Antiblackness and Pro-Black Social Action at UC Berkeley
Across the United States, organizations have been compelled by internal and external pressure to reckon with antiblackness. Such reckoning has often been led by Black leaders. Based on observations and interviews with various constituencies, internal documents, and media, I analyze how Black campus leaders of various statuses – undergraduate, graduate students, staff, faculty, administrators – have been contesting antiblackness at the University of California, Berkeley, from 2014 to 2022. In doing so, I investigate the challenges and supports they experience from the Black campus community and university administration as well as how gender and organizational status shape their experiences of antiblackness, their efforts to contest it, and the university’s response to their pro-Black social action. This political ethnography presents the gendered and classed facets of antiblackness at a famously progressive and elite public university as well as what it takes for Black people to lead efforts within an antiblack organization to defend and cultivate Black life.