Commentary June 11, 2020

CDDRL Statement on Building Racially Inclusive Democracies

From CDDRL Leadership


June 10, 2020

The Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law joins other university centers at Stanford in condemning the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and David McAtee, and expressing our outrage at police violence towards demonstrators around the country.

Such statements of solidarity, however, are not enough. It is incumbent on institutions here at Stanford and around the United States to reflect on the force of racism in American life, and to ask hard questions about their role in perpetuating it and what they can do to address it. Even more, it is essential that action be commensurate with rhetoric.

In this spirit, CDDRL has begun to develop and implement a plan to increase racial diversity among our faculty, doctoral and post-doctoral fellows, and honors students. We will bring far greater attention to race, policing, state violence, and unjust rule of law in our discussions about democracy. We will do this in our programming, including our weekly seminar series and our events.

We will convene a center study group on Building Racially Inclusive Democracies, which will ask how the American experience with race should reshape our concepts and theories of democracy, development, and rule of law. While the focus will be on what we can learn from race in America, we will also include perspectives from comparative research on policing and violence in racially-divided democracies. We will have a dedicated search in the fall of this year for 1-2 postdoctoral fellows who study race, policing and justice in the United States and who can shape and inform our understanding at the Center.

The goal is to reshape our research agenda and curriculum to understand that the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and David McAtee are not exceptional but just three of the hundreds of African Americans who have been killed by police in the last five years. How should we think of democracy and rule of law in a country where such violence is commonplace?

We want to thank our undergraduate honor students, graduate fellows, staff, and faculty for challenging us to meet this moment, and we look forward to engaging with you in the most fundamental rethink of democracy, development, and rule of law we have undertaken since the founding of the Center almost twenty years ago.

Francis Fukuyama,
Mosbacher Director

Stephen Stedman,
Deputy Director

Didi Kuo,
Associate Director for Research