A preliminary word is necessary about the Convention's definition of "racial discrimination." Although the definition included in
Article 1(1) contains two specific terms ("descent" and "ethnic origin") not typically used in federal civil rights legislation and practice, there is no indication in the negotiating history of the Convention or in the Committee's subsequent interpretation that those terms encompass characteristics which are not already subsumed in the terms "race," "color," and "national origin" as these terms are used in existing U.S. law. See, e.g., Saint Frances College v. Al-Khazraji, 481 U.S. 604 (1987); Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb, 481 U.S. 615 (1987); Roach v. Dresser Industrial Valve, 494 F. Supp. 215 (W.D. La. 1980). The
United States thus interprets its undertakings, and intends to carry out its obligations, under the Convention on that basis.