Racial justice in America is a human rights issue, not a political one

Alex Redmond, Guest Columnist
Published 11:27 a.m. CT Oct. 7, 2020

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Belmont University seniors Alex Redmond and Tyler Redmon spoke with Tennessean Opinion Editor David Plazas.

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I believe that when protestors, politicians and organizations take on the daunting task of reversing the system of oppression in America, they do so because of the love they have for America.

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  • Alex Redmond of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee is a Belmont University senior, political science major and aspiring attorney.

Over the past several months the term “social justice” has become a prominent topic of discussion in millions of homes across America.

Racial insensitivity, white privilege and police brutality are a few of the terms that are accompanying those tough conversations. I have heard a few people tell me that all the events that have occurred in the last few months have opened their eyes to the harsh reality that Black people face in America.

Others have told me that America no longer has a problem with racially-motivated violence; that by protesting in the streets and chanting “Black lives matter” we are manipulating people into believing that America still struggles with racial inequality. 

I do not believe that the problem of racial injustice should be seen as a political issue. Rather than viewing police brutality, racial inequality or racial insensitivity as mechanisms that political parties are using to push narratives, we must work together to break the legacy of injustice that has infected our country since its conception. 

Rise up to help America reach its potential

This is not a scathing critique of America. This is not an attempt to get anyone to lay down their patriotism.

In fact, I believe that when protestors, politicians and organizations take on the daunting task of reversing the system of oppression in America, they do so because of the love they have for America.

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They love America so much that they cannot sit idle when they see George Floyd choke the words “I can’t breathe” while a police officer kneels on his neck for 8 minutes and 47 seconds.

They love America so much that they must run to the streets and chant “Say her name” as Breonna Taylor’s murderers walk away with a slap on the wrist.

They must rise up and help America reach its full potential. 

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Do not perpetuate a false sense of equality

To the people that criticize the movement because they believe that America has already reached its full potential, I challenge them to take an unfiltered look at history.

Yes, the American people have made great strides to heal from our past of extreme racial violence and legalized oppression, but that is not to say that the vestiges of slavery do not still haunt America to this day.

Attempting to force a false sense of equality will only continue to perpetuate the problem. The reality is that Black Americans are not only disproportionately likely to be killed by law enforcement, but are disproportionately unlikely to present an objective threat of deadly force (Wertz et al. 2020).

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The reality is that during the hiring process, African Americans still remain substantially disadvantaged relative to equally qualified whites (Quillian et al. 2017).

Black Americans, and minorities at large, still face substantial hurdles every single day due to the color of their skin. 

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Vote to support the aspirations of all Americans

One of the ways to cure this problem is by voting. Voting is how we will make our voices heard. Whether you choose to vote red, blue or somewhere in between, vote for the people that will hear the chants and cries of the American people.

Vote for the people who will not only vow to bring justice to Americans, but will actually do the hard work for this country to see authentic change.

Vote for the people that see racial inequality as a human rights issue rather than a political one.

This includes voting in local elections because we have the power to vote out the people who are failing our criminal justice system.

Vote for the people who will assure minority voices are seen and heard in this country. 

Alex Redmond of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee is a Belmont University senior, political science major and aspiring attorney.

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