Minority Health Archive

Structural Racism in the United States: A Report to the U.N. Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the occasion of its review of the Periodic Report of the United States of America

Menendian, Stephen and Spencer, Marguerite and Knuth, Lidija and Powell, John and Jackson, Sara and Fajana, Fran and Grant-Thomas, Andrew and Reece, Jason and Paterson, Eva and Rapp, Kimberly (2008) Structural Racism in the United States: A Report to the U.N. Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the occasion of its review of the Periodic Report of the United States of America. Working Paper. UNSPECIFIED.

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    Abstract

    As a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), 1 the United States is under an obligation to condemn and pursue a policy of eliminating racial discrimination, in all its forms (art. 2, ¶1). The U.S. has not taken seriously the duty under Article 2 of CERD to affirmatively address racial discrimination. Instead, the U.S. has rationalized racial discriminatory effects as not covered by U.S. law. Sometimes these effects are caused by explicit government polices. At other times they are caused by private actors. Frequently, it is a combination of both. The Convention defines racial discrimination (art. 1, ¶1) to mean distinctions, exclusions, restrictions or preferences based on race which have “the purpose or effect” of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any field of public life. CERD’s definition of discrimination is unequivocal: effects and racially disparate outcomes caused by individual action or government practices or policies, singularly or collectively, are of primary concern. Contrary to CERD, U.S. law defines racial discrimination more narrowly in at least two critical respects. First, with few exceptions U.S. law narrowly defines cognizable racial discrimination by requiring evidence of intent to discriminate. Section II demonstrates that such a requirement is contrary to the framework of CERD and does not reflect the real-world operation of discriminatory behavior in contemporary American society.


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    Item Type: Report Document or other Monograph (Working Paper)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Racial Discrimination; obligation to condemn; eliminating racial discrimination; rationalized racial discriminatory effects; government polices; contemporary American society; U.S. law; intent to discriminate
    Subjects: Health > Health Equity
    Practice
    Related URLs:
      Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
      Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2008
      Last Modified: 05 May 2011 13:34
      Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.pitt.edu/id/eprint/984

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