Statement To United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descendants
Baltimore January 21, 2016
My name is Professor Vernellia Randall, I am here representing Racial Justice Now!.
I am DAEUS or Descendant of Africans Enslaved in the United States.
DAEUS are indigenous to the United States of America. The existence of DAEUS in the United States resulted from a unique confluence of historical events that brought Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans together, creating the so-called “New World” of the Americas based on Atlantic worlds of economic, cultural, and political connections. DAEUS is racially and ethnically unique created out of the horrors of slavery and legal apartheid. Unlike Native Americans, we have no prior connection to the land of the United States. Unlike immigrants we have no identifiable connection to any particular country as a group - nor did we come voluntarily. We are indigenous people to the United States and should be treated as such.
The United States was established with a distinctive legal framework that espoused freedom and democracy while brutally suppressing people of African descent who were regarded as property and chattel. Over 544 years, in three primary phases of American racial history, the law has been used to oppress people of African descent: the invention of racial slavery, the re-creation of slave-like conditions through legal Apartheid (also known as Jim Crow) and the re-creation of Jim Crow through the new American Apartheid. Each of these phases has been characterized by slavery or neo-slavery, legally enforced discrimination and legally sanctioned violence as a control mechanism.
As DAEUS, no one in my family has been free of legally enforced racial oppression. My Great-Great Grandmother, Sara was born of enslaved Africans in 1815; Her Son Manlis was born enslaved in 1845. He never experienced freedom. My Grandfather, Tom Randall was born during legal apartheid 1870. He never experienced freedom. My Father, Ernest Randall, was born during legal apartheid in 1916. He never experienced freedom I was born during legal apartheid, 1943 and have lived to see the reenslavement of black people in the New Legal Apartheid. My Sons, Tshaka and Issa, have only known the New Legal Apartheid. Will the New Legal Apartheid be dismantled before my five-year-old Grandchildren, Makai and Ajani, are negatively impacted. Probably Not!
In part because the New Legal Apartheid is not recognized as a system of enslavement. Of which police brutality and killings is a symptom not the disease. It is essential that the UN Working Group on People of African Descent strongly address dismantling the system of neo-apartheid and not just symptoms.
Slavery, Legal Apartheid, and the new American legal apartheid has had a profound impact on Descendants of Africans Enslaved in the United States. It continues to have an effect. Unfortunately, the actual nature of the impact is unknown because the United States fails to recognize the unique relationship it has with DAEUS., fails to study the status, fails to collect data. By treating all Blacks without distinction, to the racial history, the United States continues to deny responsibility for the harm it has caused my people.
RECOMMENDED QUESTIONS FOR THE UNITED STATES
Does the United States recognize that the situation of Descendants of Africans Enslaved in the United States (DAEUS) is different from whites and other racial minorities including immigrant blacks? Why? Why not?
What studies has the United States done on the status of Descendants of Africans Enslaved in the United States? When was the last one done? What recommendations came out of the study? When is the next study?
RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE UNITED STATES
I. Amend census and data collection category to have a category for DAEUS (Descendants of Africans Enslaved in the United States).
II. Conduct racial impact study on all policies and laws with particular attention to the impact on DAEUS.
III. Revise anti-discrimination law to conform to obligations under CERD and to outlaw all forms of racial discrimination including reckless discrimination and negligent discrimination.