Emma Rodriguez

There were several speeches given during the Coalition for Women's Rights' Black Lives Matter march on Feb. 16., 2023. Emma Rodriguez, president of the Anthropology and Sociology Club and vice president of Stockton Socialists, used her remarks to reflect on the history of racism in the antropology field and the responsibility of those in the field to make conscious, anti-racist efforts. Below is her speech from that day. 

Hi everyone! I’m just going to mention some things that are worthwhile to take note of from an anthropological perspective. I’m going to try to be brief, so please forgive me if I jump around a bit.

As a Sociology and Anthropology student here at Stockton University, I’ve learned about not only the social construction of race, but also how abundantly clear it is that its very construction has had detrimental effects on the lives of Black folks (or any person of color for that matter).

For example, in the earlier days of anthropology, we as a society were faced with the eugenics movement, where anyone not falling into the white European strata were cast away and treated as “other." Dating back even further, anthropologists have pointed out how there “hasn’t been a single part of a Black person’s body that hasn’t been picked apart” in the name of research, with early anthropologists even making ludicrous claims such as Black athletes having an extra muscle that make them better at sports, etc.

Emma Rodriguez outside of the Campus Center

In short, the field of anthropology certainly doesn’t have the cleanest history, and that’s why us current and future anthropologists acknowledge our responsibility to call attention to the damage that has been done, and the ways white supremacy has been and continues to be propped up in the United States today.

In the year 2023, it’s crazy that Black people are 3 times more likely to die during childbirth in comparison to white people, or that they’re paid a mere 75% of what their white counterparts make while doing the same work. It’s both crazy and cruel that Black individuals make up roughly 13% of the U.S. population while accounting for over 40% of the homeless population, and over one third of our prison population. Some of the very desks we sit at in our classes have been built via the inhumane system of prison labor.

These statistics make it remarkably clear that the reality we all live in is plagued with racial inequality, its very foundation being rooted in white supremacy. And while I can’t say where we’ll all be in the years to follow, I will say this: us allies have not only a responsibility to call attention to these mechanisms of injustice, but to uplift, listen to and truly learn from our fellow students, faculty, family and friends in the Black community, while checking our own privilege in the process.

Furthermore, as allies at Stockton, we should be making a conscious effort to support student organizations like UBSS, the NAACP, TogetHER, QTPOCS, ASO, CSA and more.

We see you, we hear you, and we are here for you. Thank you!