UN committee issues 'early warning' to US over racism
A United Nations committee that is supposed to fight racism issued an "early warning" to the United States over "racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan[.]" They are calling on President Trump to "unequivocally and unconditionally" reject discrimination.
Such statements are usually issued by the United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination (Cerd) over fears of ethnic or religious conflict. In the past decade, the only other countries issued with early warnings have been Burundi, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria.
The United States has been warned under the procedure in the past when Cerd raised the issue of land rights conflicts with the Western Shoshone indigenous peoples in 2006.
"We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred," said Anastasia Crickley, chair of the committee.
Donald Trump faced widespread criticism after he blamed "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville. Although the Cerd statement did not refer to him by name, it called on "the government of the United States of America, as well as high-level politicians and public officials, to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country".
Crickley also urged the US authorities "to address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations".
Lecia Brooks, director of outreach for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights group, said the UN's early warning underlined the need for American leaders to "clearly and unconditionally condemn hatred and bigotry".
"It is a sad day when the president of the United States has so thoroughly failed to denounce white supremacism that UN experts must warn the US about the dangers of racism," Brooks said.
"Unfortunately, Trump's racist and xenophobic campaign, and his lukewarm condemnation of white supremacists, has heightened racial tensions in America to the point that it's raising alarms in the global community."
Let's be honest: Trump's failure to unequivocally condemn white supremacists and Nazis – and only white supremacists and Nazis – after Charlottesville is what has the world in a snit. Including Antifa in his condemnation of the violence was a political blunder of the first order. Subsequent statements by the president were a little stronger, but the media and the world did not want to hear about Antifa's coming to the demonstration against taking down General Lee's statue ready and eager for a fight. They only wanted to hear about the Hitlerites and Kluxers being responsible for the violence.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a branch of the Human Rights Commission. The 18 members who make up the Commission are, as is the U.N.'s custom, drawn from all continents and regions.
Many of the countries have their own problems with racism – which makes this "early warning" a piece of trash hypocrisy. Here's a description of what happened in a Chinese classroom:
It started when I went around the classroom, asking pupils which city they were from. When I got to a slightly darker-skinned boy, his classmates thought it was hilarious to shout 'Africa!' It's a theme. A girl with a similar complexion was taunted with monkey sounds; her peers refused to sit next to her, saying she smelt bad. I apparently erred when, teaching the word for wife, I showed my students a picture of Michelle Obama. The image of the then First Lady was greeted with exaggerated sounds of repulsion: 'So ugly!' they said. 'So black!'
Such comments would have been treated harshly in a British classroom a quarter-century ago, let alone today. But my own protestations were met with confused faces – crestfallen that they'd disappointed their teacher, but clueless as to the nature of their mistake. And this stretches far beyond the classroom. To many Chinese, ideas about racial hierarchies are not outdated anathema but unquestioned belief.
China doesn't even admit that it has a problem with racism. And Russia proclaims to the world that there's no problem at all:
People in blackface and carrying bananas marched in an official parade in Sochi less than a month before the city hosts Cameroon for a Confederations Cup match, once again raising concerns about racism at football matches in Russia.
A photograph from state news agency Tass showed a man in a Cameroon jersey with his face and arms painted black beating a drum at the Carnaval Sochi Fest parade on Saturday. A second man in blackface is visible behind him, wearing an Afro wig and carrying a drum and bananas on a string.
Another man can be seen draped in a Mexican flag, wearing a sombrero and what appears to be a stick-on black mustache. Two young men in a different photograph were wearing what appeared to be Native American headdresses and fringed costumes.
Russia's far-right nationalists make Trumpians look like Boy Scouts. They routinely scream racial slurs at black athletes and beat up blacks who wander across their path in every major city.
And these nations are allowed to judge the U.S. on the issue of racism?
There are a lot of useless committees connected to the United Nations. The "Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination" may top the list.