Statement from the ACASA Board of Directors

On behalf of our members and in the strongest possible terms, the Board of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association (ACASA) denounces President Donald J. Trump as a racist. His recent profanity directed at Africans and Haitians, well publicized and too grotesque to repeat, is the latest in a long string of racist remarks and actions to which we are vehemently opposed. Our members know well the vast, invaluable contribution that African men and women have made, in the arts and well beyond, throughout human history and the world over. Although we are not surprised that President Trump denigrates Africans – he has fomented racism since he first entered the public eye in the 1970s – this week’s characterization of Africans and Haitians is deeply offensive and needs to be called out. So, too, do we condemn those US elected officials who do not publicly stand opposed to racism and do not denounce President Trump as racist. Silence is compliance. We speak against racism and to those who remain silent since both contradict our mission, which is to facilitate communication about African history and expressive cultures and to promote greater understanding of these worldwide. Finally, this: The global economy from which Americans benefit was built by immigrants including millions violently enslaved and displaced to the Americas, whose forced labor ensured wealth for others. The United States owes much to their indomitable creative spirit since many of its most celebrated forms of artistic expression descend from Africans. We call on all American ACASA members and friends to vote next November 6 for candidates who respect the lives of every person. If you are interested in ACASA but have not yet joined us, please do!