Duke professor signs leading statement on systemic racism

Paula McClain in Gross Hall 2

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has produced a statement on systemic racism, signed by APSA President and Duke professor of political science Paula McClain. Dr. McClain began teaching in the Duke Department of Political Science ten years ago, and has served in multiple leadership roles across the discipline culminating in her current service as the President of APSA.

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have reignited protests and calls for justice in the United States and across the world. These murders are among the latest in a long history of police brutality and violence upon members of the African American community. The American Political Science Association recognizes and condemns in the strongest terms the systemic racism that contributed to these deaths and shares the justified outrage it has provoked. We strongly support the right to protest and are alarmed by the government’s violent responses to peaceful protesters, including excessive uses of force in the name of order. We are also alarmed at the opportunistic criminal conduct of some who do not share the protesters’ commendable goals. These actions are a severe violation of democratic principles.

Political scientists have long examined the linkages between race, power, governance, social injustice and oppression. This scholarship has made an invaluable contribution to our discipline and to public discourse. It has illuminated the sources and structures of pervasive inequality and human rights abuses in the United States, as well as the resulting social, political, and public policy consequences. A more just society will require more of this knowledge but also action by all of us within the discipline to examine and address how our own programs, procedures, teaching, and scholarship may be shaped by or contribute to upholding, rather than dismantling, systems of oppression. As an association, we recognize our responsibility to elevate the existing scholarship, support scholars, and promote new research and pedagogy in this area, and continue to examine our own policies and programs towards the realization of a more informed and just society.

Download the full statement