Last month, the Honnold-Mudd Library at the Claremont Consortium offered a statement on racial justice and the recent protests, claiming that “BIPOC [Black and Indigenous People of Color] faculty, students, and staff are focused on what they can do to support their own communities; they are not accountable to White people on the campuses who often show up only in times of crisis.”
Alongside the statement, the library released a list of anti-racism and Black Lives Matter resources “to educate the community on issues surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and protests. These issues include topics such as anti-racism, systemic racism, systemic oppression, police brutality, mass incarceration.” Included in the resources was a link to the official website for Black Lives Matter. According to the library’s announcement, the guide “uplifts resources created by Black authors, scholars, and creators, and organizations in order to amplify their voices.” The library referred to its guide as “[o]ne way for White people to work towards anti-racism to take responsibility for their own learning, rather than placing the burden of explanation on BIPOC people.”
Honnold-Mudd stated that “[t]his guide is meant for self-directed learning, taking into account that The Claremont Colleges are predominantly White institutions.” Although white students make up the largest racial group at Pomona College, the largest member institution of the Claremont Consortium, only 35% of the student body identifies as white, though the percentage is significantly higher among the faculty. The other Claremont Colleges vary widely in terms of representation. Only 39% of Scripps students identify as people of color, compared to 35% at Claremont McKenna College, 44% at Harvey Mudd College, and 31% at Pitzer College.
Members of the library staff were asked to “to recommend a resource focused on anti-racism or made by a Black creator. . . because these are resources that they have used to learn how to effectively practice anti-racism and celebrate Black lives.” Among the authors of these recommended books was renowned social justice activist Angela Davis, who supported the murder of anti-communist dissidents. When asked to use her influence to protect Jews fleeing persecution in the USSR, Davis, according to Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, responded that “[t]hey are all Zionist fascist opponents of socialism.” Davis has not publicly denied Dershowitz’s accusations.
Jordan N. Esrig contributed to reporting.