Two weeks ago when black South Africans rioted against job losses to illegal immigrants, burning and beating to death more than 20, the United Nations special reporter on racism and xenophobia announced he was "saddened" by the violence, especially because it was happening in a country which "has liberated itself by fighting institutional racism."
In reporting the remarks of Mr. Doudou Diene of Senegal, who works for the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, United Nations Radio failed to mention exactly where Mr. Diene was while expressing his “sadness.” In fact, he was not at his home office, nor in South Africa itself where the violence rages, but in the United States on a special mission to investigate racism in America.
Happily, Mr. Diene was still in the U.S. last night when this country became the first in the developed Western world to nominate a black man to the highest national office.
Can Mr. Diene now cut short his trip and immediately fly home to Geneva with the good news that despite pockets of active racism on the part of whites against blacks (polling in Kentucky showed 1 in 5 white voters would not vote for a black candidate for president) and on the part of blacks against whites (Jeremiah Wright’s voluminous performances), it was clear an overwhelming number of white people in America no longer carried racist attitudes?
Don’t hold your breath.
For one reason, he has already scheduled a news conference June 6 to discuss his initial findings. For another, it must be noted Mr. Diene is an emissary of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which is dominated by notorious human rights violators, makes sport of condemning the United States for any number of supposed offenses, and which manages to overlook the member states’ own glaring violations at home.
So imagine what Cuba, Saudi Arabia, China and Libya want to hear about racism in America and how easily they will be able to overlook the glaring evidence that racism is on the wane in the United States: The historic victory of Senator Barack Obama, who is now the presumptive nominee of the Democrat party for the presidency and perhaps the world’s most prominent black man.
Since Mr. Diene is not scheduled to head back to Geneva until Friday, these post-election days will no doubt be spent uncovering evidence of white Americans refusing to vote for Senator Obama because he is black. (FOX News' own Jonathan Wachtel covered just such a hearing, in Harlem, where complaints of racism were predictably on parade.)
While the deadly racist and xenophobic fires still smoldered in South Africa’s anti-immigrant unrest, only a week later Mr. Diene was in Los Angeles visiting a job center, asking questions about racism of immigrant workers, presumably some of whom were illegal.
Diene wanted to know if the U.S. employers were racist. A group of workers who had traveled across country said yes, employers often asked the race of workers. But as Lisa Richardson of The Los Angeles Times reported they also said “there is less racism but employers are miserly.”
Not racist but cheap.
But not always. Richardson quoted a worker named Diego telling Diene, "The Irish? People of Irish descent? Very strict, very disciplined, very racist; but they pay you very well. Nineteen dollars an hour." (Please note, the workers themselves described their employers in racist terms.)
Following his briefing on Friday Diene will go home and soon will issue a report on American racism to the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
My two questions: Will he report that racism and xenophobia in Los Angeles is not burning immigrants to death in their beds, but is instead paying $39,500 a year? And further, in building a case of a racist America, how will Diene explain Barack Obama?
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