Many Americans have been compelled by the recent mass protests to seek a fuller understanding of United States history and particularly the African American experience in that history, up to and including ongoing racism, discrimination, and violence against people of color. Black bookstores in particular are being flooded with orders for literary works that portray African American experiences, historical studies that chronicle U.S. history from an African American experience, and books that offer sociological analyses of race and racism in the U.S. Even Amazon Prime created a category featuring films and television shows about African American life, culture, and history.
The United Nations’ Human Rights Council will debate systemic racism and police brutality in the United States following a call from all 54 African nations.
“Structural racism and police violence are issues, which are commonly raised by states and civil society at meetings of the council, as are unlawful killings by police and racial bias in policing,” U.N. human rights spokesman Rolando Gomez told Voice of America. “And, the aim, of course, is to prevent such abhorrent acts.”
The announcement comes as protests continue to galvanize millions across the nation to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Council caved to public pressure last week, unanimously passing a resolution to disband the police force with a community-led model.
“The tragic events of 25 May in Minneapolis that led to the death of George Floyd led to protests around the world in protest of injustice and police brutality that persons of African descent face on a daily basis in many regions of the world,” Burkina Faso’s ambassador to the U.N., Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri, said in the formal urgent debate request. “The death of George Floyd is unfortunately not an isolated incident. Many other cases of persons of African descent having faced the same fate because of the origin and police violence exist.”
The United States is not a member of the 47-member state forum in Geneva. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley withdrew the U.S. two years ago after alleging bias against Israel.
Recent polling indicates that an overwhelming number of Americans, close to 75%, support the protests, inspired by George Floyd’s murder, against racism and police brutality. This approval, polls reveal, stretches across party lines and racial lines.
During a hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis, Ohio Senator Steve Huffman (R), who also happens to be an emergency room physician, asked if “the colored population” is more disproportionately impacted by the novel coronavirus because they “don’t wash their hands as well.”
“My point is I understand African Americans have a higher incidence of chronic conditions and it makes them more susceptible to death from COVID,” Huffman said. “But why doesn’t it make them more susceptible to just get COVID?”
Fox News personality Tucker Carlson is facing a wave of criticism after using the classic PBS show Sesame Street as an example of “decades of relentless propaganda.”
“All of it designed to make us feel that we have no right to stand up for ourselves, to stand up for our country,” he said. “We are too sinful to resist, we deserve whatever we get. Shut up and take it, America.”
Carlson said Sesame Street, which was featured during a CNN town hall about the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests against racial injustice and police brutality that his death sparked, was teaching children that “America is a very bad place, and it’s all your fault.”
A clip from the event shows Elmo’s dad Louie explaining racism in a way children can understand.
“They are sad and upset, and they have every right to be Elmo. People are upset because racism is a huge problem in our country,” Louie says. “Racism is when people treat other people unfairly because of the way they look or the color of their skin. Not all streets are like Sesame Street. On Sesame Street, we all love and respect one another. Across the country, people of color, especially in the black community, are being treated unfairly because of how they look, their culture, race and who they are. What we are seeing is people saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ They want to end racism.”
“Not all streets are like Sesame Street. … What we are seeing is people saying 'enough is enough.' They want to end racism.”@Elmo’s dad Louie explains why people are protesting across the US. https://t.co/icV04F4FNW #CNNSesameStreet pic.twitter.com/1efrMAzZ8V
John Lewis has called on the American people to band together and elect former Vice President Joe Biden. The Civil Rights icon made an impassioned plea on Sunday.
Lewis, a Democratic congressman, urged a vote for Biden in an email to Biden supporters over the weekend. He framed November’s election as a last chance to save democracy.
“This President threatens the democracy I spilled blood to protect,” the fundraising email begins.
“Since the day he took office, I’ve witnessed this President turn a blind eye to hatred in this nation and refuse to protect American citizens from violence and discrimination.”
“I watched this President rip newborn infants from their mothers’ arms, put them into cages, and leave them separated for weeks on end. I refuse to let his reign of terror continue.”
“He must be stopped. And we are the only people who can stop him.”
“If – and only if – we band together, will we elect Joe Biden and save our democracy.”
“None of us can do it alone. I know better than anyone it takes a group of people taking a stand.”
“We’re fighting for the very soul of our nation,” Lewis wrote.
“I can’t overstate the urgency of defending our democracy against this dangerous President.”
The highest ranking African American in Congress has branded the President a racist. Jim Clyburn accused Donald Trump of wanting to start a race war with his response to recent protests.
Clyburn is the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives. On Wednesday, he offered fierce condemnation of the President.
“In all my public life, I have never put the racist label on anybody until now,” the House Majority Whip said in an interview with The Post and Courier.
“He is an unadulterated racist,” Clyburn said.
He explained that he first started to think of Trump as a racist when the President referred to Omarosa Manigault-Newman as a “dog”.
Clyburn also criticized Trump’s reaction to the George Floyd protests. He added his voice to those who’ve slammed the President for his desire to use military force.
“What I’ve seen him do in the last several days, this man is trying to ignite a race war in this country,” Clyburn said.
The South Carolina Democrat also criticized Trump in an interview on CBS.
“It seems as if the president considers the exercise of one’s First Amendment rights to be carnage,” he said.
“How we define it, generally, he has contributed to it more than any president in my lifetime. I don’t think any president since maybe Woodrow Wilson.”
President Wilson, a Democrat, was a notorious racist.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has delayed anti-lynching legislation, saying “there has to be some give and take” on the measure’s language.
“We want the bill to be stronger. We think that lynching is an awful thing that should be roundly condemned and should be universally condemned. I don’t think it’s a good idea to conflate someone who has an altercation where they had minor bruises, with lynching,” Paul said.
“If you’re gonna call something an anti-lynching bill, but you’re gonna have a new conspiracy charge for someone who has minor bruising, we don’t think that’s appropriate. And someone has to read these bills and make sure they do what they say they’re going to do rather than it be just a big PR effort,” Paul added.
When members of the press asked for clarification on what Paul meant by “minor bruises” and requested he spotlight specific language he wishes to see removed, Paul’s office referred to one of his statements.
Paul’s statement reads: “The bill as written would allow altercations resulting in a cut, abrasion, bruise, or any other injury no matter how temporary to be subject to a 10-year penalty. My amendment would simply apply a serious bodily injury standard, which would ensure crimes resulting in substantial risk of death and extreme physical pain be prosecuted as a lynching.”
Paul’s aides said he’d objected to the measure’s language in recent weeks but that his concerns were sidelined because of the coronavirus pandemic. The current delay comes during an especially tense moment as protests rage across the country in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis and whose killing sent shockwaves around the world.
Pope Francis commented on the protests that have erupted since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, saying that Catholics cannot tolerate racism and also “claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.”
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life,” the pope said. “At the same time, we have to recognize that ‘the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost.'”
Pope Francis says he is joining the Church in Minneapolis, and across the U.S., “in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.”
His full remarks are below:
“I greet the English-speaking faithful joining us through the media.
“Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.
“My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life. At the same time, we have to recognize that “the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost”.
“Today I join the Church in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and in the entire United States, in praying for the repose of the soul of George Floyd and of all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism. Let us pray for the consolation of their grieving families and friends and let us implore the national reconciliation and peace for which we yearn. May Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America, intercede for all those who work for peace and justice in your land and throughout the world.
“May God bless all of you and your families. “
CNN political commentator Van Jones recently issued a stark challenge to, and indeed indictment of, supposedly well-meaning White America, speaking in the wake of the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and in the midst of mass uprisings and protests responding to the never-ending violence against African Americans.
Last Tuesday, former President Barack Obama gave his much-anticipated endorsement of his former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy.
The endorsement was expected, of course, despite the wait Obama imposed, which seemed likely attributable to his preference to time his speech in the wake of Bernie Sanders’ own endorsement of Biden, creating a crescendo effect.
A friend of mine who runs his own small law firm texted me the other day after the financial relief package aimed at helping small businesses stalled in the Senate. Worried over his dwindling ability to keep and compensate his employees, he blamed the Democrats and declared he’s voting for Trump. The Democrats showed themselves, once again, to be “out of touch,” he felt, with the reality of American lives.
The United States now has the highest rate of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world at 86,000. As the White House grapples with heavy criticism regarding its delayed response, Donald Trump Jr. took to Instagram to share a racist meme about the crisis.
“Hahahahaha “The Kung-Flu Kid,” he wrote about a clip of his father beating the coronavirus in a brawl.
A post shared by Donald Trump Jr. (@donaldjtrumpjr) on