Division 46 Board Members’ Statement: Our Commitment to End Racism

Dear Colleagues,

Our division shares in the feeling of heartbreak and horror following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many other Black Americans.  These tragic events have raised concerns internationally as evidenced by organized demonstrations in Amsterdam, Auckland, London, Paris, and other cities.  Whether at the hands of police or armed civilians, these tragedies cut to the heart of our nation as one that is free and offers equal safety and opportunity for all its citizens.  These tragedies have been taking place in our country since its inception and they are now being amplified because of the ubiquity of cell phone videos and social media.  The world now sees what our country has long worked to dismiss.  We stand in solidarity with those demanding police and criminal justice reform and efforts to tackle injustice, inequality, and discrimination at all levels.

As media and technology psychologists, we wish to speak to the role of media in promulgating stereotypes and prejudice toward Black individuals in our culture.  News media, in particular, can be powerful in shaping public attitudes toward minority individuals and cultures.  These attitudes, in turn, can influence criminal justice and policing policy.  We call upon media producers, whether news or fictional, to cautiously consider how minority populations are represented in these media and to provide increased examples of positive portrayals of Black individuals.  All media companies should consider their hiring and diversity practices, especially content producers.  We also call upon media psychologists who examine the impact of media on consumers to increase their efforts to understand how Black individuals are depicted and portrayed in the media, the impact of those messages on consumers, and develop ways to write sensitively about racial matters so as not to sow discord and divisiveness.

As a division, we remain committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  We are prepared to add our voice and our specific areas of knowledge to the drive for positive change in our country and across the world.

As a division, we respect the worth and value of all people regardless of ethnicity, faith, gender, and culture.  We recognize that, at such a difficult time, it is natural to feel anger, fear, and anxiety.  We are committed to lending our voice to those who have called for unity, equity, and justice.

Sincerely,

Division 46 Board Members

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