Political Science is Committed to Racial Equality and Justice
The Department of Political Science joins the College of Arts & Sciences in standing in solidarity “with those working to confront systemic racial injustice in our communities and in the United States. We recognize the disproportionate burden of racism and other forms of violence on many within our A&S community during this time. We affirm our support of faculty, students, staff, and alumni in standing against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias.” We affirm that Black lives matter.
Police brutality and other forms of systemic racial injustice against black Americans has been a constant throughout U.S. history, sparking protests in the 1960s and the 1990s and now, in 2020. What is different about protests today is the widespread demonstrations of support across racial-ethnic, economic and other groups in the U.S. and abroad. This breadth of support largely stems from trends and policies that have exacerbated racial injustice, including:
- Racist attitudes and bias in the justice system
- Black Lives Matter: Racial Inequities throughout the U.S. Criminal Justice System
- The rise of mass incarceration after the War on Drugs.
- The militarization of the police.
- The "qualified immunity" doctrine that encourages police irresponsibility.
- The privatization of parts of the prison system
While police officers in Lexington, Kentucky, and around the country also affirm that Blacks Lives Matter, we condemn the many acts of police brutality against peaceful demonstrators and journalists exercising their First Amendment freedoms because these acts jeopardize core democratic freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
As a Department, we are committed to educating students, practitioners and the community about racial and other forms of injustice through organized events, scholarship and practical experiences.
Below, is a list of resources to help us, our students and the community understand and combat racial and other types of injustices in the U.S. and other countries.
- Anti-Racist Resource Guide
- Resource/reading list on police and policing in America
- Micro-syllabus Including published articles on Black lives matter & Black political responses
- A conversation with leading scholars on the American criminal justice system (Hakeem Jefferson (mod), Jenn M. Jackson, Laurel Eckhouse, Ayobami Laniyonu, Allison Harris, Christian Davenport, Megan Ming Francis, Jonathon Mummolo, Ariel White, Vesla Weaver)
- Support for the Constitutional right to assemble and protest and without discrimination by race, gender and viewpoint: Know your rights in Kentucky (ACLU)
- State-level bills attempting to restrict protest since BLM started (PEN America)
- The racial divide in attitudes toward the police and the justice system (Mark Peffley & Jon Hurwitz)
- Jill Haglund’s resources on relevant human rights research
- Why the military opposes Trump’s call to use it to control protests: The secretary of defense spoke out against Trump’s approach to the protests; Civil-Military Relations are Broken
- Racial disparities in incarceration. The Sentencing Project, Racial Disparity.
- National Academies of Science, “The Growth of Incarceration in the US” (download free).
- Militarization of the police: Militarization is ineffective and harms police reputations (Mummolo 2018)
- The Data Behind Police Violence (538 Podcast); We Can End Police Violence in America (Campaign Zero).
- At the Cross: Race, Religion, and Citizenship in the Politics of the Death Penalty (Melynda Price).