won’t be there! [The Racism Conference in Geneva]
Obama doesn’t want to look back. Racism is dead. Let’s move on!
So the U.S.
won’t be there. It has better, nobler things to do.
It plans to
boycott the United Nation’s World Conference on Racism scheduled for
April 20-25, 2009 in Geneva,
the final document drops references to Israel and removes the topic
of reparations for slavery, the Obama administration will pass up the
change to ask itself (and explain to the world) why its regime insists
on practicing and supporting other regimes that engage in systemic racism.
the Associated Press, “Obama’s administration decided to assess the
negotiations before making a decision on U.S. participation.” And it “assessed” that, no,
it’s not necessary to show up! The two officials reported back to Washington D.C. that “a bad
document got worse.” No good! Nada! Can’t do it!
States has decided that it will not participate
in further negotiations on the outcome document and will not participate
in the conference itself on the basis of the latest text, the U.S.
officials said.” Obama’s administration would reconsider the final document
if it “improves in a number of areas including dropping references to
any specific country…”
Could the U.S. fear being charged
with human rights violations within its own borders - again!
document would have to remove “references to deformation of religion
which the U.S.
views as a free speech issue…”
Is it a violation
of “free speech” to discuss Christianity and Jewish responsibility for
the deaths of Muslims and not just Muslim attacks on the U.S.
would have to remove “language on reparations for slavery.”
just too much!
wants to see a “shorter text” with no suggestion that the 2009 Conference
in Geneva “reaffirm” the final document from the
2001 Durban Conference on Racism, a conference that witnessed the U.S.
walking out in protest.
In other words,
let’s not look back to the past. That’s just not the American Way! Move forward to Afghanistan!
Continue Israeli settlement development in the West
Bank. Shoot to kill Black young men on American streets.
the Obama decision.
Israel isn’t an ally to Black Americans. In fact, Black
America has few nation-state “allies” if U.S.
corporations and the U.S.
military industrial complex renders political protection and financial
aid that, in turn, is used to wage wars for profit and to annihilate
the rights and lives of oppressed people.
have few “allies” if this new administration is allowed to continue
the policies of previous imperialist administrations and ignore the
U.S.’s historical bedfellow
came across an article written by Roger Pulvers and published at Commondreams.org, March 1,
2009, titled “Obama
Please Note: Those Who Fail to 'Master the Past' Are Guilty, Too.” Pulvers
refers to U.S.
presidents, secretaries of state and defense and members of Congress’s
collective history of pointing out “human rights’ abuses and political
crimes” in other nations. “The assumption
is always that the U.S. occupies the
moral high ground of human dignity - allowing Americans to believe in
themselves as altruistic and selfless.”
History - history - is a record of “human rights’ abuses”
and “political crimes.” Consider Chile
under Pinochet, Brazil
under the tutelage of the Chicago Boys. Or consider Marcos in the Philippines, Mobuto in the Congo, Suharto in Indonesia,
in 1953. There was Vietnam,
Mexico and the so-called
“war on drugs,” Detroit, Gary,
Chicago, New York, Los
Angeles, Oakland, New Orleans
and the countless footprints of U.S. corporations, CIA, and
military operations since the 13 colonies declared itself a nation.
Oh, yes, there’s that business of slavery and genocide, too. The money
pipeline flows from the U.S.
to dictators and foreign occupiers while politicians behind loudspeakers
proclaim the high moral road to “freedom” and “democracy”! Ask any Black,
Brown, Red, and Yellow person what they hear, what they see, what they
have experienced when the U.S.
talks of “developing nations” and “urban renewal”!
As Pulver notes, when abuses (Abu Graib) and crimes (lying to invade
Iraq for oil and
regime change) come to the surface, the U.S. tells itself that it simply made a mistake.
has “pure” motives and engages in “regrettable actions” that are mere
“aberrations” while the others’ actions are “evil” - motivated “by intolerance
and greed.” In fact, Pulver writes, “buried deep in America's moral high ground are the bones of millions
of victims of whom most Americans seem purposefully oblivious.”
Hold an election and change the personnel in Washington D.C. and all will
be new again! The U.S.
is moving forward!
Pulver refers to Bernhard Schlink’s Guilt About the Past, in
which the University of Berlin law professor “describes the ‘long shadow’ cast by the perpetrators
of war crimes on their descendents.” Schlink, writes Pulver, “speaks
of the need to “master the past” - that is, to come to terms with your
nation's crimes through law, atonement and reconciliation for all involved.”
Pulver suggests that Americans should heed Schlink’s message: “Guilt
also reaches those who do not actively separate themselves from the
perpetrators and participants through dissociation, judgment or repudiation.”
For Pulver, it is not enough to merely “‘regret’ past actions and believe
that ‘looking forward’ and ‘getting the country moving again’ are substitutes
for atonement.” Instead, future generations must “‘master the past’
by taking responsibility for it. Americans demand this of others - why
not of themselves?”
Its white supremacy
that has allowed the U.S.’s
economic prowess in the world; white supremacy motivates the U.S.’s domestic and foreign polices. White supremacy,
a brew of homemade racism, arrogance, and entitlement is the foundation
of all there is called The United
States of America. Take away white supremacy
and you take away the U.S.’s pedestal, and its reason for waking up
in the morning. You erase the way in which the U.S. Empire relates to
the world and the people in it. It speaks of individualism but
it can only create and relate to categories of people: Blacks,
Browns, Reds, Yellows, poor, “disadvantaged,” “developing,” “criminal,”
No, the U.S.
won’t be there in Geneva next month.
The new administration
is busy trying to restore capitalism to its past glory! Few have
heard the news that the U.S.
won’t attend the Conference on Racism and fewer still have read the
Pew Center Report on the States, released March 2, 2009, in which it
states that 7.3 million people are incarcerated in the U.S.
That is, 1 out of 31 U.S.
citizens are behind bars - and most for non-violent crimes and most
are Black Americans.
are the target of drug enforcement, Jamie Fellner, author of the report,
“Decades of Disparity: Drug Arrests and Race in the United States, told
Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, even though white and Black citizens
use and sell drugs in equal numbers.
are for possession.” Four in ten arrests are for marijuana possession
- not for the incarceration of drug dealers or drug smugglers.
going into white homes, white bars, white neighborhoods, white offices.”
But they are in the Black neighborhoods! It is not coincidental.
I think that there is a deliberate use of drug laws to - I think that
there’s something in this country which can be called structural racism,
which doesn’t require any individual policeperson or prosecutor or judge
or anyone else to have malign intent. Nevertheless, there is what’s
called a conspiracy of forces, of assumptions, of attitudes, of behaviors,
which end up with the result that blacks get the short end of the stick."
are conveniently identifiable and easily located in the U.S.
And the so-called
“war on drugs” in Columbia and Mexico isn’t just
coincidental either. U.S.
drug enforcers don’t impose the “war on drug” policy in France or England. European countries won’t tolerate “cowboy
diplomacy” on their streets. Fellner associates “the victims of all this violence” in Columbia
and Mexico with U.S. consumers who pay a “premium based on the
drugs being illegal.” “It’s a Catch-22. It’s a vicious circle,” Fellner
added. But profitable!
The prison industrial
complex has been financially profitable, too. For Upstate rural areas,
predominantly white communities, employment and revenue is too
profitable to pass up. Upstate prisons acquire free labor from
Black Americans. In addition, the largely urban Black population incarcerated
in these Upstate prisons count in the census as “residents,” according
to Caitlin Dunklee, Coordinator of the Correctional Association’s Drop
the Rock campaign and interviewed on Democracy Now! These “residents”
help Upstate legislatures maintain the numbers necessary to hold a district.
These “residents” also “channel anti-poverty money from the federal
government into Upstate districts,” Dunklee said.
the Pew Center Report, the prison industrial complex “was the fastest
expanding major segment of state budgets, and over the past two decades,
its growth as a share of the state expenditure has been second only
to Medicaid.” As a result, “state corrections cost[s] now top 50 billion”
annually. Now, faced with budget deficits, the states, the Pew Center
Report suggests, need to reduce taxpayers dollars while “improving public
safety by reducing recidivism.”
And this is
happening in a nation that will not attend the Conference on
Racism in Geneva!
How do you change
a theoretical perspective that begins with recognizing “evil” in others?
(Poverty is Black; cocaine and marijuana is Black; crime is Black in
and it’s Arab, Muslim, Asian in those other places). How do you change
a systematic practice of racism and classism where Black people have
always been a usable commodity for sustaining the U.S.’s dominance, politically and economically?
Politicians, Black and white, bring their constituents “tough” crime
and drug enforcement and financial progress on the backs of Black people.
Injustice and oppressive policies are profitable! The livelihood of
judges, lawyers, wardens, guards, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists,
educators, and just plain “hard working” workers are dependent on structural
racism in the U.S. just as presidents, secretaries of state and defense,
Congress and the military industrial complex is linked to Pax Americana
and the misery and slaughter of millions.
But the U.S.
doesn’t have a PAST because in ignoring the past, it retains dominion
over the present and future of this planet and its people - “little”
people! “Master the past”? Ignoring the past is much more profitable!
So no, the U.S.
won’t appear at the Conference on Racism. No!
It’s not enough
for Black academics, entertainers, politicians, and activists to stand
before a microphone and report with glee that they have “escaped” the
“hood” and the missiles of drugs, guns, police brutality, and incarceration
as if the reign of attacks is acceptable, adaptable. It’s not enough
to toot your own horn and stand on the deck of the Titanic, waving the
past away while holding the controls of the lifeboats in your hands,
listening to the voice on the loudspeaker say: We all sink or we
all rise together? When has that been the case in the history of
need allies who are free to see us restored to our rightful place
in history. We have allies who are struggling to be free from
the imperialist’s stranglehold. We need to say, collectively, that we
exist and that the Conference on Racism matters to us!