We began as a Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Gerontology and Social Work in 1990. Much has changed since, as our faculty now includes seven tenured/tenure-track professors, three senior lecturers, and several temporary lecturers. We are a group of physical and social scientists collectively in agreement with the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Statement on the Teaching of Evolution, and the American Anthropological Association's Statement on Evolution and Creationism. We support Pope Francis' view that acceptance of the Big Bang theory and Evolution does not contradict belief in a higher spiritual power. We accept (and teach) the roles that biological evolution has had in shaping our species.
We also accept the American Association of Physical Anthropologists' Code of Ethics and the American Association of University Professors' Sexual Harassment Policy. We pledge to respect each other, our students, and the people, animals, and places we study.
While our nation reflects on the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Freddie Gray, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others, we are saddened by the pattern of violence in which countless individuals have suffered trauma, injury, and death as targeted victims of discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. As a Department, we state plainly: Black Lives Matter. We know that racial injustice exists, and that black, brown, and indigenous lives are disproportionately affected not only by acts of violence, but also by larger systemic problems and challenges.
We believe that efforts in support of equity cannot be limited to the context of the United States, but instead must work within that context and outside of it where people face disproportionate discrimination, risk, and violence. We also recognize that these efforts must be intersectional and consider how women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups are affected by injustice.
The Department of Anthropology at Baylor University stands in opposition to overt, covert, and systemic racism and discrimination. We acknowledge that these forms of injustice remain a critical concern and impediment to social, economic, and other forms of progress. Therefore, we commit not only to state that Black Lives Matter, but also to develop concrete measures to promote inclusiveness of all individuals. We will listen, support, share, and develop tools to take action, because anti-racism is not a passive belief system, but a participatory endeavor. We pledge to work within our Department and institution to develop a plan of action to achieve anti-racism and anti-discriminatory goals.
We shall actively seek diversity when recruiting, retaining, and collaborating with students, scholars, and practitioners. We will strive to promote inclusive and cooperative student and colleague mentorships, teaching, research, writing, and citation practices. We shall work with our partners in academia and the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to support the training and work of diverse students, scholars, and practitioners. Furthermore, we will develop racially inclusive strategies for promoting equality and diverse voices in panels, dialogs, committees, and publications.
We aim to speak out against inequality and to promote equity at the level of our discipline. Therefore, when misinformation about race is distributed in the public domain under the guise of science, we pledge to correct inaccurate representations to provide a better understanding of human biological variation. We believe it is our duty to share factual information with other disciplines and to the general public in a concerted effort to avoid repeating and reinforcing the mistakes of the past.
Our department endorses the following statements: