The Recess masthead and staff have been outraged and dismayed by recent events, actions and online discourse exhibiting the deeply entrenched cruelty, racism and anti-Blackness present across the country and in the Duke community. These atrocities compound past transgressions committed by powerful institutions that we engage with daily, and we will no longer remain silent.
Black lives matter, and Recess stands in full support of the Black Lives Matter movement. We extend our sincerest condolences to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Tony McDade, David McAtee, George Floyd and all victims of systemic oppression and police brutality. We also stand by protesters in cities across the country who are facing force and violence from law enforcement in an attempt to silence expressions of grief and frustration.
Although we are committed to the practices of good journalism, we cannot address anti-Blackness with the distance and superficiality that often diminishes the intention of allies. There's no longer time for hollow expressions of sympathy and solidarity without the backing of meaningful action. Recess takes on this fight as our own, and we are committed to a sustained, iterative and full-forced reckoning of our past shortcomings and future plans for combating racism and intolerance.
Given our resources as a campus publication, it's our responsibility to create a space that supports, promotes and provides a platform for the voices of Duke’s Black student body, employees, faculty and artists in our community, and we must continue these efforts. Real action is the only way to help advance racial justice: Participating in donation efforts, listening to our Black peers, protesting, making calls, educating ourselves as white people or non-Black POC and sharing resources for others to unlearn the rampant anti-Blackness visible in our community institutions are a few ways we are holding ourselves accountable in the long-term. We urge our readership to do the same.
Recess, as part of Duke University’s student newspaper, recognizes that student journalism is steeped in a long and tired history of racist and exclusionary practices that reinforce white systems of power at the expense of communities of color. We are conscious of the historic lack of diversity in student journalism, including within our own publication, which contributes to a culture of misrepresentation, discouragement and invalidation on campus.
We are The Chronicle’s arts and culture section, and Black artists have always had a profound impact on art and popular culture of all forms. The appropriation and exploitation of Black culture by non-Black people continues to erase Black cultural history and struggle. Racism is not only expressed explicitly, and to counter injustice, we have to recognize the implications of our actions and correct them. With the goal of long-term meaningful engagement in mind, we affirm that the conversation must center the tireless work of Black activists and advocates.
We would like to take this opportunity to share several works by Black writers and artists and promote members of the Duke and Durham community that have touched us and/or sparked meaningful self-reflection in the hopes that it will do the same for others. We have also included links to various resources to be explored particularly by white people and non-Black POC committed to sustained action and self-education. This list is not comprehensive and is intended as a starting point for our readers to continue learning and educating themselves and their peers.
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Arts & Culture
“Recitatif,” a short story composed of vignettes by Toni Morrison (1983)
“Miss Juneteenth,” a film originally screened at Sundance 2020 and produced by Duke alum Neil Creque Williams, Trinity ’06
“Charm City Kings,” produced by Duke alum Clarence Hammond, Trinity ’08
“Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” a documentary film by RaMell Ross (2018)
The photography of Titus Brooks Heagins
The artwork of Duke electrician Jimmie Banks
Duke MFA Candidate Ife Michelle’s dance and choreography
Mamoudou Balde, a Durham-based Senegalese singer
Art of Cool Festival in Durham which features Black musicians annually
“Godspeed,” a short film by Duke alum Sade Abiodun, Trinity ’18
“Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States,” Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Duke sociology (2003)
“When Affirmative Action Was White,” Ira Katznelson (2005)
The Recess masthead and staff
Recess welcomes any and all Duke students from minority communities who are interested in publishing a story in The Chronicle and encourages students to email the Recess editor, Sarah Derris, for more information. We are always seeking contributions from BIPOC who would like to write about their connection to an impactful piece of popular culture in our ongoing and established column, “Campus Voices,” that promotes the stories and passions of those from historically marginalized backgrounds.
For questions, concerns or ideas regarding advocacy and inclusivity at Recess please contact Outreach & Recruitment Chair Megan Liu (email@example.com) or Recess Editor Sarah Derris (firstname.lastname@example.org).