Uplifting Black Technical and Professional Communication
The task force that produced the statement is a group of scholars and teachers who are committed to educating our colleagues and demonstrating for us all how we can honor, engage, and produce socially just pedagogies that recognize, understand, and fully incorporate Black technical and professional communications practices.
Defining Black Technical and Professional Communication
Black technical and professional communication (BTPC) is defined as including practices centered on Black community and culture and on rhetorical practices that are inherently made apparent in Black lived experience. Black TPC reflects the cultural, economic, social, and political experiences of Black people across the diaspora. It also includes the work of scholars in the academy and the contributions of practitioners. In short, Black TPC contextualizes the experiences and cultures of Black peoples through research, teaching, and scholarship.
No More Excuses
The task force that composed this statement on BTPC unequivocally and unabashedly centers communicative practices of Black communities in what was formerly understood to be white mainstream technical and professional communication. This task force bravely eschews white supremacy in the teaching and research of technical and professional communication, and offers not only a position statement but also a list of resources for further reading. They now call on fellow TPC practitioners and rhetoricians to do the work of further expanding their own knowledge and understanding of BTPC. In other words, Black scholars of TPC will no longer hold the hands of others who choose to remain complacent in the lack of Black TPC representation as presented in TPC scholarship. Their robust list of resources represents a clear declaration that our field will no longer accept excuses for the lack of citations that point to the work of Black TPC scholars. Our field will no longer entertain excuses claiming that Black and Brown TPC practitioners are not publishing on the topics as presented. We will no longer accept excuses to approach or review TPC scholarship as neutral, objective, and not influenced by people's lived experiences and embodiment, because as the list of resources shows, Black TPC is an extension of Black lived experiences as practice. Finally, excuses for trying to educate Black peoples out of their linguistic habits will no longer be tolerated. We urge our colleagues to get it straight, and see Black people's communication for what it is—a true and wonderful influence on highly effective communication literacies, such as technical and professional communication.
Hope of the BTPC Task Force
The task force composing the statement was formed by a group of Black TPC practitioners. These scholars are nothing short of trailblazers, who seek to ensure that Black TPC occupies its rightful place in the field of technical and professional communication. This task force's development and its selected members was intentional and rhetorical. By including trailblazers in the field of TPC who focus and streamline much of their work on Black TPC, CCCC was able to place a body—a face, if you will—onto the work. This task force comprises graduate students and junior and senior faculty scholars. The selection of task force members also showcases the importance of mentorship through coauthorship and collaboration. This humanizing of scholarship through this document’s authors further amplifies the importance of having diverse representation of Black practitioners involved in conversations surrounding the redefining of TPC.
The task force urges other language, literacy, and communication scholars and teachers, especially those who are TPC practitioners, to implement the resources provided into their own scholarship and course design(s).
It is undeniable that what we privilege in our fields, scholarship, and teaching, especially as it pertains to language practices, also informs public attitudes and perceptions about others’ communication practices. Let us be unequivocally clear: Your—that is you—your perceptions and attitudes about Black people's language inform our fields, our scholarship, and our teaching. Therefore, the task force and the Executive Committee of CCCC urge you, our colleagues and friends, to assist in changing the anti-Black perceptions and discourses in schools, corporations, workplaces, offices, government, you name it, by reviewing, adopting, and pursuing consistently and in earnest the principles of BTPC.
Vershawn Ashanti Young, CCCC Chair
Temptaous McKoy, Chair, CCCC Black Technical and Professional Writing Task Force