Sunday, May 18, 2008

The U.N. Is Doing What?

When this popped up on Little Green Footballs, I thought they might be kidding. I still think Reuters might be kidding. But here it is, folks, the visit of the special rapporteur. Mission: figure out American racism in three weeks. Lots of luck, rapporteur.

GENEVA (Reuters) - A special U.N. human rights investigator will visit the United States this month to probe racism, an issue that has forced its way into the race to secure the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Uh, that's not the only place racism has forced itself in the United States...and possibly the least important.

The United Nations said Doudou Diene would meet federal and local officials, as well as lawmakers and judicial authorities during the May 19-June 6 visit. "The special rapporteur will...gather first-hand information on issues related to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance," a U.N. statement said on Friday.

OK, so basically, this man is going to travel around the country for three weeks, and talk to federal and local officials about what? Whether they feel that people are more likely to vote for or against Obama because he's black? Examples they've seen of racism in their day to day lives? Help. I do not get this.

His three-week visit, at U.S. government invitation, will cover eight cities -- Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Omaha, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

First, what does the U.S. government expect to get out of this? Second, can I be the rapporteur instead of Mr. Diene? I'd LOVE to visit DC, New York, Chicago, etc., and I would keep my eyes wide open for examples of racism and meet with all the local officials anyone wanted me to.

Race has become a central issue in the U.S. election cycle because Sen. Barack Obama, the frontrunner in the battle for the Democratic nomination battle, stands to become the country's first African American president. His campaign has increased turnout among black voters but has also turned off some white voters in a country with a history of slavery and racial segregation.

Ummm. OK. This requires investigation how? I think you just said it all.

Diene, a Senegalese lawyer who has served in the independent post since 2002, will report his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council next year. However, the United Nations has almost no clout when it comes to U.S. domestic affairs and is widely perceived by many as interfering. The United States is not among the 47 member states of the Geneva-based forum, but has observer status.

OK. So this guy from an organization the U.S. doesn't pay much mind to, has been invited to come and see how we're doing with racism out here. I hate to seem irrelevant, but doesn't this guy have some genocides to worry about, or something?

In a report last year he said Islamophobia had grown worldwide since the September 11 2001 attacks on the United States, carried out by al-Qaeda militants.

This Mr. Diene--he sees what the lesser mind might miss!

The article goes on to list some things the U.N. already wants us to do--death penalty moratorium, things like that. I hope that Mr. Diene enjoys his trip--he is headed to several cities with very fine cultural opportunities, and nice restaurants, although of course, he should see San Francisco before he goes home.

1 comment:

Too Old to Jewschool Steve said...

I'll share with you the dirty little secret of american politics -- Race is no longer a serious problem in the United States. But, it serves as a major justification for a large amount of people's jobs, both on the left and right, so all of these people work hard to keep the "race" issue relevant. Its not, but so many people have a vested interest in its perpetuation, that its hard to let it go.

The real conflict in today's U.S. is class. No, not the one you teach. And, no, not your manners and behavior. Economic class. When people at the bottom of the ladder realize how much they have in common, rather than what divides them, Lucy will have a lot of 'splainin to do.