Is Biden admin right to invite UN to investigate American ‘systemic racism’?


Fact Box

  • Systemic racism” or “institutional racism” refers to how ideas of White superiority are captured in everyday thinking at a systems level, from laws and regulations to education.
  • On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, the Biden administration invited the United Nations to investigate systemic racism in the US. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “I urge all UN member states to join the United States in this effort, and confront the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia. Because when all people - regardless of their race or ethnicity - are free to live up to their full potential, our collective security is strengthened.”
  • In response, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley criticized the administration for addressing human rights while “China has one million Uyghurs in concentration camps, Cuba is beating protesters, and Venezuela is torturing political prisoners.”
  • In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted July 9-12, 2021, over half of Americans believed society was racist, while 40 percent disagreed. Most are aware of racial discrimination, but are “divided over the prevalence of bigotry and its root causes.”
  • The murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, was the catalyst for “nationwide protests” against racism and police brutality. Other recent victims of alleged police brutality include, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor, and Daunte Wright.

Joanna (Yes)

By inviting the UN to investigate the United States’ systemic racism, Biden demonstrates that he’s a president who heeds the voices of his country. A thorough look at America’s systematic policies is what citizens have been advocating for and working towards since the tragic murder of George Floyd. And many Americans feel it is long overdue, considering the country’s sustained history with racism.

It’s that history and the fact that reparations for it have been few that such an investigation into the United States is rightfully warranted. The systemic racism that the administration refers to seeps deeply into our institutions, from policing to corporations. Racism is evident even in housing appraisals, as The Washington Post reports “the industry is coming under increased scrutiny as Black homeowners complain that their homes are being appraised for less than those of their White neighbors. 'Further, certain states have never eradicated local Jim Crow laws. Because of examples like these, it’s clear the investigation must look beyond any one individual’s responsibility. Institutions, legislation, and other regulations will presumably all need to be examined for a proper scope of what racism really means in America. 

America’s systemic racism affects the rest of the world, too, and it has historically been considered a global issue. Even today, Black Lives Matter demonstrations occur internationally. An international entity like the UN holds merited interest in the United States’ human rights and social issues, so their perspective could be immensely beneficial in keeping the country held accountable. Secretary of State Blinken confirms, stating that America should not “shrink from scrutiny of their human rights record; rather, they should acknowledge it with the intent to improve.” This invitation demonstrates the country’s willingness to participate in a global evaluation.

Louis (No)

President Biden's decision to invite the UN to investigate systemic racism in the United States is another step on the self-destructive path that he's leading the country down. 

Sen. Tom Cotton summarized the Biden Administration's collaboration with the UN perfectly as he compared it to a metaphorical 'kick me sign to the back of the nation.' As UN representatives 'investigate' systemic issues regarding race in the United States, they are most likely exposed to data and surveillance that would otherwise be left unmonitored. Most importantly, however, this move is an embarrassment to the nation and exudes weakness on the part of the most uniquely thriving country on the planet.

The president undoubtedly has a responsibility to address the nation's flaws; however, the current state of America has never been more equal and prosperous for all races. The unemployment rate for African-American men in the US reached an all-time low recently, hitting 5.3% in October of 2019. Taking the definition of systemic racism into account, a low unemployment rate suggests that opportunity and prosperity exist within the Black community; laws and regulations enable the equal pursuit of economic growth.

This move is a way for the president to project an illusion of effort towards 'solving' police brutality. However, a groundbreaking 2019 study revealed that White police officers are not more likely to shoot minority suspects. 

Perhaps Joe Biden should instead allow the UN to focus on dire matters such as the economic crisis of Cuba, the political turmoil of Haiti, or the genocide that is taking place in China. To use the UN as a political prop proves to the world that the Biden Administration itself is the actual systemic failure.

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