UN Committee Warns The US About Increasing Racial Tensions

Credit: The Intercept

Could we, again, become an apartheid state?

According to the United Nations, the answer is yes.

After this month’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia at which a car drove into the crowd, killing civil rights activist Heather Heyer, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), has issued an “early warning” to the United States over its racial conditions, urging President Donald Trump’s administration to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject discrimination.

CERD also called on the US to ensure that freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly are not “misused to promote racist hate speech and racist crimes.”

Committee chair, Anastasia Crickley, said:

“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.”

She urges US authorities to “address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations.”

This is not normal.

The UN usually only issues these statements when it fears ethnic or religious conflict. In the past decade, only Burundi, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria have been issued such warnings.

Although the CERD statement does not refer specifically to Trump, it states:

 “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.”

The August 18 CERN statement takes on new significance in the wake of Tuesday’s protests outside a Trump rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

At the rally, Trump characterized himself as Charlottesville’s worst victim, blaming “crooked media” who “do not like our country” of “trying to take away our history and our heritage.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported in February that the number of hate groups had risen in the US for a second consecutive year, “energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump.”

Are we beginning a new phase of Jim Crow after decades of racial progress?

Image credit: The Intercept

Ted Millar is poet and teacher. His poetry has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News and Liberal Nation Rising.