America: Cradle of democracy or habitat of institutional discrimination?

Published 27.11.2014 23:53
Updated 28.11.2014 01:55

After the incidents upon a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown in the U.S, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein called for "a determined effort to root out institutionalized discrimination in the U.S." Hussein said he was "deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African-Americans who die in encounters with police officers as well as the disproportionate number of African-Americans in U.S. prisons and the disproportionate number of African-Americans on death row."

And so the U.S. has received another serious warning from the U.N. Hussein also pointed out that protesting the grand jury's decision is an incontestable right, but it should not turn into vandalism. It is not a secret that the U.S. regards itself as a leader and more advanced from the rest of the world in terms of democracy. Actually, the U.S. is a unique example of democracy in the world with its complicated state and justice system and it has many positive aspects that might lead it to boast. However, the notion of democracy can never reach its final form of maturation there. Doubtlessly, the U.S. draws a quite bright picture compared to third world countries. But when one enters the country, it can be seen that its citizens have serious complaints. Especially blacks, Hispanics, the poor and immigrants.

Millions of people, including the abovementioned groups at their center, feel a serious distrust of their justice and law enforcement systems. Ongoing killings of black citizens who do not give much trouble to the offending officers, and the astronomic disproportion in the rates of unemployment, lack of education and poverty between blacks and whites means that the U.S. has considerable frailties because of discrimination, fair competition codes and equal treatment by the state, which are the most fundamental aspects of democracy.

"It is clear that at least among some sectors of the population there is a deep and festering lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement systems." Hussein called on U.S. authorities to analyze how race-related issues influence the justice and law enforcement agencies both on the federal and state level. Reminding that the concerns over institutionalized discrimination in the U.S. were repeatedly put forward on the agenda by the U.N. Human Rights Committee and national institutions, Hussein said the use of firearms by police should accord with the fundamental principles of the U.N. on the use of force and firearms.

The democracy claims of a country with institutionalized discrimination to such an extent will always only be rhetoric. If a country cannot manage to protect the lives of its own citizens who are targeted only because of their race or color of skin, its claims to export democracy to the rest of the world cannot be taken seriously. Unfortunately, the moral decadence that suggests that the rich are esteemed and smart while the poor are ontologically inferior is quite effectual.

The validation of the U.S.'s claims is directly proportional to improving the lives of disadvantaged groups of their society. Mr. Obama always underlined this subject during his election campaigns and victory speeches. However, a substantive improvement could not be provided on the subject of institutional discrimination.

The world needs the democracy of the U.S. Who knows, if the U.S. starts to value its own people, it might become a country that would not regard the deaths of 300,000 Syrians as a trifle. This would certainly favor the entire world.

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