The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Race is not an inherently political issue.

Recognizing that racial differences still matter in American society isn’t a politically biased statement.

I’ve grown tired of being approached on various occasions and warned that my confrontation and awareness of racial issues in American society could in some way jeopardize my journalistic integrity.

With each piece I’ve written, I’ve delivered facts. Yet I’ve been told that I shouldn’t speak on these issues and that my continued work surrounding these issues make me appear to have left-winged political views.

Well, I’m here to say: Race is not a political issue and the plain acknowledgement of issues surrounding race relations, racial inequality and other issues does not align one with any major political party.

Race is a social construct. It’s a means of acknowledging cultural difference. It’s an acknowledgement of differences in experience and point of view.

The origin of race lays centuries ago in the European justification of colonial imperialism. Race was used as a means to determine superiority and social class.

When I write about black issues, Hispanic issues, Asian issues or multiracial issues, none fit perfectly into the agendas of either major political party.

To conclude otherwise is to ignore the complexities that exist within each racial group and to undervalue the role of other factors that affect political affiliation like gender, socioeconomic class, religion and sexual orientation.

This is not to say that race doesn’t affect Americans’ political attitudes.

According to a review of the effects of racial prejudice on politics by Stony Brook University, racial resentment fuels opposition to both government assistance to the poor and racial consideration in college admissions processes.

Race plays a factor in the support or disapproval of numerous political issues such as the death penalty, access to health care and housing integration.

Race is a factor that affects the support of certain political issues, but it is not the only one. Race by itself cannot determine one’s political affiliation. In the same respect, acknowledgement of race as a factor that affects American society does not determine political affiliation.

The belief that awareness of racial issues like racial inequalities in the United States can be equated with liberalism and left-winged political bias is an unfair one.

It denies individuals the ability to comment on institutionalized racial separation without being accused of perpetuating a particular political party’s agenda.

It cripples the ability of individuals to look objectively at American society and the role race plays in it.

Individuals should be able to explore racial difference, race relations, racial inequality and other related issues without being aligned with either major political party.

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