IV. On Racial Discrimination
Ethnic minorities in the United States have long been suffering systemic, widespread and institutional discrimination. And racial discrimination has become an indelible characteristic and symbol of American values.
Ethnic minorities have low political, economic and social positions due to discrimination. The number of ethnic people in civil service is not proportional to their population.
New York Times reported on June 23, 2011, that the number of Asian Americans in New York City has topped one million, nearly 1 in 8 New Yorkers, but only one Asian-American serves in the State Legislature, two on the City Council and one in a citywide post of the New York City.
According to the annual report released by the National Urban League of the U.S., African-Americans' 2011 Equality Index is currently 71.5 percent, compared to 2010's 72.1 percent, among which the economic equality index declined from 57.9 percent to 56.9 percent, and the health index, from 76.6 percent to 75 percent, and the index in the area of social justice, from 57.9 percent to 56.9 percent.
Ethnic Americans are badly discriminated against when it comes to employment. It was reported that the unemployment rate of Hispanics rose to 11 percent in 2010 from 5.7 percent in 2007 (The New York Times, September 28, 2011).
The unemployment rate of African Americans was 16.2 percent. For black males, it's at 17.5 percent; and for black youth, it's nearly 41 percent, 4.5 times the national average unemployment rate (CBS News, June 19, 2011).
Nationally, black joblessness stands at 21 percent, rising to as high as 40 percent in major urban centers like Detroit (The Wall Street Journal, August 31, 2011).
In Ziebach County of South Dakota, a community mainly composed of native-Americans, more than 60 percent of the residents live at or below the poverty line, and unemployment rate hits 90 percent in the winter (The Daily Mail, February 15, 2011).
A study shows that of the seven occupations with the highest salaries, six are overrepresented by whites (Washington Post, October 21, 2011).
The poverty rate of African Americans doubles that of whites, and the ethnic minority groups suffer severe social inequalities. According to a report by the Pew Research Center released in June 2011, the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households (pewresearch.org).
In 2010, poverty among blacks rose to 27.4 percent, and poverty among Hispanics increased to 26.6 percent, much higher than the 9.9-percent poverty rate among whites (www.census.gov).
A Pew Research Center report says the lopsided wealth ratios among whites, Hispanics and African-Americans in 2009 were the largest in the past 25 years (pewresearch.org).
According to an investigation done by the Washington-based Bread for the World, "black children are suffering from poverty at a rate of nearly 40 percent, and over a quarter of Blacks reported going hungry in 2010." "The figures are both startling and very telling," said the Rev. Derrick Boykin (www.amsterdam.com).
Ethnic minorities are denied equal education opportunities, and ethnic minority kids are discriminated against and bullied at schools. According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau on June 8, 2011, in 2008, among 18-to 24-year-olds, 22 percent were not enrolled in high schools for Hispanics, 13 percent for African-Americans, whereas only 6 percent for whites (www.census.gov).
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said on October 28, 2011, one third of American students are bullied at schools, and Asian American children bear the brunt. The teases and insults they get in cyber space are three times more compared to kids from other ethnic groups. A research finds 54 percent of Asian-American students have been bullied at schools, 38.4 percent for African-Americans and 34.3 percent for Hispanics (World Journal October 29, 2011).
Ethnic minorities and non-Christians are also badly discriminated against in the fields like law enforcement, justice and religion, rendering the so-claimed ethnic equality and religious freedom nothing but self-glorifying forged labels.
A New York Times story (December 17, 2011) says the New York Police Department recorded more than 600,000 stops in 2010 and 84 percent of those stopped were blacks or Latinos. It was reported that black non-Hispanic males are incarcerated at a rate more than six times that of white non-Hispanic males (World Report 2011: United States, www.hrw.org).
On December 1, 2011, the American Civil Liberties Union said that "the FBI is using its extensive community outreach to Muslims and other groups to secretly gather intelligence in violation of federal law." (Washington Post, December 2, 2011)
A survey by Pew Research Center finds that 52 percent of Muslim-Americans surveyed said their group is under government's surveillance, about 28 percent said they had been treated or viewed with suspicion and 21 percent said they were singled out by airport security (articles.boston.com).
More than half of Muslim-Americans in a new poll said government anti-terrorism policies single them out for increased surveillance and monitoring, and many reported increased cases of name-calling, threats and harassment by airport security, law enforcement officers and others (Washington Times, August 30, 2011).
Illegal immigrants also live under legal and systematic discrimination. It was reported that after Arizona passed its anti-illegal immigration bill, the State of Alabama began implementing its immigration law on September 28, 2011. The Alabama immigration law provides differentiated treatments to illegal immigrants in each of its term, rendering their daily lives rather difficult. Critics argued that the law runs counter to the U.S. Constitution and to certain terms in relevant international human rights law regarding granting equal protections to illegal immigrants (www.hrw.org).
The New York Times reported on May 13, 2011, that the State of Georgia passed an anti-illegal immigration law which outlaws illegal immigrants working in the state and empowers local police officers to question certain suspects about their immigration status. Illegal immigrants suffer ferocious maltreatments. Internal reports from the Office of Detention Oversight of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) revealed grave problems in many U.S. detention facilities for immigrants, including lack of medical care, the use of excessive force and "abusive treatment" of detainees (The Houston Chronicle, October 10, 2011). A report released on September 21, 2011, by an Arizona-based non-profit organization revealed that thousands of illegal immigrants detained across the border between Mexico and Arizona are generally maltreated by U.S. border police, being denied enough food, water , medical care and sleep, even beaten up and confined in extreme coldness or heat, suffering both psychological abuse and threats of death (The World Journal, September 24, 2011).
Native Americans are denied their due rights. From January to February 2011, UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya lodged two accusations against the United States, including accusing the Arizona State government of approving the use of recycled wastewater for commercial ski operations on the San Francisco Peaks, a site considered sacred by several Native American tribes (www.forgottennavajopeople.org), as well as the case of imprisoned indigenous activist Leonard Peltier. Peltier was sentenced to life in prison in 1977 for alleged murder of two FBI agents. However Peltier has been claiming he is innocent and persecuted by the U.S. government for participating in the American Indian Movement (www.ohchr.org).
On April 26, 2011, Ms. Farida Shaheed, independent expert in the field of cultural rights, Mr. Heiner Bielefeldt, special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, and Mr. James Anaya, special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, of the UN Human Rights Council, jointly lodged accusations against the U.S, claiming that the city of Vallejo, California, is planning to level and pave over the Sogorea Te, held sacred to indigenous people in northern California, in order to construct a parking lot and public restrooms (www.treatycouncil.org).
Race-motivated hate crimes occur frequently. According to an FBI report, 6,628 hate crime incidents were reported in 2010, 2,201 of which were against African Americans, 534 against Hispanics, and 575 against whites. And 47.3 percent of all were motivated by racial bias, 20 percent by religion, and 12.8 percent by an ethnicity/national origin bias (ww.fbi.gov).
According to a report released by the Center for American Progress in August 2011, seven American charitable groups, over the past decade, had spent 42.6 million U.S. dollars on inciting hatred against Islam communities (The New York Times, November 13, 2011).
There are three active white supremacy groups in the city of San Francisco, which focus on attacking ethnic minorities and immigrants (www.abclocal.go.com). On November 10, 2010, two Mexican Nationals were beaten by a group of whites who were members of these organizations (www.sfappeal.com). According to investigation, black men aged 15 to 29 years old were most likely to be victims of murders. In New York City, they make up less than 3 percent of the city's population but in 2010 represented 33 percent of all homicide victims (The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2011).
The sufferings of civil rights activists who oppose racial discriminations arouse attention. The Huffington Post reported on May 31, 2011, Catrina Wallace, a civil rights activist in Jena, Louisiana, was sentenced to 15 years in prison by authorities only based on a drug dealer's accusation. Previously, Wallace had taken part in organizing a 50,000-people protest against racial discrimination that won freedom for six Black high school students. The article deemed the sentence was revenge taken by authorities on Wallace's human rights activism. "I am a freedom fighter," she says. "I fight for people's rights."