In the midst of the ongoing cultural battle over race and racism — essentially where one camp believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of colorblindness, and the other wants an extreme focus on skin color — the Biden administration has invited a pair of progressive academics to lead an assessment “racial justice and equality” in the U.S.
The invitation, Newsweek says, comes as the United Nations Human Rights Council “established an international independent expert mechanism on promoting and protecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers.”
One of the invited professors, UCLA School of Law’s E. Tendayi Achiume of Zambia, believes that industrialized nations do not have a right to secure borders:
She also favors an international investigation into U.S. racism and race-based police misconduct (interestingly, she got the job!) because “the domestic regime” has proved unable to protect black people.
Achiume says any international component would not usurp domestic law enforcement, but would “supplement” it: “Here are the international human rights standards that can help with addressing the challenges in [the U.S.]”
Achiume discusses reparations (in the second clip), a subject about which she’s already made a decision:
“Reparations for racial discrimination rooted in colonialism and slavery are essential to the fulfillment of human rights,” and are a “vital aspect of a global order genuinely committed to the inherent dignity of all, irrespective of race, ethnicity or national origin.” Achiume singled out a “North American country.” Hmm.
Achiume told Newsweek that being inside the U.S. will allow her to “make ‘an up-to-date assessment of the situation'” and “accurate recommendations on issues related to my mandate.”
According to her faculty page, Achiume’s publications include “Critical Race Theory Meets Third World Approaches to International Law,” “Migration as Decolonization” and “The Fact of Xenophobia and the Fiction of State Sovereignty.”
The other big name on the UN team, Fernand de Varennes of South Africa, has taught at the University of Pretoria, the National University of Ireland-Galway and Murdoch University in Australia. One of de Varennes’ big concerns is hate speech and the use of social media to disseminate such.
“Today’s digital context means minorities are too often, with relative impunity, scapegoated, ‘otherised’, presented as disloyal, or as threats,” de Varennes said earlier this year. “It is a warning that I never thought I would have to make, but the Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers, it started with hate speech against a minority.”
De Varennes said a “human rights centred regulatory framework” is needed to manage hate speech, especially the “most harmful” — that against minorities. He advocates “swift” and “effective” investigations into instances of hate speech, followed by the prosecution of those responsible.
This should be a problem for him and Achiume during their U.S. visit as such a demand flies in the face of the First Amendment. However, given the predilections of our current ruling class, that first of the Bill of Rights may not mean much.
IMAGE: pathdoc / Shutterstock.com
Video h/t: Polaris