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Eliminating Affirmative Action

  Shama Mir and Morton Sklar, editors, US NGO Report on CERD: AN INFORMAL WORKING GROUP OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL  CIVIL RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE GROUPS, THE WORLD ORGANIZATION AGAINST TORTURE USA (September 2000)

 

 

Vernellia R. Randall
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from Racial and Ethnic Discrimination in the United States, The Status of Compliance by the U.S. Government with the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Compiled By THE WORLD ORGANIZATION AGAINST TORTURE USA

 

I

VI.ELIMINATION OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AS A METHOD FOR OVERCOMING THE CONSEQUENCES OF PAST DISCRIMINATION

prepared by

International Human Rights Law Clinic

Washington College of Law, American University

with contributions from

Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights

With the recent rollbacks in affirmative action, the United States is in clear violation of CERD Article 2(2), which requires that States Party "take …special and concrete measures to ensure the adequate development and protection of certain racial groups or individuals belonging to them, for the purpose of guaranteeing them the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms." Equality of opportunity is a fundamental principle of CERD, and CERD recognizes that equality can not be achieved merely by preventing future discrimination.True equality requires that special efforts be made to overcome the highly negative and ingrained consequences of past inequalities imposed on people and communities of color. Governments are required to take “special and concrete measures” to reverse the effects of past bias.[17]CERD indicates that these special or affirmative action measures, taken to overcome the consequences of long-standing past discrimination, “Shall not be deemed” discriminatory so long as they are not “continued after the objectives for which they are taken have been abolished.” (Article 1 (4)).Despite this mandate to take affirmative action to eliminate discrimination, the United States has been taking the reverse course, reducing or ending previous commitments to end the effects of racism in education, employment and other areas where the negative impacts of long-standing bias have been most apparent. The recent rollback of affirmative action efforts in the area of higher education provides a dramatic case in point.

 
 
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Thanks to Derrick Bell and his pioneer work: 
Race, Racism and American Law
(1993).