Statement on Black Lives Matter, June 2020

Black Lives Matter

We, the current editorial team of Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies (COPAS), strongly condemn the latest racist killings of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, as well as the unceasing murders of Black people that have taken place at the hands of white vigilantes and police. We would like to express our deepest condolences to the victims’ families, friends, and loved ones. We want to express our solidarity with Black protesters in the United States, Europe, and beyond as well as with our Black colleagues, friends, and community members.

More than anything, the latest deaths of Black people in the US once again highlight antiblackness and white supremacy as pervasive formations that comprise institutional, political, economic, social, symbolic, physical, affective, embodied, and epistemic structures. White supremacy and its intersecting forces of ableism, classism, and hetero-patriarchy enable, maintain, and naturalize oppression and dominance, which unfold from the violent making of America as colonial modernity and persist until today. Central reference points of white supremacy, such as the histories of settler colonialism, genocide, and enslavement, may appear to lie in the American past, but their afterlives and legacies continue to contain and undercut liberatory movements of minoritized populations of color, in particular of black people, till this day.

Antiblackness and antiblack actions and thinking, though often unacknowledged, are daily rehearsed on the symbolic and structural level in order to maintain hegemony—from schools, universities, prisons, ICE detention centers, and health care providers to political arenas and various media outlets. The latest events shine a light  on antiblack violence against trans* and cis children, men, and women in the United States—violence that is inflicted routinely and often quotidian. These events also forcefully remind us of the global dimensions of antiblackness, from the deaths and struggles of refugees worldwide, the Black Mediterranean, to racial profiling. In Germany, antiblack violence, racism, and structural discrimination are deeply imbricated in all folds of society, rooted in Germany’s colonial history as well as its Nazi past and neo-fascist present.

When nationalist-populist and outright racist political powers undergo a renaissance in North America and Europe—far beyond the chant of ‘make America great again’—it is our duty and ethical responsibility to express unflinching global solidarity with those subjected to antiblack racism and violence. Both as emerging scholars in German American Studies and as individuals, we must continue to fight against antiblackness and normalized oppression as well as any injustice against minoritized members of society. These events have and are taking place amidst a global pandemic, which leaves those structurally discriminated even more disadvantaged and at physical risk, hitting their communities the hardest.

To show continued solidarity and help dismantle systemic violence, please consider donating—if you can—to the families of the victims and US bail funds as well as US-American and German organizations, such as the ones listed below.

In solidarity, and in struggle,
Cedric Essi, Paula von Gleich, Stephen Koetzing, Samira Spatzek, and Gesine Wegner



US-American Organizations

German Organizations