Young Voices | Racial discrimination: The truth about American human rights
By Sun Jingnan, a student of Sichuan Agricultural University
In 1997, UNESCO declared August 23 as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition to raise people's awareness about the horrifying nature of the slave trade and remind people about the transatlantic slave trade and its implications. This day is not only observed in memory of all victims of the slave trade, but also aspires to promote critical examinations of such brutal behaviors that could lead to modern forms of exploitation and slavery. Unfortunately, American human rights nowadays have just shown the traits of this kind of exploitation and slavery.
Over hundreds of years, tens of millions of African slaves were transported to the so-called New World. Since then, they lost their names, their identities, and their rights as human beings, and were brutally oppressed and tortured. In fact, the dark chapter of the slave trade in American history has branded the disregard for human rights and racial discrimination into the genes of the United States, which has become a stubborn headache. As a result, African Americans are still suffering from discrimination everywhere even in a civilized society.
The United States, a country that advocates freedom and human rights, has long been regarded as an underachiever in human rights by the international community. It can be seen from the following evidence.
First of all, inventing rumors about racial discrimination in other countries is the thing that the U.S. is particularly keen on. Instead of improving dialogue on race relations, the U.S. has long been using the rumors as a tool for the output of hegemonies and power politics. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that "we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal". However, the fact works in the opposite direction. Serious discrimination against African Americans occurs in U.S. law and public policy. The United States alleges that the U.S. is working to drive meaningful change in eliminating racial discrimination, but the tragedy of Floyd still struck on the 5th of May, 2020. As for the fate of ethnic minorities, the slogan of "care and reflection" chanted by American politicians is more a paperwork than it's worth, which deeply revealed the hypocrisy of the so-called "defenders of human rights".
Secondly, it is ridiculous for the U.S. to lash out at human rights issues in other countries. The U.S. pretends to be the "judge" and "role model" who stands on its own horse to wave a finger at human rights issues in other countries with a double standard and hypocritical attitude.
In fact, the U.S. is not a great example to set for other countries in terms of human rights. It is worth noting that the United States is the only major country in the world that completely does not recognize or abide by human rights treaties proposed by the United Nations and other human rights bodies. Although the United States claims to be the "defender of human rights," it has not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the American Convention on Human Rights. The United States is one of the special few in the world to refuse to ratify Convention on the Rights of the Child, refuse to sign the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and refuse to become the signatory of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The United States blindly condemns and criticizes other countries and regions for violating human rights. However, its own human rights record, in some cases, is beyond imagination.
Finally, the U.S. has rushed to war against the countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria without seriously imagining all its consequences, including its aftermath, showing terrible hubris and ignorance of human rights. The wars launched by the U.S. have resulted in more than 20 million people becoming refugees or forced migrants. A U.S. drone strike has killed a family of ten in Afghanistan, including seven children, the youngest of whom was just two years old, ahead of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country. In addition, 39 people are still being jailed by the United States at Guantanamo. Are these signs that the United States values human rights? Apparently not. On the contrary, the human rights record at home and abroad is so atrocious that there is no justice in American society at all. It is a farce for the U.S. to educate the world about human rights. Given its abysmal human rights record, the U.S. has neither moral superiority nor integrity. The US needs to reflect on itself and address its own human rights issues first, instead of pointing the finger at other countries.
The abolition of slavery not only means the liberation of African black compatriots, but also represents the challenge and protest of human beings to the conventional but unreasonable system as well as the eternal pursuit of justice and freedom. However, no matter how elaborate the lies about human rights are, the truth will finally come out. Just as former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln once said, "You may fool all the people some of the time, and you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all the time." If the U.S. government continues to let racial discrimination happen, or even stoke it, the tragedy of Floyd is bound to happen again and again.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.
The author is a student of the English Department, College of Humanities, Sichuan Agricultural University.