Geneva (AFP) – The United States should give African Americans reparations for slavery, UN experts said Tuesday, warning that the country had not yet confronted its legacy of “racial terrorism.”
Amid a presidential election campaign in which racial rhetoric has played a central role, the UN working group on people of African descent warned that blacks in the US were facing a “human rights crisis.”
This has largely been fuelled by impunity for police officers who have killed a series of black men — many of them unarmed — across the country in recent months, the working group’s report said.
Those killings “and the trauma they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynchings,” said the report, which was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.
Addressing the deeper causes of America’s racial tensions, the experts voiced concern over the unresolved “legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality.”
“There has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent,” the report said.
For the life of me, as a white American, I’m not sure what else I’m supposed to do about America’s history regarding slavery. I acknowledge it existed and that it was a deplorable thing. I support and advocate for laws and a culture that encourages and supports individual liberty – irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, etc. I condemn the slavery that continues to exist around the world today. How would making me, a person who never owned a slave and opposes slavery, pay a black person who shares my views somehow mend an injustice that neither one of us perpetrated or experienced?
Frankly though, it would be nice if the U.N. were more active in stopping slavery in the world today rather than trying to punish people in a country where slavery ended 150 years ago.