SPSCC Writing Center Statement on Antiracism
At the heart of Learning Support Services is our vision: “empowered learners, inclusive learning spaces.” We aim to foster a space where every student feels safe, respected, and heard.
However, we recognize that at all levels of society—including SPSCC and our own Writing Center—racist ideas, practices, and policies work together to threaten, disparage, and silence people of color. We also recognize that because racism thrives on the status quo, doing nothing or staying “neutral” perpetuates the problem.
As a staff committed to the success of every student at the college, it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to disrupt and dismantle white supremacy1. Standing in solidarity with students of color, we dedicate ourselves to address racism in the following ways.
We affirm that...
- there are no inherently correct or superior forms of spoken or written English
- all forms of English deserve to be recognized and valued
- Standard American English, the default of academic communication, masquerades as neutral and objective but in fact marginalizes other ways of communicating, often those used by people of color
- the ability to use multiple languages and dialects is an asset, not a hindrance; it is a competence, not a deficiency
- at its core, writing is about conveying ideas, reaching one’s audience, and reflecting personal experience and identity; it is not about conforming to a prescriptive standard of correctness
- prioritizing a prescriptive standard of correctness over the expression of ideas perpetuates white supremacy
We strive to...
- center students’ agency, voice, and experiences
- welcome students as they are, encouraging them to bring their full authentic selves
- emphasize effective communication, rhetorical choice, and personal expression over adherence to a prescriptive standard of correctness
- create brave space in which we invite dialogue and inquiry regarding racism and social justice
- advocate for students of color navigating a white dominant institution and partner with other areas of the college to challenge racist policies
- further develop our understanding of racial inequity, antiracist strategies, and our own biases through ongoing research, professional development, and discussion and revision of this statement
1 By “white supremacy,” we have in mind Frances Lee Ansley’s definition: “a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.” Read more at https://www.arteachingcollective.com/white-supremacy.html.
This statement was written collaboratively by the SPSCC Writing Center staff during the 2020-2021 academic year. For further resources, we recommend the Anti-Racist Teaching Collective, the SPSCC library's antiracism resources, and the college's collection of educational resources. For support and information about diversity-related programming at SPSCC, visit the DEIC.