Why has US failed to fight racism? 

Washington  Edited By: Gravitas deskUpdated: Mar 31, 2021, 08:17 AM IST

A file photo of a George Floyd mural Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

Racism in the United States exacerbated post 9/11. Prejudice was now laced with Islamophobia. Muslims were vilified, so were Sikhs, Arabs and people of South Asian descent. They were all called names, Taliban, terrorist, Osama Bin Laden'

The United States recently slapped sanctions on Chinese officials. Do you know why? For 'serious human rights abuses targeting Uighurs'.  

The US also imposed sanctions on Cuba's Interior Minister. What for? 'serious human rights violations'.  

On the December 10, 2020, the US announced sanctions against firms and individuals from Haiti, Yemen and Russia. Again, what for?  

Serious human rights violations!  

Here's the document. Let's rewind. 7 months before the release of this document.  

In the very same United States, a man's most basic right, the right to life, was snatched away from him.  

Officers knelt on his neck and chocked him to death. George Floyd was one of the 4 people of colour to be killed by American cops in 2020. Between 2013 and 2019, 42 of every 1 million African-Americans were killed in police shooting.  

Where was the American human rights police then? And what exactly was the treasury department doing?  

Perhaps, schooling other countries on human rights. Washington wants to champion this cause but it has failed to protect the rights of its own people.  

America dishes out sanctions abroad but at home, it turns a blind eye to human rights violations.  

In 2019, 65% of Americans said it was common for people to express racist or racially insensitive views. Why does racism continue to fester in the US?  

For starters, America has a history of systemic racism, a legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, one where treating people of colour as inferior or the lesser lot was normalised and totally legal.  

Today, slavery has been outlawed. It's been over 150 years since America passed the 13th amendment act but in practice, the legacy of racism continues to shadow the life of every black American.  

In 2018, 88% of the people stopped by the police in New York City were black or latin American.  

70% of them were innocent. This is according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.  

Racism in the United States exacerbated post 9/11. Prejudice was now laced with Islamophobia. Muslims were vilified, so were Sikhs, Arabs and people of South Asian descent. They were all called names, Taliban, terrorist, Osama Bin Laden'.  

The Attorneys offices have investigated 800 incidents involving violence, threats, vandalism and arson against Arab-americans, Muslims, Sikhs, South-Asian Americans and those perceived to be of middle eastern origin, all post 9/11.  

In 2009, Barack Obama entered the White House with a promise to end racism. What happened? For years, American leaders have leveraged racism, peddled the issue of race to garner support from white americans. In the 1960s, Richard Nixon stirred up the fear of black empowerment.  

In 2016, it was Donald Trump fanning the flames of racism once again, fuelling white supremacy. Trump may be gone, but Trumpism stays. In fact, it's become worse.  

What happened to Muslims post 9/11, also happened to Asian Americans since the coronavirus outbreak. Hate crimes against them increased nearly 150%. Nearly 3,800 hate crimes were recorded between March 2020 and March 2021.  

68% of these were against women. The pandemic killed people of colour at higher rates.  

Exposed America's health disparity. It was in the middle of the very same pandemic that George Floyd was killed. The murder exposed America's 'us' versus 'them' divide.   

It also triggered the largest mass demonstration in American history. 

Drew 9% of the country to the streets but what has changed?  

Cut to November, and Donald Trump increased his votes, his supporters targeted Ilhan Omar, the Congresswoman from George Floyd's home state of Minessota, send her back the white supremacist chanted.   

The question is sent her back where? From George Floyd to Rayshard Brooks and Daniel Prude. They were or are just as American. Their identity is not dependant on the colour of their skin. How long before Americans realise this? Here's something Kamala Harris recently said, 'Racism is real in America, and it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America and always has been'.  

It's high time authorities did something about it, instead of preaching others, perhaps look at their own record. The US cannot be hoisting the flag of liberty with its knee on the neck of a black man.  

It cannot be celebrating the American dream by choking the dreams of minorities. Slavery was a southern evil. Racism is pan-American. As of 2019, 78% of blacks believe that America has not gone far enough in giving blacks equal rights with the whites. 50% believe blacks will never likely have equal rights.  

84% believe the legacy of slavery affects the position of black people in American society. 71% think race relations in the US are generally bad.  

Washington must acknowledge these faultlines first when later tonight it sits in the judgment of 200 countries.  

The US is evaluating the status of 200 countries on human rights. It is set to release its report on human rights practices. Look inwards. Charity, as they say, begins at home.