Recently, one has seen more and more reports in various media about the alleged commitment of Western countries to fight racism. Against this backdrop, monuments to slave owners and colonialists on both sides of the Atlantic are defiantly demolished, and various initiatives to “eradicate racism” are increasing.
Whereas students at American high school Park Hill South in Missouri have created a petition demanding the return of slavery, The Kansas City Star reported the other day.
And Newberg, Oregon high school officials alerted parents about local students participating in a Snapchat group called Slave Trade, in which American students were allegedly posting photos of their black classmates “for sale.” As Insider notes, the messages were accompanied by racist and homophobic comments – for example, calling for a “new holocaust.”
Against this background, the UN General Assembly held a conference on racism at its regular 76th session to mark the 20th anniversary of adopting the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action to combat racial discrimination. It should be recalled that twenty years ago, leaders worldwide gathered in Durban, South Africa, to confront the pernicious effects of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance. The meeting, called the World Conference Against Racism, adopted the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), a comprehensive conceptual document that reflects the world’s commitment to fighting the scourge of racism in all its forms and manifestations.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres began the recent conference on racial justice in New York by explaining why it was needed in the first place. In particular, he pointed out that “xenophobia, misogyny, hateful conspiracies and white supremacy and Neo-Nazi ideologies are spreading – amplified in echo chambers of hate”.
In her 2021 report, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemns widespread systemic racism and stresses the need to reform discriminatory institutions, legislation, policies, and practices to eradicate it. “Systemic racial discrimination extends beyond any expression of individual hatred… It results from bias in multiple systems and institutions of public policy, which separately and together perpetuate and reinforce barriers to equality… We need to openly condemn all messages – especially political messages or discourses – which disseminate ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, or which incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance,” stressed High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
However, the United States and some other Western countries, who did not take part in this event, demonstrated a de facto boycott of this meeting, which was noticed by many media. The absence of former colonial powers to acknowledge past mistakes and respond to calls for reparations was increasingly striking. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on colonial countries to pay for slavery, though the US has traditionally rejected the demand since 2001. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel criticized rich “capitalist countries” for trying to divert attention away from their historical debts, while Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China stressed: “The relevant countries should at least have the courage to face up to this disgraceful past, and take measures to end the sufferings caused by their practices.”
The call for appropriate reparations for the victims of racism and slavery is becoming louder and louder in many Western countries. And one such person called for $14 trillion in reparations for African Americans became the first black billionaire in the United States, Robert Louis Johnson. In his interview with Vice News, the entrepreneur and founder of the Black Entertainment Television network Robert Louis Johnson also admitted that he himself would like to receive such a payment. As Insider notes “the figure could equate to roughly $333,400 per person, based on 2019 data from the US Census Bureau that showed there are approximately 41.9 million African-Americans in the US.” The Insider explains “the wealth gap between Black and white Americans exists for many reasons. The effects of redlining in the housing market, differences in education, homeownership, lower wages, unconscious and conscious biases, have all contributed”. Johnson, now 75, told Vice News that a $14 trillion payout would be enough money to close the wealth gap.
But, instead of a genuine fight against racism, several Western countries continue to demonstrate their pseudo-activities against this background. Thus, English Touring Opera (ETO) dismisses more than half the company (fourteen white opera performers who faithfully served the company for over twenty years) to “demonstrate compliance with modern requirements” and in accordance with the recommendations of the Arts Council England, which clearly calls for “increasing racial diversity.” Such British actions had already caused a storm of indignation in enlightened Europe. Thus, the French Le Figaro published an interview with Zhang Zhang, the first violinist of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra. She calls things by their proper names, stressing that this decision has nothing to do with music. It is purely ideological. The famous violinist is immensely surprised by this fact, noting that in other parts of the world, there are orchestras made up entirely of Asian, African, or Hispanic musicians, but they are not criticized for the lack of inclusion of minorities to suit ideological trends.
Meanwhile, as reported by The Independent, the British government has found discrimination against blacks and Gypsies in the new Police Bill to be “objectively justified.” In a comment for The Independent, Liberty Foundation spokeswoman Jun Pan said: “The government’s attempt to justify the proposed measures, which it admits are discriminatory, is an insult to the millions of people who will be affected by this Police Bill. The fact that the government itself admits that these measures are discriminatory means that they should not exist at all, much less be legalized.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that hate crimes in the US broke a 12-year record. Data published by the publication shows that last year the number of incidents of aggression against black Americans increased nearly 40% and against Asian Americans increased almost 70%, further supporting an earlier view that the White House is inciting racism against people of other racial backgrounds. And the fact that, according to a poll, nearly 60% of Americans believe that racism is an extremely serious problem for the United States has already been reported earlier by The Hill.
Unfortunately, this did not prevent Western countries from blatantly ignoring the UN initiative on holding a conference on racial justice in New York, thus showing to the world their genuine attitude towards this problem.
Vladimir Odintsov, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.