in Unequal Opportunity Race as illegitimately playing upon white guilt. The facts of past and present impacts of racist practices cannot be placed beyond the limits of permissible discussion in our classrooms. As an organization of 5000 educators, including K-12 teachers, studying the United States, the ASA encourages the Board of Education in Henrico County to make clear that it will not prevent the showing of Unequal Opportunity Race.

Executive Committee of the American Studies Association

President: David Roediger, University of Kansas
President-elect: Robert Warrior, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Immediate Past President: Lisa Duggan, New York University
Councilor: Jodi Byrd, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Councilor: Christina Hanhardt, University of Maryland, College Park
Councilor: Sharon Holland, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Past Presidents of the American Studies Association

Kevin K. Gaines, 2009-2010
Ruth Wilson Gilmore, 2010-2011
Priscilla Wald, 2011-2012
Matthew Frye Jacobson, 2012-2013
Curtis Marez, 2013-2014