Earlier this week the UN rebuked the United States for recent displays of racism. Nserine Malick writes:
A UN committee charged with tackling racism has issued an “early warning” over conditions in the US and urged the Trump administration to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject discrimination. The warning specifically refers to events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the civil rights activist Heather Heyer was killed when a car crashed into a group of people protesting against a white nationalist rally. Such statements are usually issued by the UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination (Cerd) over fears of ethnic or religious conflict. In the past decade, the committee has only issued six warnings. Those admonishments went to Burundi, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria.
You may have the impression that the ugliness in Charlottesville is something new. But those familiar with the history of the United States know that what happened in Virginia is as old as the Republic itself. The problem is that economic inequality brings out the worst in people. It rips a country's culture asunder:
Civilisations are undone in many ways, not all of them obvious. We tend to think of decline along military or economic lines but it is actually a nation’s culture, particularly in terms of equality, that determines its civilisational credentials. America’s descent into what looks like a full on race crisis is graphically dragging it down the “development” scale. Reality is closing in on the country’s exceptionalist self-perception.
In difficult times, the rights of minorities always come under attack:
It is no coincidence that the rights most easily dislodged and taken back – whether it is those of transgender members of the military or Muslim US citizens of certain origins – are those of minorities. Even in the United Kingdom, it is no coincidence that the first jubilant spasm after the Brexit vote was manifested in a rise in hate crime. It is no coincidence that making America great again, or taking back control, inevitably involves wanting to claw back whatever little space was ceded to diversity and equality. This reclamation lies at the very heart of the US and UK’s modern nation-building.
The Trump Administration is following a well trodden path. The UN simply pointed that out -- and called for a change in direction.