As UN Special Rapporteur Doudou DiÃ¨ne visits cities in the United States and San Juan, Puerto Rico, to investigate the problem and impact of American racism at home, the Senegalese lawyer will be presented with a much different picture of the United States than the image government leaders and officials like to broadcast to the world.
The accounts that Mr. DiÃ¨ne will hear won’t be laudatory tales of how America was a refuge and a land where a lamp lit the way to the golden door of opportunity. With testimony from Black Americans and others who have suffered in the heart of the self-proclaimed world’s greatest democracy, the ugly side of America and her centuries of racial oppression, division and exploitation will emerge.
When the UN investigator opened his tour May 21 in Harlem, Black activists and ordinary people came forward to share tales of horrific and fatal encounters with police, an education system that fails to teach Black children and the stories of political prisoners hidden away inside the United States. In Chicago, during a two-day visit, witnesses spoke May 24 of Black men away without adequate medical care, ridden with bed sores and denied medicine that might have eased his suffering, if not improved his condition.
The special rapporteur will hear the truth about America from the viewpoint of those who have been the despised and the rejected and whose bodies fill prison warehouses and create jobs for rural White communities just as slave ships trafficked in Black bodies to build the economy of this country.
Blacks have fought for freedom and equality in America from the time the soles of our feet hit the shores of this nation. We have tried to prove our loyalty, dying first in the Boston Massacre that helped ignite the Revolutionary War and separation from Britain, acting as loyal servants and law abiding second class citizens. We have made moral appeals, spiritual appeals and legal appeals to the minds, hearts and judicial and political structures of this country. But the disparity remains and our condition worsens.
We have tried to take our case to the international realm, with innovative Black thinkers who believed “the Negro problem” and America’s response could not be relegated to the biased courts of this land.
This latest attempt to highlight the disparity and hypocrisy of America by having Blacks testify before an international investigator about the truth of their condition is laudable. Truth is the thing the oppressors and the liars fear most, so any time truth can be spoken and shared, it shakes the fragile foundation on which the oppressors and exploiters have built their power. Uncovering a well-dressed lie to reveal the naked truth can open eyes and inspire action to oppose racially motivated wickedness and wrongdoing.
The image of the two Black brothers clasping hands in unity on the masthead for the Muhammad Speaks newspaper was symbolic of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s divine understanding that the so-called American Negro need not simply appeal to the slave master alone, as if no one else existed on the planet. “We live in a government that has always yielded and sided with the murderers and those who slay us and our people at home and abroad–anywhere the Black man may be on the earth. You should realize that your Black brother is your Black brother wherever he is on the face of the earth. Look at your brother in Africa who has been dominated by the Europeans and the other White races of the earth. He is fighting for a chance to shake off the shackles of the open enemies,” wrote the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, in “Message to the Black Man,” which was published in 1965.
His top student, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, has embarked on World Friendship Tours to build relationships with nations around the earth and build strong partnerships that will enable the Black community to progress and take care of itself. Such work should have been lauded because a healthier Black community means a healthier America. But his work was denounced as cavorting with dictators and thumbing his nose at the American establishment. Neither was true and it should come as no surprise that the work of a good man was maligned by those who wish to dominate the planet and live in luxury while the masses of the people suffer poverty and want.
The activists and groups associated with efforts to highlight the Black struggle before the international community should expect vehement opposition, underhanded assaults, and outright attacks on their organizations, their motives and their character.
America has always opposed those who demanded change and reform in the society, especially when the plea came from the children of her ex-slaves or someone of a darker hue.
When Mr. DiÃ¨ne delivers his report to the UN Human Rights Council for review by the UN General Assembly, the gathering place of nations, in 2009 it should be a scathing indictment of the United States based on the terrible reality under which Blacks and other non-White groups live. We should not allow political considerations–or even a new political administration headed by Barack Obama–to muzzle the passionate expression of legitimate grievances.
The report would be much more powerful if the groups operating regularly within the United Nation’s non-governmental structure would commit to major outreach to other Black organizations in America and seek a united front that generates continued reports, analysis and testimony after Mr. DiÃ¨ne departs America after June 6. The DiÃ¨ne report on racism should be used as a tool to organize this year and strengthen relationships between Black churches, mosques, community groups, civil rights organizations, political groups, student organizations, clubs, fraternities and sororities. These groups should be asked to help sponsor forums and compile information that attests to the Black condition in America.
Even if the United Nations itself buckles under U.S. pressure, which is sure to come, our continued effort to build unity at home only makes us stronger and makes our voice on the international scene louder.
As Min. Farrakhan has consistently warned Black America cannot simply sit and wait for the oppressor to have a sudden change of heart or hope a mystery God will improve our condition. If America will not change and give us justice, we must be strong enough to strike out and create a separate reality for ourselves and any nation with a sense of justice will applaud our action.