While the US boycotts the UN Durban 3 conference on combating racism, racism and oppression are still deeply entrenched in America. Slavery and segregation maybe a thing of the past, but African Americans are still no where near achieving equality.
A big fat “no” to an anti-racism meet-up at the UN – from the US and some of its friends with benefits.
“They want to protect each other. The United States because of its original sin of genocide against Native Americans and slavery, and the Europeans because of their ongoing neo-colonial ties to Africa and Asia,” said Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report.
But is original sin all there is to it? More skeletons in the closet may be to blame for America’s refusal to participate in the “Durban 3” Conference.
“Bigoted racism, or hatred, or Jim Crow type of racism, it’s very much racism – and racism is unfortunately and regrettably still alive in America. There is no doubt about it,” said New York Pastor James David Manning.
Segregation between black and white is long over, but often not for people in neighborhoods like this one.
“I definitely believe racism is alive and kicking. Racism is a situation when an individual or a group of people make a decision to control the destiny of another group of people, based on their race,” said Sutek Amenra – a clothing manufacturer and activist for black movement, who tries to spread the word with his merchandise. “We live in a capitalist system. In order for capitalism to function you have to have the haves and the have-nots. It just so seems that the have-nots in the capitalist system are predominantly black”.
One in six Americans live below the poverty line. For African-Americans and Latinos – it’s one in four. Black unemployment is twice that of the white population – at over 16 and a half percent.
“A white job applicant with a prison background, that is a white ex-inmate, is more likely to get a call-back for a job, than a black applicant who has no prison record whatsoever,” said Glen Ford.
The set-backs start from early on. Playwrite Radha Blank looks at the future of black children in her latest play. “If you look at the achievement gap, the number of black children graduating from high school going on to college compared to those of white children, it’s very disparic,” she said.
The dark chapter of slavery has closed. The US now has the first black President in its history, but the present remains disturbing.
“Look at what we have inside the United States. We have young black and brown subjects, community colonial subjects being shot down in the streets. In an obsessive kind of way. Fifty shots. Sixty shots. Laying on our stomach. In our back,” said Dead Prez rap group duo member M1.
“Even if in terms of the racial disparity in capital sentencing, there are so many more black men on death row,” said Radha Blank.
Only 12.6 percent of the general population, blacks make up nearly half of the prison population in America.
“The way that works out globally is nearly 1 out of every 8 prison inmates on the planet is an African-American. If that is not evidence of a deep and abiding race problem in the United States, I don’t know what better proof one could present,” added Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report.
In some cases, what lands them in jail is FBI entrapment. Alicia McWilliams’ nephew is serving 25 years behind bars. He wouldn’t be, she said, were he not lured in by official provocateurs.
“Look at what our government is doing, no one wants to look at what the USA is doing,” said Alicia Mc Williams.
The incarceration pandemic has ripple effects. Many states ban ex-felons from voting – sometimes – for life. Today, 1.4 million, or 13 percent of black men, can’t vote because of these laws.
“What if it were white women with red hair? What if it were Jewish people? It’s an astonishing kind of Gulag,” said clinical law professor and former FBI fugitive Bernardine Dohrn.
Gulags are discussed once they’re history. The US is apparently not prepared to admit to today’s truths yet.
“America wants to put up this face that they are the good guy, that there is all this benevolence going on here, and we take good care of our people here, when in actuality – they don’t,” said Sutek Amenra.
Out of sight – out of mind is an approach the US seems to be taking when it comes to racism at home. Attending an anti-racism meeting would be the simplest way to begin taking action. But with domestic details too embarrassing to reveal, America is choosing instead to turn a blind eye.