Earlier this week, in collaboration with the podcast This Anthro Life, we debuted our new five-part series called “These Anthro Minds” – except that wasn’t the first choice for the title. A rather unfortunate choice that incorporated words from our own blog title made it through unvetted, a choice that had the unwanted consequence of retraumatizing those who take issue with the name of our blog in the first place.
Since announcing that we would like to change the name, I have heard from a number of Colleagues of Color in anthropology who support our decision. Most frequent among the responses were “It’s about time,” and “You know there’s a reason I never felt comfortable guest blogging for you.” Some of us knew that the name was problematic, and and some of us knew that it held the potential to marginalize these colleagues, but I don’t think we ever knew if it actually did. All the more reason to change it.
I fear that the favor we have won with the gesture of initiating this change has evaporated in the extended length of time that it has taken to deliberate on a new name. (We hope to announce by #AAA2017 in Washington DC.) All I can say is that we have not prioritized what needs to be prioritized in order to arrest the ongoing damage. For that, I am sorry.
Now, with this incident involving TAL, I also fear that it might appear to our Colleagues of Color that someone here at this blog has doubled-down on their belief that the blog title is not problematic. I can assure you that we all recognize the problem with the name. The producers of TAL moved forward with the name unaware that we would like to distance ourselves from it. That we ever thought it would be an appropriate title for our blog speaks to the dehistoricized and institutionalized characteristics of méconnu words that are tangled in a web of esoteric social theory, French-English translational puns, and “post-racial” anthropology, while casually traumatizing and marginalizing those that we (white Euro-American anthropologists) have historically traumatized and marginalized.
For what it’s worth, when we brought this issue to their attention, the producers of TAL changed the series name with lightning speed.
The new name for the podcast series, “These Anthro Minds,” was suggested by Indigenous Scholar and Biological Anthropology PhD Candidate Savannah Martin from Washington University in St. Louis.
In short: We can do better. You deserve better.