“The heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want it to be. More than ever before, we as a society, need to renew a commitment to truth telling,” bell hooks.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, many companies and organizations across the globe have begun to consider the way decolonial practices can be employed. Religious Academia also has made its strides toward Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) but frequently fails to provide measurable and sustainable structural change. Instead, EDI often functions as a form of “box-checking” or theoretical approaches to justice making without any commitment to praxis.
Within Religious Academia, truth telling requires us to recognize several realities: statistically, African descended women are severely under-represented as professors and lecturers; poor citational practices allow White academics to pilfer the work of these same women without giving them adequate credit; and African descended women are even under-represented in terms of research funding. These practices make working in Religious Academia untenable for most African descended women.
Decoloniality must disrupt taken for granted knowledge production by challenging Euro-centered definitions of knowledge and its preferred thinkers. Decoloniality must also challenge any core curriculum which hides behind “intellectual freedom” and other forms of resistance to diversification. Diversifying staff and faculty may be “complex,” but we manage to simplify the process to hire White women and people in the LGBTQ communities. Let’s simplify it for everyone. True decoloniality embraces a shift in power within the social hierarchy.
Acknowledging these hard truths and seeking solid remedies to fix the problem (and not merely cover ourselves) moves us closer to “mishpat.” As a reminder, “mishpat,” or “justice,” mentioned over 300 times in the Bible, is a requirement in dealing with society’s most vulnerable. Let’s renew our commitment to justice and close the gap between theory and praxis.
Misogynoir to Mishpat Research Network