Racial Terrorism is far from over and reparations are an idealistic dream of the oppressed

Politics and Society

Racial Terrorism is far from over and reparations are an idealistic dream of the oppressed

A recent report by a U.N. affiliated group based in Geneva argues that the United States history of slavery justifies reparations for African Americans that could include but not limited to, “a formal apology, health initiatives, educational opportunities … psychological rehabilitation, technology transfer and financial support, and debt cancellation.”

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The finding was part of a study by the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. The group that reports to the international organization’s High Commissioner on Human Rights presented their conclusions to the United Nations Human Rights Council in March. The working group found that the current injustices occurring in the country are linked to the darkest chapters in US history.

“In particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent,” the report read. “Contemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching.”

The report warned that the repetitive killing of unarmed black men at the hands of police was due to “impunity for state violence,” which has created what they call a “human rights crisis” that “must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

“Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today,” it said. “The dangerous ideology of white supremacy inhibits social cohesion amongst the US population.”

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Read: Remembering the victims of slavery – and learning from them

The report drew parallels to extrajudicial murders that came from an era of white supremacy where similarly perpetrators were not held accountable:

“Lynching was a form of racial terrorism that has contributed to a legacy of racial inequality that the United States must address. Thousands of people of African descent were killed in violent public acts of racial control and domination and the perpetrators were never held accountable.”

Unfortunately the panel’s recommendations are nonbinding and unlikely to influence Washington. As it presented its findings it hailed the strides taken to make the American criminal justice system more equitable whilst pointing out the corrosive legacy of the past.

The Windrush generation

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Similarly across the pond the effects of colonialism are still devastating for members of the commonwealth. Immigrants who came to the UK from Commonwealth countries decades ago by invitation of the crown also referred to as the “Windrush generation” have been threatened with deportation, refused jobs or healthcare due to the home secretary’s new immigration strategy.

Despite their plight being branded a “day of national shame” the government has played down the significance of newly-discovered arrival records held by the National Archives on thousands of the Windrush generation. It said those documents which are ship passenger lists rather than the landing cards the Home Office destroyed in 2010, do not provide evidence of long-term residency in the UK which was “key to demonstrating the status of the Windrush generation”.

Read: Why the election of a black senator won’t make a dent on racism in Italy

The Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates some 50,000 Commonwealth-born people in the UK, who arrived before 1971, may not yet have their residency status regularized even though anyone living in the UK continuously since before January 1 1973 is legally entitled to live in the UK.

A growing number of people who now have to prove their immigration status, despite such odds working against them, have been affected by the new rules, losing access to healthcare, their jobs, or made homeless because they lack sufficient paperwork to prove they have the right to be in the UK.

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This forceful repatriation of immigrants, despite the fact they had forged productive lives and raised children (legal citizens) over several decades is similar to what Trumps administration is doing in America. Both countries even with a documented history of enslavement and racial terrorism seem to not only be blasé about reparations for their role but ready to infringe on the human rights of the groups they have oppressed for generations.

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