Wednesday, April 25, 2018

African Descendants

African-Americans Within the Context of International Oppression

Kevin D. Brown

Kevin D. Brown, African-Americans Within the Context of International Oppression, 17 Temple International and Comparative Law Journal 1 (Spring 2003) (52 Footnotes Omitted)


There is a philosophy woven into this comment. Life is lived through conflicting and competing systems of meaning, which provide alternative explanations of the world around us. Phenomena that force themselves into our consciousness must be comprehended in order for them to make sense. To understand and experience something, it must be conceptualized against a background or horizon of knowledge. These larger unseen, and often unperceived, streams of consciousness provide the conceptual contexts to place given events into "proper" context. Understanding of individual phenomena, therefore, is more in the nature of comprehending a part of a pattern of understanding that is present in its whole. Focusing on a given phenomena is being consciously aware of only a part of the conceptual scheme at that given time. The rest of the cognitive framework is providing the structure and limitations for comprehension of what is consciously understood.

I. Introduction

One of the significant advantages of being a professor at Indiana University School of Law has been the number of opportunities afforded to me for extensive travel through the developing world. Over the past few years, I have taken full advantage of these opportunities. In the winter and summer of 2002, I spent approximately six weeks traveling through the Republic of Ghana. Ghana is generally recognized as the country in Africa where the ancestors of African-Americans departed from the African continent. In the winter of 2002, I spent over six weeks in the Republic of Nicaragua, splitting my time equally between the Pacific coast, which was colonized by Spain, and the Atlantic coast, which was colonized by Great Britain. In the spring of 2001, I spent a month at what many consider to be the best private law school in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan, Adilet Law School. This provided me with an excellent opportunity to see how those in the former Soviet Union are adjusting to the sweeping changes in their lives that have been brought about by the end of the Cold War and the former Soviet Union's embrace of capitalism. In the fall of 2000, I spent ten days in Kenya visiting an HIV/AIDS awareness program, which was conducted in an area of Kenya where, according to Kenyan government statistics, it was estimated that over 25% of the adult population was HIV-positive. I have also spent time in both Mozambique and Namibia. My visits to all of these developing countries, however, were preceded by longer stays in both the Republic of India and the Republic of South Africa. Six years ago, I spent five months in India as a Fulbright lecturer, where I was based at the National Law School of India University in the southern Indian city of Bangalore and the Indian Law Institute in New Delhi. This visit was followed by three different trips to the Republic of South Africa, including stays with the law faculty of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and the law faculty of the University of Capetown in Capetown.

The courses I teach, as well as my research agenda, are driven by a desire to comprehend the invisible thought forms that structure and limit the conceptualization of racial phenomena, how racial issues are debated, and how racial conflicts are resolved in the United States. My focus is primarily upon the historic racial divide between those who are now referred to as "African- Americans" in contrast to those who are now referred to as "non-Hispanic whites." These designations clearly point to the huge change in the racial/ethnic demographic landscape of the United States that took place in the latter half of the twentieth century and is continuing to shape this country in the twenty-first century. These new cognomen reflect the reality that U.S. society has moved beyond the dichotomy of the black/white paradigm that predominated U.S. racial understanding for such a long time.

When I was asked to write this comment, I reflected long and deep on what I should discuss. Few people will have the desire, ability, and opportunity to travel as extensively through the developing world as I have over these past few years. Family commitments, personal predilections, health limitations, occupational requirements, and financial constraints will restrict where even the most adventurous sojourner is able or capable of going. If this universe of potential travelers is limited to those who have made the study of black/white racial conflicts in the United States the primary purpose of their lives, then the universe of potential individuals shrinks immeasurably. It is with the realization that my experiences represent a small universe of people that I seek to convey in this comment, the most essential lessons that I have learned through my exposure to the developing world, and consequently the most important knowledge that I could convey to anyone else.

There are three critical lessons that I have learned from my travels. I do not want to sound like an apologist for the United States or excuse either the history or the vestiges of racial discrimination that African-Americans suffer in the United States. The reality of my experiences overseas, however, has shown me that in other areas of the world, there exist forms of oppression that are far worse than what African-Americans experience in the United States. Second, groups around the world who suffer from more virulent forms of oppression within their society have used the struggle by African-Americans as a source of hope, inspiration, and insight for their own struggles against oppression. Finally, more than just the condition of African-Americans is at stake in the struggle against subordination based upon hereditary characteristics in the United States. If African-Americans succeed in obtaining equality, other oppressed groups will draw inspiration of moral and legal legitimacy within their own country from that success.

I was cognitively aware of these lessons in some vague sense before traveling overseas. Spending time in these countries and examining the effects of other forms of oppression and concomitant struggles against these forms, however, allowed my consciousness to cross an intellectual chasm. In crossing that divide, these lessons passed from a state of general cognitive awareness to a deep fundamental change in everyday consciousness. As an African-American, the most important realization that I have been left with as a result of those lessons, is a positive set of beliefs regarding the accomplishments and the historical struggles of African-Americans, which I was unable to obtain prior to understanding our global impact. Simply put, I now live with a permanent awareness of a far more positive conceptual scheme in which to view African- Americans.

In order to illuminate my positive international perspective on the accomplishments and struggles of African-Americans, it is necessary for me to point out the most important understanding I have derived from my study of the black/white racial conflicts in the United States. Sixteen years of teaching and writing about racial issues in the United States has disclosed that our comprehension of the black/white racial phenomena, our discussions about black/white racial issues, and our suggested resolutions to black/white racial conflicts in the United States are not reflections of a given or true reality. That is, we do not talk about a single truthful perception of a given racial phenomenon. Rather, our understandings of these matters are products of diverse ways of thinking that structure and limit how racial phenomena are perceived and, thereby, how discussions about racial issues and proposals for solutions are carried out and debated. These ways of thinking can be referred to as "systems of meaning," "horizons of knowledge," "patterns of understanding," "streams of consciousness," "conceptual schemes," or "cognitive frameworks." These systems of meaning generate distinctive interpretations and incommensurate understandings for the comprehension of the same racial phenomena and, thus, produce diverse discussions about the same racial issue and potential resolutions for any given racial conflict.

To further explain what I mean, I want to look at the socio-economic condition of African-Americans as twenty-first century unfolds. It is clear, to even the most obstinate observer of race relations, that significant improvement in the social, political, educational, and economic conditions of African-Americans can be seen in virtually every phase of U.S. life. Many of the changes that have occurred over the past fifty years can accurately be described as "stunning." Race is currently less of a factor in limiting the opportunities of blacks than at any other time in this country's collective past. Nevertheless, African-Americans still lag far behind non-Hispanic whites in terms of social, economic, educational, and political power. For example, when adjusted for inflation, the per capita income of African-Americans increased by 250% from 1967 to 2000. Yet, it was only 65% of that of non- Hispanic whites' per capita income in 2000. According to the U.S. Census in 1959, 55.1% of the black population, 65.6% of children under the age of eighteen, and 62.5% of those over the age of sixty-five lived below the poverty line. In the year 2000, these percentages were down to 30.9%, 30.7%, and 22.3%, respectively. Yet, for white non-Hispanics in the United States, the corresponding figures were 9.4%, 8.8%, and 8.3%. The percentage of blacks ages eighteen to twenty-four enrolled in higher education increased from 20.4% in 1975 to 29.8% in 1997. The college completion rate for African-Americans over the age of twenty-five has increased from 4.5% in 1970 to 14.7% in 1998. As impressive as this increase has been, it does not equal the percentage increase of whites over the same period. The percentage of non-Hispanic whites enrolled in college increased from 27.4% to 40.6% and the percentage over the age of twenty-five that had completed college increased from 11.6% to 25%. The infant mortality rate for African- Americans has fallen by 50% from 22.2 per 1,000 live births to 14.0 between 1980 and 2000. But, it is still far higher than the non-Hispanic white infant mortality rate that fell from 10.9 to 5.6 over the same period. The life expectancy of black males increased by more than eight years from 1970 to 2000, and the life expectance of black females increased by nearly seven years during the same period. Yet, the figures from 2000 still show black males living six and one-half years less than non-Hispanic white males (68.3 and 74.8) and black females living five years less than non-Hispanic white females (75.0 and 80.0). In 1998, some 4.3% of lawyers and judges, 4.9% of physicians, 4.1% of engineers, 19.4% of police and detectives, and 5.8% of college and university teachers were black. These percentages were almost negligible fifty years ago. The 2000 census shows that 10.6% of those employed in executive, administrative, or managerial positions are African- Americans. In 1999, however, blacks constituted 46% of the 1,711,400 persons in either state or federal prison or local jails. For every 100,000 people in the United States, 2,489 blacks were locked up, compared with only 378 non-Hispanic whites.

There are four basic horizons of knowledge against which racial phenomena, such as the current socio-economic condition of African-Americans, are generally perceived. For purposes of this comment, I will call these four different systems of meaning - Traditional Americanism, African-American Centricity, Secular Individualism, and American Collectivism.

Historically, the dominant beliefs in U.S. society have not been the progressive individualist attitudes that began to emerge in the 1950s and 1960s. The United States' traditional culture ("Traditional Americanism") - traditional in the sense that its roots are driven deep in the history of U.S. society - took for granted the conquest and extermination of the indigenous peoples found here, the exclusion and subordination of women, the repression of the immigrant European working class, and the closeting of homosexuals. When it came to judging people of African descent and their place in society, they were looked upon as the paradigmatic inferior group contained within the shining shores. Thus, the United States' traditional - and during most of its history its dominant - cultural view of African-Americans was based upon a belief that in some relevant way, blacks were less than the applicable norm. When comprehending the current socio-economic position of African-Americans, this conceptual scheme would explain the continued deficit in the socio- economic condition of African-Americans in terms of some deficit or deficiency within African-Americans. The failure of so many African-Americans to earn a decent living, their poor performance in educational institutions, the lack of cognizance of health concerns, and the propensity of black males to be involved in the criminal justice system are understood as evidence of the continued existence of some defect in either the biology or culture of African-Americans.

During the long struggle against their racial oppression, African-Americans created a counter discourse to that of Traditional Americanism. "African- American Centricity" provides an alternative explanation of the role and experience of blacks in U.S. society. The struggle against racial oppression is the dominant theme of African-American Centricity's alternative view. Rather than viewing African-Americans as inferior, this counter discourse sees African-Americans as oppressed. Thus, the source of the deplorable material, social, spiritual, and economic condition of the black community is, has been, and will continue to be individual, systematic, and/or institutional racism. Within the landscape of this horizon of knowledge, the deficient condition revealed by the above socio-economic statistics is understood as evidence of the continued virility of racism. The disproportionate numbers of blacks consigned to poverty, the lack of educational opportunities, the poor health conditions, and the disproportionate numbers of black males incarcerated are all understood as the physical manifestation of racial subordination.

With the Civil Rights struggle beginning in the 1950s and continuing to the 1990s, another significant perspective about the role and condition of African-Americans emerged. "Secular Individualism" is adequately summarized by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream that people be "judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character." This cognitive framework seeks to undermine both Traditional Americanism and African American Centricity about the role and condition of African-Americans. In Secular Individualism's stream of consciousness, dealing with the issue of race is largely deemed to be irrelevant. This pattern of understanding seeks to minimize the focus on racial aspects of a given phenomenon. People should be judged and understood as individuals and not as members of involuntary racial or ethnic groups. It seeks to reduce the differences in the socio-economic condition of blacks and whites in the United States by trying to identify which are traceable to non- racial factors such as the differences in age, family structure, region of the country, education, and other considerations of the two groups that are unrelated to race. This stream of consciousness would also argue that such statistics are of minimal importance because the real issues are generally related not to racial and ethnic groups, but individuals. Group-based statistics tell us nothing about the particular individual in a specific situation being dealt with at any given time.

The fourth and final cognitive framework conceptualizes the social world as populated by one group - U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, condition of mental or physical disability, wealth, social status, education, or region of the country are united into one great people. The motto is accurately captured in the phrase "E Pluribus Unum" - out of many one. The focus of this cognitive framework is and has always been on furthering the goal and destiny of the U.S. nation. The maintenance of the nation is the paramount concern. The only other goal, objective, and concern is the best interests of the U.S. collective. Within this cognitive framework, the suffering of a portion of the U.S. community can be justified if it is outweighed by the benefit to the whole community. To focus on the parochial interest of a given group, like African-Americans, would miss the importance of the collective. Within the boundaries of this cognitive framework, the social statistics above must be interpreted within the larger context of the nation as a whole.

I mention these four systems of meaning for two different reasons. First, these perspectives are all national views of the status and conditions of African-Americans. They look at blacks solely within the context of U.S. society. Second, individual African-Americans such as Richard Parsons, Chairman of the Board of AOL-Time Warner, Colin Powell, or Condoleezza Rice can be praised for their accomplishments within Secular Individualism. Similarly, African-Americans who helped to advance the interest of the nation such as Crispus Attucks, the first man to die for the United States, the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment that fought valiantly during the Civil War, or the Tuskegee Airmen can be praised within American Collectivism. None of these conceptual schemes, however, provides a positive interpretation of the collective role and history of African-Americans. The most positive understanding of African-Americans is probably that generated by African- American Centricity, which portrays blacks as engaged in a historical struggle to overcome their oppression. Even within this system of meaning, in order to find positive images of African-Americans, however, it is necessary to situate them within a context in which they are oppressed. Thus, blacks are confined to viewing their social-economic situation against an already existing cognitive framework, which portrays their condition as a deficient one.

It was with the understanding that positive views of African-Americans could not be easily obtained within the boundaries generated by the conceptual schemes of thinking about race in the United States that I began my travels to the developing world. When I applied for the Fulbright, I literally had to answer the question, "Where in the world should I go?" I wanted to use my sojourn to improve my comprehension of race in the United States. More can be learned about the limits and structures of the patterns of understandings used in the United States to think about black/white racial conflicts when examined against the background of a completely different society. India was the best country to visit; South Africa was the second best choice.

As is common, a single fundamental objective produces a number of relevant criteria. First, there had to be a group in the country analogous to African- Americans in the United States. The country had to have at least one hereditary group of people who had suffered a long history of subordination. India has a hereditary group that has been subjugated for centuries, if not, millennia. That group would be those who comprise the "outcastes," also formerly known as "untouchables," but who now refer to themselves as Dalits, which translates to "broken people." Apartheid history in South Africa produced a society where the white minority subjugated the black majority. Second, the country needed to be as culturally different from the United States as possible. These two nations contrast with the United States in some very deep and enduring ways. The United States is a developed nation. India is a developing nation. South Africa has a developed first world society contained within a larger developing nation. The United States is a rich nation. India is a poor nation. South Africa has a rich nation within a poor nation. The United States is populated primarily by whites. India has an overwhelming abundance of brown-skinned people. South Africa has a white minority within a predominately black nation. Finally, because of my own limited linguistic skills, the country had to be one where English was the primary or, at least, a secondary language. English is the language of power in both India and South Africa. Thank the U.S. academic gods for the British Empire! During the time when Britannia ruled the waves and the sun never set on the British Empire, both India and the area that now constitutes the Republic of South Africa fell to its colonial influence.

I want to add a quick caveat before proceeding. I do not pretend to be, nor make any claim of being, an expert in either Indian or South African society. My exposure is far too brief for any such claim. All I seek is to point to the impressions I have as an African-American who journeyed through these countries for a brief period of time.

II. Dalits in the Republic of India

For a U.S. citizen who has never been to a "developing country," the initial impressions of India are overpowering. As one traveler put it, "India assaults all of your senses." Arriving in India is an in-your-face, up-close, and personal introduction to the meaning that resonates behind such phrases as "third world nation," "poor country," and "abject poverty." By U.S. standards, this is a country infested with massive destitution and material deprivation. One is surrounded by thin, frail-looking people, which is an extraordinary contrast to the robust appearance of U.S. citizens. There are so many people who live on the streets in the major urban areas that the concept of homelessness, which causes so much consternation in the "land of plenty," has little meaning.

It is in the context of such a poor society that the Hindu caste system takes on its real import. The caste system is the predominant characteristic of the Hindu social organization. The essence of the Hindu caste system is the arrangement of hereditary groups into a hierarchal social order. Another significant aspect of the caste system is that it actually conceives of social superiority in terms of religious superiority. For hundreds, if not thousands, of years, the caste system assigned occupations to entire groups of people based on birth. Under pressures of urbanization, nationalism, modernization, and globalization, the rigidity of the caste system is showing some signs of weakening. However, it continues to influence and regulate much of Hindu life, especially in rural areas.

For the purpose of simplicity, the caste system can be viewed as broken down into four major distinct castes or varnas. This simplification is sanctioned by one of the most important Hindu creation myths contained in the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad. Because of their dominance in the caste system, the first three of these groups are also collectively referred to as "high caste Hindus." The caste system teaches high caste Hindus that their position of advantage is a divine privilege attributable to good karma that has accumulated over many prior lives. High caste Hindus came to enjoy a virtual monopoly on education, industry, trade, and commerce.

The Shudras, the lowest caste, are the largest caste consisting of over 50% of India's 900 million people. The duty imposed upon the Shudras is to serve the other three castes. The Shudras were stigmatized, compelled to perform menial labor, and prevented from earning and accumulating wealth.

In discussing issues of hereditary subordination, I could discuss the situation of the Shudras; however, I will focus on a group that is actually below them. There is a fifth group of Hindus that constitutes approximately 16% of the Indian population (about the same percentage of the Indian population as the three higher castes) who are considered outside of the caste system. These are Dalits. Dalit means broken, oppressed, or downtrodden. The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad does not refer to the Dalits. Dalits have traditionally been considered polluted by virtue of their hereditary occupations. Dalits were - and for the most part, still are - confined to doing the worst work in India. Dalits take care of trash and body disposal, maintain the sewage system, clean toilets, work with dead animals, collect cow manure and turn it into cooking fuel, labor in the fields, work on leather, and dig the wells for water. For centuries, if not millennia, the Dalits were denied what are now considered to be the most basic human rights. They were denied access to Hindu temples, prohibited from drawing water from public wells (often the very wells that they themselves dug), told not to walk on the road in broad daylight, compelled to wear dirty clothes - if they were allowed to wear clothes at all. Their housing was separated from caste Hindus and placed on the outskirts of town. In a society of deprivation and destitution, Dalits are the most deprived and destitute. A strong case could be made that the Dalits are the most oppressed group of people in the world, if not in all of human history.

The writers of the Constitution for the Republic of India in 1949 recognized the tragic situation of the Dalits and sought to alleviate the worst aspects of their condition. The Indian Constitution outlaws untouchability and also incorporates the principle of preferential treatment for Dalits. Jobs in both central and state government employment and civil service are reserved for them, as well as places in admission in educational institutions.

According to Government of India statistics in 1986-87 only 21.38% of Dalits were literate, 16% lived in urban areas, 48% were agricultural laborers, 4% were employed in industrial occupations, and 50% lived below the poverty line (compared to 30% for the entire population). A survey of forty- one educational institutions showed that Dalits constituted only 0.61% of the professors, 1.04% of the associate professors, and 3.16% of the lecturers. In addition, regardless of the uplift efforts aimed at the Dalits and the prohibition against untouchability, a "number of recent sociological studies indicate that, despite all the changes that have occurred in the past sixty years, the idea of their inherent pollution continues to be what sets Dalits apart."

My initial Fulbright placement in India was at the National Law School of India University in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. My office at the Law School was located next to that of Professor Japhet; Japhet had been teaching at the Law School for five years. What made him stand out on this faculty of about thirty law professors, however, is that he was the only Dalit professor.

Japhet had followed the advice of B.R. Ambedkar and rejected Hinduism. A Dalit, Ambedkar received his legal training at the University of Bombay, Columbia University in New York City, and the University of London. Ambedkar had been a sharp critic of Mahatma Gandhi and became the chief spokesperson for the Dalit cause during India's drive for independence in the 1940s. Gandhi always argued for a united India that would ignore religious and caste differences. What this meant to Ambedkar was that caste Hindus would be in control of this united India. He felt that caste Hindus could not be counted upon to adequately protect the interest of the Dalits, the very people they had oppressed for so many years. Shortly after independence from Britain, the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, offered Ambedkar the cabinet position of Minister of Law. In this capacity, Ambedkar was the chair of the drafting committee for India's new constitution. Ambedkar, however, continued to despise Hinduism and converted to Buddhism, preaching the message that Dalits could never get a fair deal as Hindus.

Japhet talked often about the reality of the continued discrimination faced by Dalits in their every day lives. He discussed the difficulty that Dalits have in starting businesses. Caste Hindus typically do not patronize Dalit business establishments. Given the rampant poverty among the Dalits, there is not enough money circulating within Dalit communities that can be used to build profitable businesses. Japhet discussed rampant housing discrimination against Dalits. While it is illegal, it is still very common practice. If Dalits do not own their own home, the only places they can live are in areas that through social practices have been reserved for only them. Most Dalits are still barred from entry into the homes of many caste Hindus, especially upper caste Hindus. This law professor at one of India's leading law schools confessed that many of his upper caste Hindu colleagues and law students would not let him into their house if they knew he was a Dalit! The information that Japhet told me would be tantamount to a black professor, at say Boalt Hall, Texas, or Columbia Law School being told that he or she was not welcome in the home of a white law student in his or her class!

Hearing Japhet describe the living conditions of Dalits was inadequate to convey what it meant to be a Dalit. In order to acquire a better understanding of the conditions that Dalits were fighting, Japhet arranged for me to visit several different types of Dalit communities in and around Bangalore. On these expeditions, two Dalits who were also Ph.D. candidates at Bangalore University accompanied me. Among the communities we visited were a small agricultural village located outside of Bangalore and an urban community located only about five miles from the Law School.

On our way to the agricultural village we passed by people working in shallow open sewers. These workers were among the thousands I observed doing this while in India. Most of the sewers in India are not underground, thus not out of sight or smell. Instead, they are shallow, open ditches dug two to three feet beneath ground level. There are people who constantly work at keeping the sewage refuse flowing properly with hand-held instruments. This work requires the laborers to stand in raw sewage up to their knees. My two guides confirmed what I already knew. The people who do this appalling and disgusting work are Dalits.

Our company arrived at the first village in the early afternoon. Unlike the United States, India is still primarily a rural and agrarian society. This village could have been any one of 150,000 similar villages in India. There were about 400 inhabitants. The people who lived there did farm work for one of the upper caste Hindus. The structure of the village was reminiscent of the antebellum plantations of the U.S. South. Somewhat separated from the worker's quarters was the house of the family who owned this agricultural estate. It was by far the largest and nicest structure on the manor. This house was hidden from view by a tall brick wall and shaded by a number of large trees.

The part of the village where the Dalits lived was criss-crossed with the familiar open sewers. As we approached the first row of Dalit houses, I could see that they were small duplexes located on either side of what appeared to me at first to be a dirt pathway. As I found out later, this initial impression was wrong. One of my guides pointed out that the dirt path between the houses was not dirt, but dried cow dung. Cow dung is not only used as a major source of cooking fuel in India, but it also acts as a natural mosquito repellent. Cow dung is smeared around the bottom of the houses to act as a barrier to mosquitoes. People also spread it on the floors of their houses and then sleep on mats on the floors. This way their sleep is undisturbed by the feasting of little bloodsuckers.

As our group approached the first house, I saw a man in a stooped position furiously beating a stalk of grain against the ground. The stalk that he was beating landed precariously close to a woman holding a small baby. She was also in a stooped position on the ground culling through the remnants of the beaten stalks. We went up to talk to the man to find out what he was doing and why. As it turned out, the woman was his wife. He told us that he was manually separating the seeds that were inside the grain from the stalks. The seeds would be used to feed the cows and the horses. I found it hard to get my mind around the reality that this couple's job - their lot in life, the function they performed in this society - was to manually separate seeds from grain stalks for animal feed.

From outside, I could see that the lay-out of this home was similar to most of the others in this small community. Most of the homes contained less than 200 square feet of living space. They were constructed out of dried, lightweight clay bricks that had none of the weight and strength normally associated with that building material in the United States. I could easily break these bricks with my bare hands. The bricks were covered with a coating of white paint. The roofs of these small houses were dried clay tiles. There was a small window about eighteen inches square approximately two feet from the front door.

The wife showed us the inside of their modest two-room home. To call the home modest actually conveys a much nicer image than the perception. It is true that this family had a roof over their heads, but they seemed to have little else. There was a small living room of maybe ten feet by ten feet. The usable space in this room, however, was significantly reduced. About half of the room was covered with the grain stalks that the man was beating so furiously on the ground outside. With the grain taking up such a large amount of space, the appearance and feel of the living room was more like a horse stall in a farmer's barn than a house. Even though we arrived during midday, it was very dark inside of the house; there was no electricity. The only light came from the one small window beside the door and two very small windows situated in the ceiling. In the United States, skylights are considered a luxury. There was no hint of luxury, however, in these two small rectangular windows cut into the tiled roof. The back room was considerably smaller than the front one. It contained a small cooking area with an open fire. This family used dried cow dung as fuel to cook their meals. Ventilation for the smoke was provided by a small hole in the ceiling. This house had no bathroom to use for taking care of nature's necessities, no faucet that one could turn on to get water, no phone to allow you to reach out and touch someone, no bed to sleep upon, no table to eat upon, and no couch to rest upon. In fact, there was no furniture of any kind, nor were there any pictures or other decorations to adorn the walls and provide a homey, comforting feel of familiarity.

As we walked through the village, I noticed that not all of the houses measured up to the "luxurious" condition of the first one our company visited. Some of the houses were smaller, barely containing enough space for a grown person to stretch out inside. In some homes instead of clay tiles, the roof was constructed out of dried grass covering pieces of dark plastic. In some homes, the front door was simply several planks of wood that had been haphazardly nailed together.

The other Dalit community we visited was located near the law school. The most striking feature about this neighborhood was how neatly laid out it was. This neighborhood consisted of neat rows of dried grass huts giving it the appearance of a model community that had been meticulously constructed pursuant to a precise space utilization plan.

This planned community was situated in a valley and bounded on two sides by one of the main open sewage creeks for the city of Bangalore. As one could imagine, the air enveloping these homes was always noxious and foul. My guides confirmed that this neighborhood had been constructed for Dalits by the government. The thought that these people lived in a "planned community" kept running through my mind because it was a difficult idea to process. The location of this community was not the result of happenstance or uncontrollable fate, but of conscious human deliberations. Someone in the governmental bureaucracy had decided that this should be the place to locate a community of fellow human beings. A government official had decided to spend the money to construct a community in a valley on the banks of a large sewage ditch for the benefit of the inhabitants.

As we approached this community, it was near dusk and we could see a mist rising from the ground beneath the huts of this community, enveloping it in a thin fog. I did not know what the mist was and felt like I did not want to inquire. Sometimes, it is best not to know too much. Sometimes, it is best to let some questions remain unasked. This was one of those times. I already knew enough to know that living there was an experience in human misery.

As a law professor at one of India's best law schools, Japhet was highly regarded within the Dalit community. After my visits to the Dalit communities, Japhet invited me to accompany him to a rally of Dalits to be held in the coast city of Mangalore. Japhet was one of three main speakers at the rally that was attended by over 80,000 people in a huge soccer stadium. The rally was of Dalits who had converted to Christianity. They sought to change the Indian Constitution so that they would qualify for the reservations for Dalits provided for by the Indian Constitution. The current constitutional provisions only allowed Dalits who professed to be Hindus, Buddhist, or Sikhs to qualify for reservations. It excluded those Dalits who converted to Christianity.

The first pleasant, and unexpected, shock that I experienced as an African- American in that soccer stadium occurred when I noticed the only sign on the speaker's podium. This sign was in English and stated the familiar phrase from the black civil rights movement of the 1960's, "We shall overcome!" When I later discussed this sign with Japhet, he talked about the inspiration that Dalits have taken from the African-American struggle in the United States. I now better understood his extensive discussions of how Dalits had come to revere African-American leaders like Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Japhet constantly and emphatically stated that Dalits and black Americans are brothers in the collective struggle against oppression.

The second shock occurred when I listened to the message of one of the other two speakers who took the podium that day. He spoke in English and described himself as one of the leaders of the Dalit Panthers. He went on to note that the Dalit Panthers were created for the self-defense of Dalits in June of 1972 and were named in honor of the Black Panther Party and for the ethic of the Panther, who fights without retreat. Not only was the name of the Dalit group taken from the Black Panthers, but the positions of the office- bearers were picked up from them as well.

The Dalit Panthers recognize the revolutionary nature and aspiration of the masses in India and have called for the redistribution of land and the elimination of the caste system. They are dedicated to obtaining justice and social rights for the Dalits. The organization was born out of the frustration with the inefficacy of parliamentary politics and acknowledges that violence is an inevitable part of social change. The Dalit Panther Manifesto, released in 1973, states:

Due to the hideous plot of American imperialism, the Third World, that is, oppressed nations, and Dalit people are suffering. Even in the United States, a handful of reactionary whites are exploiting blacks. To meet the force of reaction and remove this exploitation, the Black Panther movement grew. From the Black Panthers, Black Power emerged. The fire of the struggles has thrown out sparks into the country. We claim a close relationship with this struggle.

It was in this soccer stadium with 80,000 Dalits that I took a new view of the role and position of African-Americans. The Dalits were not drawing lessons of inspiration from George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Kennedy, or Lyndon Johnson, but from the African-American civil rights struggle. For the first time, I came to see that the dedication, strivings, pain, and suffering of African-Americans were purchasing hope for other people oppressed in their societies. African-Americans were helping to give hope to the most hopeless people on the planet.

III. Black Africans in the Republic of South Africa

South Africa presents a different view on the issue of hereditary subordination and oppression. The Republic of South Africa - with its white minority rule - was synonymous with "racism and racial discrimination on a massive scale." Tensions between black Africans and whites had long existed in southern Africa, but the institution of apartheid policies could be traced to the national elections held in 1948. The ultra-conservative National Party - dominated by Afrikaners - won electoral control of the South African government on an explicit platform of apartheid, which literally translates to "a state apart." Instituting apartheid plunged South Africa full tilt into explicit racial politics at a time when the rest of the post-World War II world was adamantly rejecting beliefs based on racial superiority. The National Party maintained political power until 1994, when the first democratically elected government took over.

The concepts that underlie apartheid were the division of the population into four racial groups - Asians (predominately from India), blacks, coloreds, and whites. Subject to the needs of whites to exploit the labor of blacks and coloreds, the four groups were to be physically separated and pursue their own development. Pursuant to these polices a number of major pieces of legislation were passed by the South African Parliament. In 1949, Parliament passed the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, followed a year later by the Immorality Act. These two acts made mixed marriages and sexual relations across racial lines illegal. In 1950, the Population Registration Act was passed. Pursuant to this Act, the country's population was officially classified into various racial and ethnic groups. A classification board was set up to rule on close classification cases. The Group Areas Act was also passed the same year. That Act created racially exclusive zoning for residential areas. In 1953, after a court ruled that segregation of public facilities was not lawful, Parliament adopted the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act to legalize such separation. Access to areas, particularly those reserved for whites, was carefully controlled and the exclusion of other groups from those areas was subject to police enforcement. Since blacks provided the labor for most of the country, they had to be permitted access to the areas reserved for whites. An elaborate system of pass laws was created to provide official permission for those blacks who needed, during working hours, to be in areas reserved for whites. By the late 1960s, over 600,000 people were being arrested annually for violating the pass laws.

The ultimate goal of apartheid was to produce a permanent white political majority in South Africa. This was to be done by creating homelands for the blacks (and perhaps colored people) where alternative political provisions could be made for them, leading to some form of independence. In 1955, a commission chaired by F. R. Tomlinson produced a report, the Socio- Economic Development of Bantu Areas, which became the basis for the homeland policy. South Africa began a policy of creating homelands that were to become exclusive enclaves for various black ethnic groups. The official propaganda on the homelands was that they would become self-sufficient and self-governing states on traditional lands of the black tribal groups. Eventually, the country's 75% black population was to be housed on the 13% of the country's land allocated to the homelands. Blacks were divided into ten different ethnic groups. Regardless of where they lived or where they were born, each black was made a citizen of one of the homelands. The blacks were not supposed to be outside of the homelands without permission. Millions of people were forcefully resettled as a result of the creation of the homelands.

The National Party pursued these political policies in part because of their religious convictions. The Christian worldview of the Afrikaner is enshrined in the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (NGK), referred to in English as the Dutch Reform Church. The Dutch Reformed Christian movement was derived from John Calvin's Swiss Reformation in the first half of the sixteenth century. The Calvinist religious tradition manifested itself in a particularly racist way in South Africa. In the Afrikaner reading of the Bible, God instituted divisions among humans. Particular solicitude is given to the story of the destruction by God of the Tower of Babel. After the destruction of the Tower, the Lord went down and confused the language of the people and scattered them throughout the earth. "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other. So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth." For the NGK, by such a division and confusing of the language, God revealed his will that people should live in separate cultural or ethnic units. Thus, an amalgamation of the races is contrary to the expressed will of God. Being divinely ordained by God, these differences among people and languages shall persist until the end of time. Support for this position is derived from the New Testament Matthew 24:7. Here, Jesus describes the end of time by noting that one of the signs will be nation arising against nation. In Matthew 24:14, Jesus also indicates that this gospel will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.

The NGK also believes there are fundamental and ineradicable differences in personality traits and characteristics that exist between discrete peoples; some ethnic groups are more talented, virtuous, intelligent, stronger, and more creative than others. These differences are held to be God's will; thus, neither races nor humans can alter these differences. According to the NGK, humankind must accept them as part of God's global scheme. Finally, the NGK believes that God assigns to each nation its own particular mission. Some missions are more glorious than others, but all are decreed by God. Through carrying out that earthly mission, each nation serves God.

The NGK teaches that God created the Afrikaner nation for a special mission. Thus, the colonization of South Africa by the Dutch that began in the area that later became Capetown in 1652 was not fortuitous, but part of God's master plan that is unfolding in history. They believed that God was on the side of the Afrikaners in their wars against the native African peoples and that their victories were divinely ordained. Afrikaners are people chosen by God to help the blacks become self-supporting bearers of Christian civilization. Thus, Afrikaners were required to remain in Africa as the principal bearers of the Christian religion and Christian civilization, on a mission not just for Afrikaners, but also for the sake of the indigenous African population. Believing that the black Africans could become civilized and converted to Christianity, however, did not eliminate the fact that the black African was different from and inferior to the white. The divine task of the Afrikaners included supervising the development of the indigenous African peoples.

The conversion to majority rule left South Africa with a legacy of abuse, oppression, and stark economic, social, and educational disparities based on race. Blacks constituted 76% of the estimated 40,436,000 people in South Africa in 1994, in contrast to whites at only 12.8% of the population. Depending on the definition of unemployment used, the unemployment rate for blacks in South Africa in October of 1995 was between 20.8% and 36.9%, compared to a rate of 3.7% to 5.5% for whites. For 1996, the average family monthly income for blacks was $288 compared to $1,635 for whites. In other words, the average family income for blacks was only 17.6% of that of whites. The estimated infant mortality rate for 1996-2001 was 53 per 1,000 births for black Africans compared to 17.1 for whites. Life expectancies for black males during the years 1991-96 were 59.8 years and 66.8 for females. This contrasts with 69.5 years for white males and 76.6 for white females. Of the nearly 77,000 degrees, diplomas, and certificates awarded by higher education institutions in 1995, 53% were awarded to whites and only 35% were awarded to blacks.

The signs of this disparity in material conditions of the different racial groups are ubiquitous. While in South Africa, I spent time in each of its three major population centers - Durban, Capetown, and Johannesburg. I toured a number of the informal settlements also known as "shanty towns" and "squatter camps" and also spent a considerable amount of time in the rural areas. Everywhere I looked, the disparities between blacks and coloreds on the one hand and whites on the other, were readily apparent. They were apparent in the quality of the clothing and shoes that people wore, in the forms of transportation used by the different groups, in the homes in which the people lived, in the business areas to which each group had easy access from their residential areas, in the condition of the schools that their children attended, in their leisure activities, in short - in their different ways of life.

Many commentators are fond of noting that South Africa is a country of contrast; parts of the country are in the first world while other parts are in the third world. Because of majority rule, some blacks have moved to first world status, but the first world in South Africa still refers primarily to the world of the whites. The third world is an accurate description of most of the world of the black South Africans, along with most of the colored South Africans.

A good example of what it means to say that the first world is next to the third world in South Africa struck me when I spent time in Sandton, one of the luxurious suburban areas surrounding Johannesburg, then crossed into Alexandra, one of the sprawling black townships. Sandton is an immaculate suburban city with fresh air and wide paved streets. There are sidewalks and tree-lined avenues. Imposing skyscrapers punctuate the modern landscape. Picturesque homes and apartment complexes with immaculately manicured lawns seem to be everywhere. Sandton has many modern shopping areas and shopping malls that are crowded with primarily well-to-do white patrons. First class hotels and modern office complexes abound in this suburb. The restaurants in Sandton are every bit as good and clean as those one would expect to find in New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. Everywhere one looks, cars are busily moving about. It is difficult to remember that this is in Africa, and not a suburban area of any major metropolitan city in the United States.

When I followed the "right" (or perhaps "wrong") road out of Sandton, however, I was transported directly into the third world black township of Alexandra. Alexandra is home to an estimated one million blacks. As accurately noted by a popular travel book on South Africa, Lonely Planet: South Africa, "the first impression as one approaches a township is of an enormous, grim, undifferentiated sprawl." The wide paved streets are replaced by narrow and winding dirt roads. The well-manicured yards are replaced by yards composed of dust and dirt. It is as if the same soil that supported luscious green lawns in the first world of Sandton mysteriously lost the ability to sustain any kind of foliage. Even weeds stubbornly refuse to grace the tiny cramped spaces that pass for the concept of "lawns" in this, the third world. In Alexandra, there are no modern shopping areas or malls, no first class hotels, no modern office complexes, no imposing skyscrapers, and no white people. There are many homes constructed out of bricks and more permanent building materials. In other areas of Alexandra, however, the picturesque homes and modern apartment complexes of the first world are replaced by surreal structures that appeared to be constructed out of whatever substances their inhabitants could lay their hands upon. It was as if the occupants scoured garbage dumps in search of conceivable building materials and made due with whatever their scavenging yielded for the basis of their four walls and a roof. I observed dwellings that were constructed out of combinations of materials including corrugated tin, slabs of lumber, mud bricks, cardboard boxes, and pieces of aluminum or steel that presumably came from abandoned cars. The electricity wires that ran into these hovels testified to the fact that, despite their ephemeral appearance, they were deemed to be permanent structures. I was visiting South Africa during its wintertime. As nightfall approached, the residents of Alexandra burned coal or wood to heat their homes. As a result, a foreboding and suffocating smog enveloped the entire community.

I experienced the contrast of the (white) first world abutting the (black or colored) third world several times as I traveled through South Africa. It existed when I went from Capetown - which is one of the most spectacular cities in the world - to a "colored" township less than ten miles away. I also experienced this shift from the first world to the developing world when I left Durban and found myself wondering through the rural ancestral lands of the Zulus.

I assume the reader is familiar with the anti-apartheid protests that gained powerful momentum in the United States in the 1980s. These protests were sparked in significant part by coalitions of black civil rights leaders, clergy, and students brought together by people like African-Americans Randall Robinson, the executive director of TransAfrica, and Reverend Leon Sullivan. Protests in the United States against the apartheid regime led many state and city governments and universities to sell their investments in companies that did business in South Africa and forced some U.S. companies to withdraw from South Africa. Political pressure eventually led Congress in October of 1986 to pass the "Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act," over President Reagan's veto, which banned new investments and bank loans in South Africa, ended South African air links with the United States and threatened to cut off military aid to allies suspected of breaching the international arms embargo against South Africa. These and other measures helped to hasten the end of apartheid in South Africa.

In addition to the international pressure placed upon the apartheid regime in South Africa was the enormous role that African-American political activists played in providing theoretical arguments for the internal struggle against apartheid conducted by the black South Africans. Contacts between African- Americans and black South Africans date back almost 100 years before majority rule. As early as 1898, Bishop Henry Turner came to South Africa to cement relationships between the African Methodist Episcopal Church and black South African churches. According to later published reports about Turner's visit, he told the black South Africans:

The white man does not appreciate our value because he believes himself by divine right to be the dominant race. . . . The black is the race of the future, and one day the black man will wake up and shake off the white man's yoke. He is already rubbing his eyes and feeling his muscles. . . . The time has now come to replace them with their antiquated methods.

In addition, the organizers and original leaders of the 1911 South African Native National Congress, which eventually became the African National Conference (ANC), often acknowledged that they were thoroughly versed with and influenced by the writings of both Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois. The principal contribution of African-Americans to the black South African anti- apartheid struggle, however, was the assistance provided to the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa in the late 1960s and 1970s.

The black majority did not accept apartheid openly. In 1940, the ANC for the first time began to call for resistance to minority rule in the form of strikes, acts of public disobedience, and protest marches. In March of 1960, the Pan African Congress (PAC) called for nationwide demonstrations against the hated South African pass laws. This call eventually led to a major confrontation when demonstrators surrounded a police station in Sharpeville. The police opened fire on protestors, killing sixty-nine and wounding 189 people. In an effort to eliminate political resistance, the government banned the ANC and the PAC, enacted tougher legislation, engaged in mass arrests of political activists, deprived political prisoners of their rights, and authorized the police officers to use extreme measures in order to extract information from detainees. As a result of these measures, both the ANC and the PAC were forced to go underground.

The Black Consciousness Movement struck South Africa around 1968. It helped to fill the vacuum that was created by the banning of the ANC and the PAC. The rise of black consciousness in South Africa can be traced back to the founding of the South African Students' Organization (SASO) in 1968. Black students led by Steve Biko, Barney Pityana, and H. Nengwekhulu broke away from the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). NUSAS was a multi-racial student organization that was dominated by whites. It opposed racial segregation and sought to recruit black students who attended the predominantly white universities to its activities. The black students, however, felt that the NUSAS was not providing the forum for black political activism that South Africa's black population needed. They came to the conclusion that blacks needed to operate their own student organization. SASO began encouraging blacks throughout South Africa to organize themselves independent of the white- dominated liberal organizations.

One of the issues that black activists in South Africa had to respond to was the muted reaction by South African blacks to the Sharpeville massacres. These activists came to see that blacks in South Africa were held in subjugation not merely by the coercive force of the apartheid regime, but also by their own sense of impotence and inferiority. Steve Biko argued that there were two different forces that oppress the black man in South Africa. The first force operates externally. It is the force that limits his life experiences; the force that causes him to live in material deprivation, to not do certain things, and to confine him to difficult work conditions. The second force is an internal one that causes the black man to reject himself. This force leads the black man to attach to what is white, the idea that it is better, and to attach to what is his, the notion that it is inferior.

Black Consciousness focused on problems of identity and self-worth. It sought to instill the idea of self-determination, to restore feelings of pride and dignity to blacks. It preached that the most potent weapon in the fight against oppression was the mind of the oppressed. The Black Consciousness message appealed to the emotions of many young Africans. Slogans directly from the African-American liberation movement like "Be black and proud" were incorporated into the political language of South Africa. This message allowed them to combat the racial stereotypes that were a part of their upbringing. Africans could now reject the notion that they were powerless in shaping their own destinies.

The Black Consciousness Movement filtered down to black high school students in South Africa. The movement helped to spark Soweto students to organize a protest against the use of Afrikaans (the language of the Afrikaners is also regarded as the language of the oppressor) in black schools. This protest resulted in large-scale violence. On June 12, 1976, police opened fire on student demonstrators. This set off a round of protests, strikes, and mass arrests that eventually cost over 1,000 lives in a twelve-month period. Soon after the uprisings in Soweto, Steven Biko, the principal architect of South Africa's Black Consciousness Movement, was murdered by the South African secret police. World attention then became focused on South Africa and the apartheid regime was never the same. A generation of young blacks committed themselves to revolutionary struggle and within eighteen years, apartheid had been vanquished.

What I was to discover while in South Africa was the tremendous debt that South Africa's Black Consciousness Movement owed to African-American political thought in the United States. As one commentator, Themba Sono - who was also active in SASO at the time - stated: "Black Consciousness as it is known and articulated in South Africa (the doctrine, style, language and rhetoric) is lock, stock, and barrel Black American invention, exported to the South African black radical almost verbatim." One of the SASO's Policy Manifestos of 1970 borrowed freely from African-American ideas and slogans. It repeated almost verbatim a famous phrase from Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton's book, Black Power. One commentator noted that the writings and activities of Stokely Carmichael, Shirley Chisolm, Eldridge Cleaver, H. Rap Brown, George Jackson, Malcolm X, James Cone, and Albert Cleage attracted lively interest in South Africa. The connection between the writings of Steve Biko and Barney Pityana and that of African-American black power writers even caught the attention of the apartheid government's Schelebusch Commission. In its Fourth Interim Report, it pointed out that the similarities in the doctrine of Black Consciousness as articulated by people like Steve Biko and Barney Pityana are closely related to the Black Power writings of Stokely Carmichael. The Commission went on to state that large portions of the SASO writers are so close to those of Carmichael that they could be considered plagiarized versions of Carmichael's approach.

IV. Conclusion

We as humans create the knowledge that becomes our reality. The greatest gift a thinker could provide for those who are affected by his thoughts is the firm articulation of a truly wonderful idea. I write this brief comment in the hope that it will and can be used as a sort of introduction to the existence of an international conceptual scheme that provides another understanding of the role and condition of African-Americans in the United States.

My international experiences have left me with certain indelible impressions about African-Americans and their struggle against racial oppression. The experience of being in both the Republic of India and the Republic of South Africa left me with three indelible impressions that form the basis of a view of African-Americans, their condition, and their struggles against racial oppression in the United States within the boundaries of a global cognitive framework. First, my experiences overseas showed me that forms of oppression exist that are far worse than what African-Americans experience in the United States. Second, that groups who suffer from more virulent forms of oppression generated by forces within their society have used the struggle by African-Americans as a source of hope, inspiration, and insight for their own struggles against oppression. Finally, that more than just the condition of African-Americans is at stake in the struggle against subordination based upon hereditary characteristics in the United States. If African-Americans succeed in obtaining equality, other oppressed groups will draw inspiration and moral and legal legitimacy within their own country from that success.

Simply put, when the role, condition, and struggles of African-Americans are viewed within the context of a system of meaning that focuses upon an international view of oppression of other groups within their own country, a positive view of African-Americans emerges. Regardless of the perception of African-Americans within the United States, within a global perspective, African-Americans are an accomplished people, whose struggles against oppression have helped to spiritually and psychological uplift other oppressed people of the world.

[a1]. Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law. B.S., 1978, Indiana University; J.D., 1982, Yale University.

Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action of Africans and African Descendants

April 28 - April 29, 2001



Africans and African descendants share a common historical and cultural heritage. The richness of African history has been distorted, and the African cultural identity ridiculed by many. As people of Africa we want to revive the presentation of African history and promote pride in our African identity, as well as celebrating the diversity of our peoples. Africans and African descendants also share the common history of slave trade, slavery, and colonization, and a common experience of anti-Black racism. We recognize that people of African descent live on all world continents, although they have been renamed, suppressed and marginalized. All over the world, Africans continue to be subjected to racism, discrimination and intolerance. It is the complexity of these common roots and experiences that bind us together as a community; and as a community we are committed to:

1) Having the world recognize and provide reparation for the Black Holocausts (Slavery and Colonization);

2) Eliminating anti-Black racism every where it occurs, in any part of the World; and

3) Restoring our motherland, Africa, to its full glory.



Whereas, African Slave Trade and Slavery exploited the motherland of Africa; Forced the brutal displacement or removal of over one hundred million of its people (the largest forced migration in history); Directly caused the death of millions Africans; Destroyed African civilizations which were among the most advanced societies of the world; Impoverished African economies which had prospered up to that time; and launched a period of African under-development and marginalization which continues to this day - five hundred years later;

Whereas, Africa was dismembered and divided among European powers, which created Western monopolies for the continued exploitation of vital African natural resource riches for Western industries; and,

*2 Whereas, African Slavery was imposed by and for the benefit of major European and American states to satisfy their appetites for free labour; and the exploitation of Africans and African descendants by these States continued unabated for over three hundred years; and,

Whereas, After the Slave Trade, Africa was subjected to another form of enslavement, namely, Colonization in which the exploitation of Africa's rich natural resource heritage continued unabated by the European powers; and,


Whereas, Africans and African descendants are commonly victims of anti-Black racism and of multiple forms of overt and covert discrimination. The most pernicious are institutional, systemic, structural and cultural discrimination. The impact of institutional, structural and cultural racism is felt in every aspect of life: housing, employment, education, health, civil and criminal justice, economic development. Many of these policies and practices are perpetrated by the states themselves; and, Whereas, anti-Black racism (both past and present) is fundamentally rooted in white supremacist ideology and the economic profits of the colonial and neo-colonial oppressors; and,

Whereas, anti-Black racism cannot be eradicated without the elimination of social ghettoization and demonization of Africans and African descendants; and,

Whereas, Many Africans and African descendants suffer from multi-oppressions structured around class, gender, disability, immigrant status and sexuality. These forms of oppression must be eliminated; and,

Whereas, African and African descendant women play, and have always played, a fundamental role in the development and maintenance of our families, peoples, communities and nations, even though historically they have faced the worst conditions, the greatest marginalization and systematic exclusion. Women and men, and children and youth of both genders are equal and must be treated so; and,

Whereas, Racism is a major health determinant. Historical and current discrimination, as well as colonial and neo-colonial policies against Africans and African descendants have resulted in Africans and African descendants having significantly lower health status, less or no access to health care and poorer quality health care;

Whereas, AIDS represents a human genocide, disproportionally victimizing African people, both on the continent and in the Diaspora and,

Whereas, Media and new technologies (including the internet) play a significant role in the maintenance of structural and cultural anti-Black racism; and,

Whereas, Environmental racism refers to any government, military, industry or other institution's action, or failure to act, which has a disproportionate negative environmental impact on Africans and African descendants, on Indigenous peoples, Latino, Asian, migrant or other ethnic groups or the places where they live Environmental racism, although not new, is a recent example of the historical double standard as to what is acceptable in certain communities, villages or cities and not in others. The mobility of corporations has made it possible for them to seek the greatest profit, the least government and environmental regulations and the best tax incentives, anywhere in the world. Natural resource extraction techniques, chemical uses and disposal of wastes unacceptable in white communities are routinely employed in African descendants communities; and,

Whereas, Africans and African descendants are victims of grave discriminatory treatment in the legal and judicial processes as well as police procedures (specifically police brutality). This includes the framing up of accusations against Africans and African descendants, the duration of prison sentences, the inhuman state of prisons and, where it exists, the death penalty which particularly affects Africans and African descendants; and,

Whereas, To ensure the future of all Africans, special attention must be given to protecting and empowering African indigenous peoples, language groups and cultures both inside and outside the African continent; and,



Whereas, The development of Africa has been greatly impeded by the global imbalances in power created by slavery, colonialism, and other forms of exploitation and is maintained and extended today by neo-colonial policies and practices including the pillage of the human and material resources of Africa and the draining of its financial resources by foreign debt services; and,

Whereas, Current day slavery has just taken other forms and the right to life and freedom of African people is being regularly violated with complete indifference in Western countries and by African dictators who are very often supported and protected by Western countries; and,

Whereas, The world major powers are plundering the African continent through a debt which has already been paid off three times over and to which the African states assign more than 50% of their national budgets; and,

Whereas, To ensure total control over the enslaved Africans and African descendants, the Western slaveholding states resorted to systematic violence, *4 brain-washing, falsifying and negating African history and values while enhancing Western history and values in a policy of cultural imperialism; and,

Whereas, Africans and African descendants have significantly contributed to world history, their achievements need to be re-assessed within the context of the significant positive contributions made by Africa culture, Africans and African descendants; and,

Whereas, In a world where people are valued and devalued according to a given level of economic development, it is essential that the economic development of Africa be promoted as a means of fighting anti-Black racism; and,


Africans and African Descendants from across the world, gathered in Vienna, Austria, in unity and solidarity born of the common African root, recognition of sharing a common history - that of the African Slave Trade, Slavery, and Colonization - and a continuing common experience of anti-Black racism, which root, history and experience bind us as a unique community; and,

Respectful of the Memory of Our Ancestors and the ultimate sacrifice which they paid, and mindful that this memory must never be forgotten; and,

As a Community, Committed to the elimination anti-Black racism wherever it occurs in the World; and,

Cognizant of the Enormity of the depredations of the Black Holocausts (Slavery and Colonization) and the significance of these historical epochs for the world; and,

In fraternity with all peoples imbued with a sense of genuine respect for the rights of people of all races, ethnicities and creeds; and,

In abhorrence of all forms of African Slavery and the African Slave Trade (trans-Atlantic, trans-Saharan and trans-Indian Ocean) and the Colonization of Africa;

BE IT RESOLVED that this Assembly:


CONDEMNS AFRICAN SLAVERY in all its manifestations (trans-Atlantic, trans-Saharan and trans-Indian Ocean) and calls on the United Nations and the governments of the World to do likewise;

DECLARES AFRICAN SLAVERY AND COLONIZATION and the attendant unprecedented genocide and systematic violations of human rights and the rights of Africans and African descendant People, as Crimes Against Humanity;

CALLS, SPECIFICALLY, ON former European countries and American slave-holding States and all those who benefitted from the slave trade and colonization of Africa to unconditionally and separately adopt a Declaration of recognition of the Black Holocausts (Slave Trade / Slavery and Colonization) as Crimes Against Humanity;

CALLS, SPECIFICALLY, ON former European and American slave-holding States and all those who benefitted from the slave trade and colonization of Africans to unconditionally and separately adopt a Declaration which asks for forgiveness for the exactions committed during the Slave Trade / Slavery and Colonization and for their lasting effects on the Africans and African Descendants, in psychological spheres as well as on economical, social, political and cultural ones;

CALLS ON THE UNITED NATIONS AND GOVERNMENTS of the World to make it an offence, punishable by law, for anyone to deny the existence of the Black Holocausts (African Slave Trade / Slavery and Colonization);

CALLS ON FORMER EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN SLAVE-HOLDING STATES and all those who benefitted from the slave trade and colonization of Africans to acknowledge the principle of reparations for the cultural, demographic, economic, political, social and moral wrongs of the Slave Trade / Slavery and Colonization and that the Africans and African descendants victims of the Slave Trade / Slavery and Colonization reserve the right to determine the form and manner of reparations; and,

DEMAND THAT THE Governments of the World condemn the trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trade which, like the trans-Atlantic slave trade, brought serious damages to Africa . Unlike the trans-Atlantic slave trade, vestiges of the trans-Saharan slave trade continues this day unabated (specifically in Mauritania and Sudan); and, call on the governments of Mauritania and Sudan to recognize this problem and to eradicate it completely.

CALL on the German and Italian Government to ask for forgiveness for the exactions and genocide committed during the World War by the Nazis and *6 Fascists against Africans and African descendants; recognizing that African and African descendant victims of Nazism have the same right to compensatory measures as Jews or Romas; and,

CALLS ON STATES, SURVIVING CORPORATE INTERESTS, CHURCHES AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES involved in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the resulting slavery and colonization to acknowledge their wrongdoings and accept the principle of restitution and that the Africans and African descendants victims of the Slave Trade / Slavery and Colonization reserve the right to determine the form and manner of reparations; and,


DEMANDS THAT GOVERNMENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS recognize anti-Black racism as a form of racism which has its own specificity in the same way as anti-Semitism and to be differentiated from all other forms of racism, discrimination and intolerance; and,

CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS AND OTHERS TO condemn any political, economic or social structure that has the effect of promoting, encouraging, or facilitating anti-Black racism; and,

DEMAND THAT States eliminate racial disparities in education, housing, economic development, health and health care, environment, civil and criminal justice; and,

DEMAND THAT States adopt effective mechanisms for monitoring and eliminating all forms of overt and covert racial discrimination, placing particular emphasis on institutional and structural anti-Black racism in education, housing, economic development, health and health care, environment, civil and criminal justice; and,

CALL ON States, and United Nations organizations (such as World Health Organization) to routinely and systematically collect race, gender and socio-economic class data related to education, housing, economic development, health and health care, environment, civil and criminal justice; and,

DEMAND THAT STATES stop the criminalization of blackness immediately.

REQUEST THAT a representative of the Africans and African Descendants Caucus be allowed to address the World Conference against Racism, Racial discrimination Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance in South Africa; and,

DEMAND THAT ALL ORGANIZATIONS (multilateral, financial, development and human rights) formulate diagnostic indicators of the impact of their policies and programs on African and African descendant communities; and,

DEMAND THAT States, and the international community, develop effective anti-discrimination laws which provide an adequate institutional framework for redress that is specific to eliminating institutional and structural anti-Black discrimination (both overt and covert); and,

URGE states to institute educational steps to combat racism including challenging racist language and eradication of words and terms with a racist content especially when used by authorities; and adopting a prohibition against racist documents particularly books for children which convey a depreciative image of Africans and African descendants; and,

CALL on civil society groups to help develop advocacy strategies that link environmental issues (including environmental racism) to human rights; and Governments adopt and enforce legislation and policies that protect society from environmental racism; and,

CALL on the United Nations to support a world institute dedicated to research, fact finding and resource networking for Africans, African descendants and related issues. The research should serve to bridge the gap between the past, by presenting African history according to credible African resources, the present, by monitoring the overall life conditions of Africans and African descendants worldwide and the future, by implementing its research in informal and formal education to change attitudes, perceptions and promote understanding; and,

REQUEST the media of the world and providers of Internet services to implement initiatives for increasing public awareness of anti-racist and tolerant behavior towards Africans and promote a positive and valorizing image of Africans; and,

URGE States and organizations to give special attention to adolescents and young people of African descent in terms of empowerment, training, mentoring and possibilities to exercise responsibilities; Attention must be given to activities promoting a healthy and balanced African identity for children and youth; Youth participation must be secured on national and international levels of political decision making; and,

URGE the international community to take practical steps to understand the political nature of the AIDS epidemic and to improve prevention strategies, testing material, access to medicines and care for those infected with AIDS; and,

CALLS ON AFRICANS AND AFRICAN DESCENDANTS to recognize that the struggle against anti-Black racism is inevitably linked with the struggle against poverty, racism against others, imperialism, globalization and war. Africans and African descendants express solidarity with other peoples who are similarly oppressed and exploited; and,


CALL ON AFRICANS AND AFRICAN DESCENDANTS TO END conflicts based on ethnic divisions which is tearing the African continent apart through ethnic genocide, ethnic cleansing and ethnic culture war; the struggle against racism must go hand in hand with struggle against negative ethnicity in Africa; and,

CALL ON AFRICAN NATIONS to take legal action and give priority to the equitable redistribution of stolen, possessed and occupied land on the continent; and call on the international community to support such actions; and,

CALL on African governments to adopt policies to grant all Africans and African descendants the possibility to return home and settle without limitations or discrimination; and,

DEMAND that European, American and other governments repatriate funds stolen from African countries/people and stored in European and American banks to the African countries of their origin; and,

URGE the debt-holding countries to take practical steps toward the cancellation of the debt of African States; and,

DEMAND THAT THE MANY ARTEFACTS AND ANTIQUITIES of African civilization which have been stolen or taken out of the country without permission be returned or that the countries from which these antiquities were taken be compensated; and,

DEMAND THAT THE TRAFFICKING OF AFRICAN AND AFRICAN DESCENDANT women, children and youth for sex, and for forced labour and various forms of enslavement be stopped in both locations receiving victims of trafficking, and in locations of origin.

International, local/national, and other media are urged to continue and increase their much-needed work of reporting on these crimes; and,

CALL ON AFRICANS AND AFRICAN DESCENDANTS to urgently free themselves from slave and colonial mentality and attitudes. The rich African cultural heritage at our disposal serve as the first step in a real liberation and renaissance of Africa and its people all over the World.


<p align="CENTER"><span style="font-size: 17pt" data-mce-style="font-size: 17pt;">DDECADE FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT<br /> DRAFT PROGRAMME OF ACTION:<br /> "RECOGNITION, JUSTICE, DEVELOPMENT"<hr align="LEFT" width="100%" /></span></p>




1. Introduction 3

1.1 Background 3

1.2 Overview of the current human rights situation of people of African descent 5

2. Normative Framework for the Decade 7

3. Strategic Goals 7

3.1 Recognition 7

3.2 Justice 8

3.3 Development 8

4. Objectives 9

5. Priority Areas for the Decade for People of African Descent 10

5.1 Recognition 10

5.1.1 Giving effect to the right to equality for people of African descent. 10

5.1.2 Education and awareness-raising measures 10

5.1.3 Recalling General Recommendation N 34 of CERD .12

5.1.4 Duty to gather. information 12

5.1.5 Participation and Inclusion 13

5.2 Justice 13

5.2.1 Administration of justice 13

5.1.3 Special measures . 14

5.3 Development 15

5.3.1 Right to development and measures against poverty 15

5.3.2 Education 16

5.3.3 Employment 17

5.3.4 Housing 17

5.3.5 Health 18

5.4 Multiple Forms of Discrimination 18

6. Target Groups and Actors 19

6.1 National Level 20

6.2 Regional Level 20

6.3 International Level 20

7. Strategies at the International level 20

8. Coordination of the Decade 22

8.1 National Level 22

8.2 International and Regional Levels 23


1. Introduction

1.1 Background

The General Assembly in its Resolution AIRES/66/144, adopted at its sixty-sixth session, under agenda item 8(b) on Comprehensive Implementation and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, encouraged the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGPAD) to develop a Programme of Action, including a theme for adoption by the Human Rights Council, with a view to proclaiming the Decade for People of African Descent for 2013-2023.

In developing this draft Programme of Action the Working Group stresses the centrality of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) and is committed to acting within .the context of its full and effective implementation, especially its recommended strategies to address the legacies of slavery, the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism, which have largely deteunined the present condition of people of African descent. The Durban Declaration is very clear about the causes and consequences of the current condition of people of African descent, stating in paragraph 13:

"We acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, were appalling tragedies in the history of humanity not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude, organized nature and especially their negation of the essence of the victims, and further acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially the transatlantic slave trade and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences;"

In view of this, the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent has developed the present Draft Programme of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent, to be submitted for adoption to the session of the Human Rights Council.

The Working Group stresses that the Decade should build on the International Year for People of African Descent (IYPAD) in 2011 during which many events and fora took place, especially in the Caribbean and Latin America, including the High-Level Ibero-American Summit to Celebrate the International Year for People of African Descent, in Salvador, Brazil, the World Summit on People of African Descent in La Ceiba, Honduras and the International Meeting on people of African descent in Caracas, Venezuela. These events involved the participation of several actors including Member States, international organisations and civil society. It was out of these various fora and events that the various actors committed to the recommendations made for the -IYPAD and also adopted the recommendation that there be a Decade for People of African Descent., which States are encouraged to support.

The present Draft Programme of Action is firmly anchored in the DDPA. It is also based on provisions contained in the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the Outcome Document of the Durban Review Conference; conclusions and recommendations adopted by the WGPAD, general recommendations made by human rights treaty monitoring bodies, particularly General Recommendation N 34 on racial discrimination against people of African descent, N 32 (2009) on the meaning and scope of special measures (affirmative action) and N 31 (2005) on the prevention of racial discrimination in the administration and functioning of the criminal justice system adopted by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD); the country and thematic reports prepared by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, the Independent Expert on Minorities and other relevant Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. In addition, the Working Group has taken into account the responses to the questionnaire requesting inputs for the elaboration of the present draft Programme of Action, sent in February 2012, to Member States, United Nations bodies, programmes, funds and specialized agencies,


regional organizations, national human rights institutions and civil society. The Working Group has also benefited from presentations and comments made by panellists and participants during its 1 1th session and relevant studies made at the regional level by the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.

The Working Group would like to extend a special thanks to all stakeholders that have participated in the drafting process, providing many important and insightful suggestions and contributions which demonstrate commitment to the issue. The Working Group notes with appreciation the numerous steps, measures and advances that States have already taken to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights of peOple of African descent in different contexts and the invaluable role that other actors including NGOs have played in these processes.

The following stakeholders provided replies to the questionnaire for the Draft Programme of Action for the Decade: Member States: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Greece, Guatemala, Mexico, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Uruguay. International and Regional Organisations, United Nations programmes, funds and bodies: The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Brazil; Department of International Law, Secretariat of Legal Affairs, Organisation of American States; the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; UNESCO; UNICEF Regional Office for, Latin America and the Caribbean: TACRO. National human rights institutions: Australian Human Rights Commission; Defensoria de los Habitantes, Costa Rica; DefensOria del Pueblo, Panama; Procuradoria para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, Nicaragua; and Non-governmental organizations, including academic institutions: 'African Canadian Legal Clinic; African Diaspora, African European Women's Movement Sophiedela; AGERE; African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem, Dimona; African Heritage Magazine; African Union 6th Region Facilitators; African World Studies Institute; Ancient African Market place; Association Relwende pour le Developpement; Black Economics; Caribbean Rastafari Organisation; CEDET, Centro de Desarrollo Etnico; CFEMEA; Centro de" Estudos Feminista e Assessoria; Commemoration Committee; Comunidade Baha.'i of Brazil; Congress Against Racism; Consejo Nacional Afro Boliviano; Coordenacao Nacional de Entidades Negras; CRIOLA; Dream Africa; Educafro; Expressions d'Afrique; Federation of African DiaspOra Organizations: Un Bondru; Federation of Black, Migrant & Refugee Women's Organizations & Youth Department Tiye; FederaciOn Espalinla de Afrodescendientes; GELEDE, Institute da Mulher Negra; International NGO Congress; Global Migration POlicy Associates; Grupo de Estudios etnieoraciales, Universidad del Valle, Colombia; Ichitoughanaim, Council for the Advancement of Rastafari; IYPAD Barbados NGO Chapter; Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Law Keepers; Minority Rights Group; Mundo Afro; National Commission against Discrimination of Panama; Network/Experts & Civil Society African (Diaspora) Non State Actors; Our African Heritage; Pan African Diaspora Union; Pan African Strategic & Policy. Group; Parents Association, St John's School; Red de Organizaciones de Mujeres Afro Guatemaltecas; Slavery Past; Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism; Sub-Regional Diaspora Council Coalition; The Caribbean Diaspora Association; The Foundation National Monument Dutch Slavery Past; The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs; The Pan-Africanist of Black Communities; The Universal Day of Hope Trust.

A compilation of the submissions received is available for consultation in the. Secretariat of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.

The Working Group expects that, through innovative and holistic approaches to achieving equality and non-discrimination, the Programme of Action for the Decade will create opportunities for a substantive and positive contribution to the advancement ofall human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent around the world. It also expects that the Programme of Action will be a useful tool to pave the way for various future work done by all States in all regions of the world, the international community and civil society for the advancement, promotion and protection of human rights of all people of African descent including those affected by multiple forms of discrimination (e.g. children, women, migrants, persons with disabilities and older persons). As such the Working Group calls on all relevant


actors to work together at national, regional and international levels to achieve the goals set forth in the Draft Programme of Action.

Likewise, the Working Group considers that a Programme of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent is necessary in order to draw attention to the plight of a group which, despite constituting ..a significant proportion of the world's population, is in many eases systematically thwarted in the enjoyment and exercise of its fundamental rights. Accordingly, and because of the special and unique nature of discrimination often faced by people of African descent, especially because of the legacies of colonialism, slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, the Working Group deems it appropriate to make a careful distinction between their situation and that of other groups who also face racial and other forms of discrimination. It also sees the need to construct and delineate specific juridical categories that make it possible to address their needs adequately and overcome the obstacles they face. Therefore the Working Group believes that the Decade should adopt a United Nations Declaration on the Promotion and Full Respect of the Human Rights of People of African Descent as recommended by CERD.

1.2 Overview of the current human rights situation of people of African descent

In line with the General Recommendation N 34 on racial discrimination against people of African descent of the CERD and the definition contained in the DDPA, for the purposes of this Draft Programme of Action, people of African descent are those referred to as such in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and who identify themselves as such. People of African descent comprise a heterogeneous group with diverse histories, experiences and identities. The Working Group notes that the circumstances in which this group lives, and the problems they face, differ from one country to another and from one region to another. Nevertheless, it is possible to point at a series of general and global cross-cutting issues that must be addressed, including structural and institutional discrimination, marginalization, stigmatization, and barriers to equal access to civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and their right to development.

Racism and structural discrimination against people of African descent, rooted in the infamous regime of slavery, the slave trades and colonialism, and reinforced by the context of globalization are evident in the situations of inequality affecting them worldwide and are manifest, inter cilia, in the following domains: their grouping, together with indigenous peoples, among the poorest of the poor in many countries; often inhabiting the regions, districts and areas, both rural and urban, with the most precarious infrastructure and being more exposed to crime and violence; low levels of participation and underrepresentation in political and institutional decision-making processes; barriers in access to and completion of quality education, which results in the inter-generational transmission of poverty; inequality in access to the labour market; a dispropOrtionate presence in prison populations; limited social recognition and valuation of their ethnic and cultural diversity; and religious intolerance against religions of African origin.'

Many people of African descent are adversely affected by multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination based on other related grounds such as sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, birth or other status. Age is also used as a means of discrimination, resulting in older persons, children and youth of African. descent experiencing multiple forms of discrimination. In addition, women of African descent have historically suffered and continue to stiffer compounded discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin, socio-economic status and gender. This multiple discrimination manifests in situations of limited access to education, employment and security, and vulnerability to gender-based violence. Furthermore, women of African descent often suffer higher rates of maternal mortality due to multiple discrimination they face in access to medical care related to pregnancy.2 The situation of women

I See, General Recommendation No 34 on Racial discrimination against people of African descent of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2011. The Situation of African Descendant People in the Americas, Available at: latp://wwvv.cidh.oas.orWpdP/020files/AFROS%202011%20ENG,pdf

2 See; CEDAW's view in the Pimento! vs Brazil case, CEDAW/C/49/D/17/2008


of African descent is particularly grave in conflict and post-conflict contexts and they often make up disproportionate percentages of displaced persons.'

The relationship between race, social and economic status and citizenship means that migrants, refugees and asylum seekers of African descent around the world are often in a particularly vulnerable situation. Many experience violations related both to xenophobia as foreigners, and racism based on their African descent. They often encounter barriers in access to employment and many resort to working in informal and precarious jobs, often in dangerous conditions. Access to health services, education, housing and social security is also particularly limited for many such migrants.

Public and political discourse and its impact on immigration policies often results in migrants and indeed nationals facing racial discrimination, being used as scapegoats for economic and social difficulties faced by societies, particularly in relation to the availability of jobs, housing and health services. Within such a discourse, they are often portrayed as criminals and security threats. Such discourse enflames mistrust, fear and resentment towards them which results in further discrimination, racism and xenophobic attitudes, often manifested in violent acts.4 Migrants in an irregular situation, refugees and asylum seekers are particularly targeted. In some countries, people of African descent are also often disproportionately represented among groups of internally displaced persons. Multiple forms of discrimination are also a recurring reason for the denial or deprivation of nationality and therefore a cause of statelessness.

The administration of justice is a crucial and immediate issue to be addreSsed for people of African descent. The structural and institutional discrimination suffered by this group should also be analyzed in light of the obstacles they encounter when trying to access domestic judicial remedies. The Working Group acknowledges, on .a positive note, the recent adoption in some countries, of legislation, policy measures and programs to combat racial discrimination and awareness raising activities, and supports the adoption of measures designed to ensure effective progressive implementation of that legislation. .Notwithstanding the foregoing, the impossibility of accessing complaint and reparation mechanisms, be they administrative or judicial, is a factor contributing to the persistence of racism. In addition, the absence of judicial guarantees and the lack of sensitivity of justice systetn operators with respect to racial discrimination, contribute to even deeper resignation on the part of the discriminated groups, and help perpetuate patterns of exclusion and impunity. 5

Persistent discriminatory practices within justice systems have devastating effects on people of African descent. Young men of African descent face alarming high rates of police violence. Racial profiling6 continues to be widely applied as a selective and discretionary mechanism for detaining and investigating and this practice directly affects people of African descent and it is inextricably linked to their overrepresentation in arrest rates, and in prison populations.

The discrimination that people of African descent face perpetuates cycle's of disadvantage which hinder human development. Under the right to development, people of African descent have equal right to full, active and meaningful participation in development decision-making, and to benefit equally and fairly from development gains. Article 6 of the Declaration on the Right to Development embodies nondiscrimination and the elimination of obstacles to development resulting from failure to observe civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

The situation of people of African descent in many cases remains largely invisible, with a lack of official
disaggregated statistical data to demonstrate the extent of discrimination. Furthermore, there is limited
recognition of their histories, heritage and contributions to nations' development in education curricula,

3 Ibid, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2011

4 See Doudou Diene, 2008, Annual report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Submitted to the Human Rights Council, 7th Session. A/HRC/7/19

5 ibid, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2011

6 Racial profiling is understood as "the practice of police and other law enforcement officers relying, to any degree, on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin as the basis for subjecting persons to investigatory activities or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity" (DDPA, para.72).


popular culture, or the media, and where people of African descent are featured, images often respond to negative stereotypes informed by structural and deep rooted discriminatory attitudes. Insufficient recognition and respect have been given to the efforts of people of African descent to seek redress for their present conditions, including through calls "of the moral obligation on the part of all concerned States to take appropriate and effective measures to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of those practices."/ The Working Group hopes that the Decade will see progress in this, regard.

2. Normative Framework for the Decade

The principle normative framework for the Decade will be the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the Outcome Document of the Durban Review Conference. The Working Group also reaffirms that the principal international human rights convention to prevent, combat and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance is ICERD. The effective implementation of the above mentioned instruments together with other relevant human rights . instruments as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR), are essential for achieving the aims and objectives of the Decade.

Further efforts are needed by States to protect people of African descent from racial discrimination and to ensure that they enjoy all human rights on an equal footing. It is particularly important to stress that nondiscrimination and equality before and of the law constitute fundamental principles of international human rights law. The notion of equality is inseparable from the notion of human dignity essential to each and every person. Respect for human rights and the principles of equality and non-discrimination are interdependent and underpin the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the main international human rights treaties and instruments. Furthermore the International Court of Justice held that the prohibition of racial discrimination constituted an obligation erga omnes.

The right to equality and non-discrimination requires States to guarantee non-discrimination in the exercise. of each human right. States must strive to guarantee that all human rights are applied on a basis of equality of access, opportunity and results, in fact and in law, for all persons, including people of African descent. States have the obligation to protect all human rights, including the right to nondiscrimination. This obligation requires the State and all of its bodies to prevent and punish the violation of human rights by any State or non-State actor. It further requires States to adopt all necessary measures, including Special measures, to remove any obstacles that may impinge upon the enjoyment of the human rights.

3. Strategic Goals

The suggested goal for the Decade is "Recognition, Justice, Development." The Working Group considers the three themes of Recognition, Justice and Development as interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

3,1 Recognition

Recognition of people of African descent as a distinct group is essential to increasing their visibility and thus to the realization of their rights. People of African descent must be recognized in national constitutions and legislation. Special attention must be paid to the collection of disaggregated data, to assess the situation of people of African descent. Data should he disaggregated in accordance with. provisions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as data protection. regulations and privacy

Durban Declaration, paragraph 102


guarantees! Such efforts are essential steps for States to acknowledge and address the discrimination faced by people of African descent and ensure the protection and promotion of their human rights. Recognition is also related to the respect for the culture, identity, history and heritage of people of African descent.

3.2 Justice

The notion of justice recognizes that people of African descent have historically been and in many cases continue to be victims of violations of their human rights. To address these violations it is necessary to ensure the full and effective implementation of relevant human rights instruments. It is essential to combat the widespread impunity for manifestations and practices of racism and racial discrimination targeting people of African descent. The Durban Declaration recognized and re-affirmed the right of individual victims to seek just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of racial discrimination.9 Efforts need to be redoubled in order to ensure equal access to justice and equal protection of the law at all stages of law enforcement, from interaction with the police, to presentation of court cases and sentencing.

Concerning reparations for slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, the Durban Declaration affirms that "telling the truth about history [is an] essential element for international reconciliation and the creation of societies based on justice, equality and solidarity..."1 Further, the Declaration notes "that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparations where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed"11 and calls on those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of the victims ,2a "moral obligation" is cited to take appropriate steps to address the lasting consequences.13

International human rights lave' has recognized the need for special measures to remedy or compensate for the effects of past injustice and structural discrimination in order to avoid the perpetuation of such discrimination and as a means of guaranteeing substantive equality and the enjoyment of fundamental rights.

3.3 Development

Paragraph 158 of the .Durban Programme of Action "recognizes that ... historical injustices have undeniably contributed to the poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization, social exclusion, economic disparities, instability and insecurity that affect many people in different parts of the world, in particular in developing countries" and also recognized "the need to develop programmes for the social and economic development of these societies and the Diaspora, within the framework of a newpartnership based on the spirit of solidarity and mutual respect in areas including, debt relief, poverty eradication, market access and the promotion of foreign direct investment, among other areas15. In View of the above, in the present document, development in relation .to people of African descent should be viewed in two streams. Primarily it is essential to recognize the role that people of African descent have played in global development, both recognizing the contribution that the African continent has historically made to worldwide development, especially during the operation of slavery and the transatlantic and other slave trades, and the contributions that Africans and the African Diaspora have made and continue to make to

See, Durban Programme of Action, paragraph 92

9 Ibid., par. 104 1 Ibid., par. 106

11 Ibid., par. 100

12 Ibid., par. 101

13 Ibid., par. 102

14 See, United Nations. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination's General Recommendation N32 (2009)

15 See, Durban Programme of Action paragraph 158


the development of nations. Secondly development must be addressed in terms of the development issues that people of African descent continue to face including poverty and low access to education, health, employment and political participation. The historic and continued underdevelopment that has plagued people of African descent throughout the world must be reversed and specific attention must be paid to this group in initiatives to realize the Millennium Development Goals and post 2015 international and national development objectives.

In a period of economic and financial crisis, it is necessary to strengthen efforts in integrating human rights into all approaches to development, where the realization of rights are the goals of development. The Declaration on the Right to Development recognizes that development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom without any kind of discrimination. It should also be stressed that repairing the damage done by slavery and the slave trades will contribute to development

4. Objectives

Based on the given mandate and with due consideration to the current and historic situation of people of African descent and the imperatives outlined in the DDPA, it is recommended that the Programme of Action for the Decade should have the following key objectives:

i. to ensure the right to the full enjoyment by people of African descent in all regions of the world, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, through the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action; the Outcome document of the Durban Review Conference, the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and other relevant international and regional human rights instruments;

ii. to eliminate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and promote full and effective equality for people of African descent particularly through special measures/affirmative action and in a manner that is culturally relevant;

iii. to create for people of African descent an appropriate tool for empowerment which guarantees their meaningful participation and inclusion in development processes; in social, economic, cultural, political and civil life; and in decisions that affect their lives;

iv. to increase the visibility of people of African descent by ensuring the collection of disaggregated data and research, and sensitizing them and wider society about their human rights, their cultures and contributions to the development of societies and their histories including the history and on_ going consequences of slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism;

v. to urge international financial and development institutions and the operational programme and specialized agencies of the United Nations to give greater priority to and allocate appropriate funding for, programmes addressing the development challenges of the affected States and societies, in particular those of on the African continent and in the Diaspora;16

vi. to adopt and strengthen international, regional and national legal framework on the rights of people of African descent, particularly as recommended by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, through the adoption of a United Nations Declaration on the Promotion and Full Respect of the Human Rights of People of African Descent.

16 Ibid., par. 159


5. Priority Areas for the Decade for. People of African Descent

5.1 Recognition

5.1.1 Giving effect to the right to equality for people of African descent.

States should take the necessary steps to give full effect to the right to equality and nondiscrimination of people of African descent.

i. Recognizing the interdependence of rights and the importance of a holistic approach to achieving

equality and non-discrimination, take necessary steps to remove all obstacles that prevent the enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights by people of African descent and promote the effective implementation of relevant domestic and international legislation;

ii, Undertake a comprehensive review of their domestic legislation, with a view to i) identifying and

abolishing provisions that entail direct or indirect discrimination; _ii) recognising where relevant people of African descent in national constitutions; iii) adopting comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation ensuring its effective enforcement to promote equality and eliminate discrimination in line with ICERD. Reform of existing norms is an obligation, and also an important tool for shedding light on the situation of people of African descent and helping to raise awareness and alter historical patterns of marginalization and exclusion;

iii. Adopt and implement action oriented plans, programs and any initiative designed to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by people of African descent, including National Action Plans against Racial Discrimination with the participation of people of African descent;

iv. Establish and maintain a body or a system of coordinated bodies to promote racial equality. States must ensure the independent status and competences of such bodies in line with the United Nations Paris Principles," as well as ensuring adequate funding and transparent procedures for the appointment and removal of their members;

v. Provide training and capacity building for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), and other relevant governmental bodies to ensure the principles of equality and non-discrimination and issues of people of African descent are addressed through their work, Relevant government bodies should carry out activities to promote and protect the rights of people of African descent within their programs;

5.1.2 Education on equality and awareness-raising measures

Recognizing the contribution of the African Continent and of people of African descent to the development, diversity and richness of world civilizations and cultures which constitute the common heritage of humankind, States should, in collaboration with UNESCO:

Promote a greater knowledge of and respect for the heritage and culture of people of African descent, particularly for children and youth, through intercultural education and dialogue, awareness raising measures designed to protect and promote African and African descent culture in its various manifestations, self-esteem and positive identities, and adopt specific plans for the ethnic recognition and visibility of people of African descent;

Promote ethno-education, formal and informal, allowing the possibility for people of African descent to contribute to educational systems to provide education in their own languages and in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning;

17 Adopted by General Assembly resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993.


iii. Adopt measures to eliminate socio-cultural ideas inherited from the period of slavery and colonialism, which perpetuate racism and racial discrimination against people of African descent and their continued invisibility at all levels of society. To this end design and implement social education programs which promote inter-cultural dialogue and respect for all cultures and communities with the active participation of civil society;

iv. Revise and diversify basic, secondary and tertiary education curricula in favour of more inclusive education which respects and recognizes the experiences, the history and contributions of the African Continent and people of African descent throughout the Diaspora to their respective societies and to global development; and make history a compulsory subject at the primary and secondary educational levels, thereby giving children of African descent a connection with their past and a sense of cultural identity:

v. Curriculum developers, schools, universities, professional and vocational training programmes and institutions should be encouraged and assisted to develop specific curricula and teaching materials, directed toward past and present situation of people of African Descent;

vi. " Preserve knowledge on culture and history of people of African descent in musea and other fora for future generations, and encourage and support the publication and distribution of books and other print materials as well as the broadcasting-of television, radio programs and through the internet about their history and cultures;

vii. Consider establishing a National Day for people of African descent and for the Commemoration
of the victims of the slave trade in consultation with African-descended civil society. Other relevant days, such as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition (23'
d August), the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (25th March), African. Liberation day (25th May), and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21St March); should also be commemorated;

viii. Adopt measures to preserve, protect and restore the intangible patrimony and spiritual memory of
sites and places of the slave trade and slave resistance, through building musea, monuments visual art and other means with the aim of providing a place for reflection and giving increased visibility to this history and culture of the African, including the permanent memorial that would be placed at the United Nations headquarters to honour the memory of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, in keeping with paragraph 99 of the .Durban Declaration which "... call upon States concerned to honour the memory of the victims of past tragedies and affirm that, wherever and whenever these occurred, they must be condemned and their recurrence prevented."

ix. Share and exchange good practices of other countries and regions that have been able to address the negative heritage of slavery and to build inclusive, intercultural and multi-ethnic societies;

x. Encourage civil society to work with media and communications companies to promote more positive and inclusive images and representations of people of African descent to increase their visibility within society and challenge negative stereotypes and resultant discrimination. To this end, special attention shall be paid to the training and sensitization of media professionals;

xi. Special attention shall be given to the training and sensitization of police, prison officials, lawyers, judges, teachers and curriculum developers, the armed forces, international civil servants, development officers, the media, government officials, parliamentarians, nongovernmental organizations and other groups which are in a particular position to effect the rights of people of African descent. Such training should aim at ending negative representations of



AfriCans and African descendants that cause racism and racial discrimination, particularly in the administration of justice and racial profiling practices.


xii. Efforts to increase the visibility and recognition of people of African descent, their histories and experiences should emphasize them as survivors or resisters, but at the same should recognize that people of African descent are victims of human rights violations under international law

xiii. Promote research and compile existing information on the contribution of Africans and African descendants, history and culture of nations, in order to foster the development of national identity from a democratic perspective, recognising the diversity of contributions nations and promote knowledge and understanding of the causes, consequences and evils of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia.

5.1.3 Recalling General Recommendation N 34 of CERD

by which it is recognized that people of African descent live in many countries of the world, either dispersed among the local population or in communities, where they are entitled to exercise, without discrimination, individually or in community with other members of their group, as appropriate, the following specific rights:

i. The right to property and to the use, conservation and protection of lands traditionally occupied by them and to natural resources in cases where their ways of life and .culture are linked to their utilization of lands and resources;

ii. The right to their cultural identity, to keep, maintain and foster their mode of life and forms of organization, culture, languages and religious expressions;

iii. The right to the protection of their traditional knowledge and their cultural and artistic heritage;

iv. The right to prior consultation with respect to decisions which may affect their rights, in accordance with international standards;

5.1.4 Duty to gather information

In line with paragraph 92 of the Durban Programme of Action, States should « collect, compile, analyse, disseminate and publish reliable statistical data at the national and local levels and undertake all other related measures which are necessary to assess regularly the situation of individuals and groups of individuals who are victims of racism, racial, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

i. Such statistical data should be disaggregated in accordance with national legislation. Any such

information shall, as appropriate, be collected with the explicit consent of the victims, based on their self-identification and in accordance with provisions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as data protection regulations and privacy guarantees. This information must not be misused;

ii." The statistical data and information should be collected with the objective of monitoring the

situation of marginalized groups, and the development and evaluation of legislation, policies, practices and other measures aimed at preventing and combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as for the purpose of determining whether any measures have an unintentional disparate impact on victims. To that end, it recommends the development of voluntary, consensual and participatory .strategies in the process of collecting, designing and using information;

iii. The information should take into account economic and social indicators, including, where

appropriate, health and health status, infant and maternal mortality, life expectancy, literacy,


education, employment, housing, land ownership, mental and physical health care, water, sanitation, energy and communications services, poverty and average disposable income, in order to elaborate social and economic development policies with a view to closing the existing gaps in social and economic conditions. »

5.1.5 Participation and Inclusion

States must facilitate full participation and inclusion of people of African descent in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, including all levels of decision-making processes and in the advancement and economic development of the country in which they live, as well as their country of origin. To this end States are requested to:

i. Undertake capacity building and awareness raising' campaigns in communities to encourage active participation in electoral processes;

ii. Consult and involve people of African descent in the development and implementation of laws, policies and programs that concern them, including National Action Plans against Racial Discrimination;

iii. Implement activities and programs to strengthen leadership among people of African descent;

iv. Undertake initiatives for participation which should be carried out with special consideration for the meaningful participation of women and young people of African descent;

5.2 Justice

5.2.1 Administration of justice

Much of the unjust treatment experienced by people of African descent stems from the triple

effects of colonialism, slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. States must therefore introduce all the necessary steps to ensure equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice including:

Assuring for people of African descent effective protection and remedies, through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions,. against any acts of racial discrimination, as well as the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination; 18

ii. Criminalizing all acts of racism in particular the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial hatred; violence or incitement to racial violence, but also racist propaganda activities and participation in racist organizations. States are also encouraged to incorporate a provision in their criminal legislation to the effect that committing offences for racial reasons generally constitutes an aggravating circumstance; 19

iii. Fully implementing CERD General Recommendation N 31 on the prevention of racial

discrimination in the administration and functioning of the criminal justice system, particularly:

a. Facilitating access to justice for people of African descent, victims of racism, by supplying the requisite legal information of their rights; promoting, in the areas where people of. African descent live, institutions such as free legal help and advice centers, legal information centers and centers for conciliation and mediation; granting victims effective judicial cooperation and legal aid, including the assistance of counsel and an interpreter free of charge;

18 Art. 6 of ICERD

19 Art. 4 of ICERD


b. instructing competent services to receive people of African descent who are 'victims of Acts of racism in police stations in a satisfactory manner, so that complaints are recorded immediately, investigations are pursued without delay and in an effective, independent and impartial manner, and files relating to racist or xenophobic incidents are retained and incorporated into databases;

c. Seeking to eliminate the potential discriminatory effects of certain domestic legislation on terrorism, immigration, nationality, banning or deportation of non-citizens from a country as well as legislation that has the effect of penalizing without legitimate grounds certain groups or membership of certain communities, including people of African descent, and in any case respecting the principle of proportionality in its application;

d. Pursuing national strategieS with the objective of (a) eliminating laws that have an impact in terms of racial discrimination, particularly those which target people of African descent indirectly by penalizing acts which can be committed only by them, or laws that apply only to non-nationals without legitimate grounds or which do not respect the principle of proportionality; (b) developing, through appropriate education programmes,. training in respect for human rights, as well as sensitization to intercultural relations for law enforcement officials, police personnel, and persons working in the system of justice to eliminate discriminatory practices including institutional racism;

e. Taking the necessary steps to prevent questioning, arrests and searches which are in reality based solely on the physical appearance of people of African descent, or any profiling which exposes them to greater suspicion. To that end, it is vital both to modify institutionalized stereotypes concerning people of African descent and to apply appropriate sanctions against law enforcements officials who act on the basis of racial profiles;

f. Preventing and most severely punishing violence, acts of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and all violations of human rights affecting . people of African descent which are committed by State officials, particularly police and army personnel,. customs authorities, and persons working in airports, penal institutions and social, medical and psychiatric services;

g. Ensuring that people of African descent, like all other persons, enjoy all the guarantees of a fair trial and equality before the law, as enshrined in the relevant international human rights instruments and specifically the right to presumption of innocence, the right' to assistance of counsel and to an interpreter; the right to an independent and impartial tribunal and guarantees of fair punishment and the enjoyment of all the rights to which prisoners are entitled under the relevant international norms.

iv. Bring to justice all offenders involved in trafficking and designing anti-trafficking campaigns, setting up special protection mechanisms, such as sheltered housing and special residence permits for women who want to escape from traffickers, and ensuring that social inclusion programmes for victims of trafficking are established;

v. Special attention shall be given to the training and sensitization of police, prison officials, lawyers, judges and other justice officials;

5.2.2 Special measures:

The adoption of special measures such as affirmative action is essential to alleviating and remedying disparities in the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms affecting people of African descent, protecting them from discrimination and overcoming persistent or structural disparities and de facto inequalities resulting from circumstances of history. 20 As such States should:

i. Develop or elaborate national action plans to promote diversity, equality, equity, social justice,

20 See, CERD in General Recommendations 34 and 32 as well as reiterated in observations and recommendations made by CERD to State parties


equality of opportunity and the participation of all.. Through, among other things, affirmative or . positive actions and strategies, these plans should aim at creating conditions for all to participate effectively in decision-making and realize civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights in all spheres of life on the basis of non-discrimination; 21

ii. Supported by international cooperation as appropriate, to consider positively concentrating additional investments in health-care systems, education, public health, electricity, drinking water and environmental control, as well as other affirmative or positive action initiatives, in communities of primarily African deseent;22

iii. Establish, on the basis of statistical information, national programmes, including affirmative or positive measures, to promote the access of people of African descent to basic social services, including primary education, basic health care and adequate housing;23

iv. Design, promote and implement at the national, regional and international levels strategies which may include special and positive measures, for furthering equal social. development and the realization of the civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights of people of African descent, including through more effective access to the political, judicial and administrative institutions;24

v. Adopt measures to achieve appropriate representation in educational institutions, housing, political parties, parliaments and employment, especially in the judiciary, police, army and other civil services, which in some cases might involve electoral reforms, land reforms and campaigns for equal participation;25

5.3 Development

5.3.1 Right to development and measures against poverty

States should take measures to realize the right to development for people of African descent as required by the 1986 Declaration on the Right to Development, taking into account the economic dimensions of reparations.26 Recognizing that poverty is both a cause and a consequence of discrimination, States should also take a rights-based approach to poverty alleviation which aims at the elimination of discrimination including:

i. Implementing development initiatives which aim to realize' the rights of people of African descent and in a manner appropriate to their culture and considering their identity. Such approaches should recognize the interdependence and interrelatedness of rights, taking a holistic approach to development and ensuring the full, active and Meaningful participation of people of African descent throughout development program cycles;

ii. Undertaking all necessary measures for the realisation of the right to development of people of African descent through ensuring equality of opportunities in their access to basic resources, education, technology, health, services, food, housing, employment, markets, loans and the fair distribution of income;

iii. Adopt measures to preserve, protect and restore traditional knowledge of people of African descent;

21 Durban Programme of Action, para. 99

22 mid, para. 5

23 Ibid, para. 100 Ibid, para. 107

25 Ibid, Durban Declaration, para. 108


See, Durban Programme of Action, para. 158 .


iv. Guaranteeing that the benefits of wider sustainable development initiatives are enjoyed fairly by people of African descent contributing effectively to the improvement of their quality of life, and addressed within existing mechanisms, or where necessary, developing mechanisms to prevent those aspects of globalization which may lead to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

v. Working with international organizations, including international financial institutions, to ensure. the development projects they support take into account the economic and social situation of people of African descent;

vi. Cooperating to create an enabling international environment for ensuring investment, aid and trade policies which can further positive development outcomes for people of African descent and minimize harmful impacts, through human rights impact assessment and monitoring and evaluating. such policies;

vii. Recognising the rights of people of African descent in urban areas and facilitating access to
adequate housing, water and sanitation services and the development and ownership of property and holdings;

5.3.2 Education

States should take all necessary measures to give effect to the right of people of African descent, particularly children and young people, to free primary education and access to all levels and forms of quality public education without discrimination. States should:

i. Guarantee full access to free primary education and access to secondary education, ensuring that quality education is accessible and available in areas where communities of African descent live, especially rural and marginalized communities, with particular attention to improving the quality of public education;

ii. Take measures to ensure that public and private education systems do not discriminate against or exclude children of African descent, and that they are protected. from direct or indirect discrimination, stigmatization and violence from peers or teachers, which seriously hampers their educational experience. To this end training and sensitization should be provided to teachers and measures should be taken to increase the number of teachers of African descent working in education institutions;

iii. Combat the indirect discrimination faced by children in education systems by removing the negative stereotypes and imagery often used in teaching materials, ensuring the compulsory inclusion of the histories and cultures of people of African descent, including the transatlantic slave trade in curricula and the cultural or linguistic relevance of teaching for children of African descent;

iv. Take measures to reduce the school dropout rate for children of African descent with greater support and attention to families, addressing discrimination in schools and ensuring that curricula are accessible and relevant, including making bilingual education available where necessary;

v. Promote access to new technologies that would offer people of African descent, particularly women, children and young people, adequate resources for education, technological development and long-distance learning in local communities.



5.3.3 Employment


States should take measures to ensure the right of people of African descent, including migrant workers, not to be subject to any discriminatory conditions of labour, and, inter alia, employment or salary. To this effect States should:

i. Ensure that the workers' rights of people of African descent particularly migrants are respected and protected including those related to fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, and to the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control, social security, including social insurance, access to education, health care, social services and respect for their cultural identity;27

ii. Support t and encourage trade unions to work with. African-descended civil society and communities to ensure their rights as workers as respected;

iii. Adopt or increase the effectiveness of legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment and all discriminatory practices in the labour market that affects people of African descent and protects them against all such practices;

iv. Implement special measures to promote the employment of people of African descent in public administration, as well as in private companies including affirmative action policies such as quota systems;

v. Support and encourage business and entrepreneurship by people of African descent through training, capacity building and facilitating access to credit, particularly for women;

vi. Collect, compile, analyze, disseminate and publish reliable quantitative and qualitative data which reveals patterns of access to labour markets, participation in diverse sectors and positions with particular attention to migrants and women of African descent;

5.3.4 Housing

Recognizing the poor and insecure housing conditions in which many people of African descent live, States should develop and implement policies and projects aimed at ensuring that people of African descent gain and sustain a safe and secure home and community in which to live in peace and dignity. States should:

Implement special measures to ensure people of African descent have access to necessary services, potable water and sanitation, and avoiding the segregation or ghettoization of people of African descent into low standards of housing;

ii. Implement initiatives to support the development and improvement of poor housing conditions particularly in slum areas and informal settlements. To this end States should involve Afro- descendant communities as partners in housing project construction, .rehabilitation and maintenance;

iii. Take measures to ensure security of legal security of tenure, availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure, . affordability, habitability, accessibility, location and cultural adequacy and prevent the forced eviction of people of African descent from their homes in both urban and rural contexts;

27 See, Durban Programme of Action, para, 30 (g).


5.3.5 Health

States must enhance measures to fulfil the right of people of African descent to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right and eliminating disparities in health status, which might result from racial discrimination, including;

i. Involving people of African descent in designing and implementing health-based programmes and projects;

ii. Ensuring that quality health services are available and accessible without discrimination with special effort to increase availability in rural and marginalised areas high populations of people of African descent;

Hi. Undertaking training and sensitization initiatives with health service providers to ensure that

people of African descent do not experience racism or discrimination when seeking services and that services are provided in a manner appropriate to their culture;

iv. Ensuring health education material and information is available in a wide variety of languages

and available and accessible to people of African descent including those most vulnerable;

5.4 Multiple Forms of Discrimination

States should adopt and implement laws, policies and programs which provide effective protection for people of African descent that suffer multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination based on other related grounds such as, but not exclusive to, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, birth or other status rooted in the DDPA.28 States should also review and repeal all policies and laws that could negatively affect all people of African descent who suffer from multiple forms of discrimination; States should pay particular attention to:

i. Ratifying and implementing legislation that has particular relevance.for the rights of women and girls of African descent including 11,0 Convention 189 on Domestic Workers;

ii. Mainstreaming a gender perspective in designing and monitoring public policies, taking into account the specific needs and realities of women and girls of African descent and adopting a holistic approach to ensure their rights;

iii. Paying special attention to the multiple forms of discrimination and exploitation that women and migrants of African descent face in the workplace particularly those in informal work situations in sectors such as domestic service, agriculture and construction, and adopt and implement legislation that protects their rights;

iv. Implementing mass media and information campaigns to eliminate racist and sexist stereotypes and prejudices against women of African descent. Human rights education and specific gender and equality issues must be incorporated into training for law enforcement officials, the media, health authorities, labour unions, immigration authorities, members of the armed forces, prison personnel and teachers;

v. Giving special attention to the health needs and rights of women of African descent, including the right to sexual and reproductive health, trauma treatment and counselling for women in especially difficult circumstances. Health policies and programmes must be culturally relevant.

28 See the Durban Declaration para. 2.


Providing training and sensitization to health care professionals, so racist stereotypes and prejudices against women of African descent can be eradicated.

vi. Adopting special measures to ensure equality in the exercise of children's rights, in particular corresponding to the areas that most affect their lives including access to quality education, housing, health services, social prOtection and development;

vii. Undertaking initiatives specifically aimed at protecting the special rights of children of African descent in vulnerable situations, such as unaccompanied migrant and refugee children, children with disabilities, children living and working in the streets, children in conflict with the law and children in situations of armed conflict;

Adopting special measures to addressing the specific violence that boys and youth of African descent face and taking measures to protect children from economic exploitation (particularly in per-urban areas of major cities) and from performing any work which exposes them to physical and mental harm, violence and abuse that limit their enjoyment of their right to education; and combating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children of African descent particularly as it intersects with racial discrimination, poverty and gender inequality faced by many girls of African descent;

ix. Signing and ratifying or acceding to the 'core' instruments on migrants rights protection, namely the 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW), ILO Convention 97 on Migrant Workers and ILO Convention 143 on migration for employment (Supplemental Provisions), for those States that have not yet done so and effectively implementing for those that have done so;

x. Ensuring that information on health, employment, housing and other services is accessible and available in all relevant languages and in a manner consistent with the cultures of migrants of African descent;

xi. Working with the media. while maintaining full respect for freedom of opinion and expression, to develop codes of conduct which include Measures to prevent inaccurate and negative stereotypical depictions of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers which can cause or exacerbate xenophobic and racial hatred and violence. Ensuring that migrants of African descent are able to enjoy equal access to justice, including in the context of racist crime;

xii. Refraining from taking discriminatory measures and from enacting or maintaining legislation that would arbitrarily deprive persons of their nationality, especially. if such measures and legislation render a person stateless. Ensuring that all migrant children, regardless of the migratory status of their parents, have access to birth registration;

xiii. Respecting and implementing humanitarian obligations relating to the protection of refugees, asylum-seekers, returnees and internally displaced persons;

xiv. Recognizing that older persons of African descent face increased risk of discrimination and vulnerability, and adopting measures to ensure they have access to pensions, social security or relevant social protection schemes and to culturally relevant and sensitive health care;

xv. Ensuring full promotion and protection of people of African descent with disabilities, particularly equal access to health, education and employment, and adopt measures for their inclusion in social, economic, political and cultural life, with particular attention to ensuring their participation in the design of programs and policies that concern them;

6. Duty bearers and other actors


The Decade should be perceived as an international initiative, which will bring together several actors at the international, regional and national levels.

6.1 National Level

The principal responsibility for the protection and promotion of the rights of people of African descent rests with. Member States. The political commitment should come from the top of goVernment and should be mainstreamed throughout the work of relevant State actors including parliamentarians; relevant ministries particularly those responsible for police and justice system, labour, education, health, women, social welfare, defence and the armed forces, finance, planning and development; and security institutions such as the armed forces and police.

Particular attention should also be paid to the roles of national human rights institutions, human rights NGOs, NGOs focusing on racial equality issues, representative members of people of African descent; community organizations, particularly those dealing with social issues such as health, housing, education, development assistance, migrants, minorities, religious issues, refuges and asylum seekers; merribers of the judiciary and jurists; trade unions and professional groups, including associations of teachers, lawyers, journalists; human rights experts; academies and educators; representatives of research institutes; the media; corporate representatives, including business and industry associations; private foundations. Special efforts should be made to raise awareness of the Decade and the issues within the general public.

6,2 Regional Level

Regional organizations including the Inter-American System, the African Union and the European Community, the ASEAN, CARICOM, and other regional mechanisms within their. areas of competence,

6.3 International Level

Include United Nations programmes, funds, specialized agencies and other bodies; international financial and. development institutions; all intergovernmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations

Activities carried out under the Decade should be designed to bring the objectives of the Decade to as wide an audience as possible, involving the general public, through campaigns, events, researches, development of legislation and policies, including education.

7 Strategies at the International level

The International community in general and in particular relevant United Nations programmes, funds, specialized agencies and other bodies; international financial and development institutions; regional organizations and other international mechanisms within their areas of competence, should give the highest priority to addressing the human rights and development challenges faced by people of African descent, by inter alia implementing sustainable programs and measures and allocating appropriate funding. As such they should:


i. Address the issues related to people of African descent from the angle of equality and nondiscrimination and as a cross-cutting issue across their respective areas of work and ensure that initiatives, research and measures are' adopted to realize all their rights and freedoms;

ii. Create mechanisms to monitor the situation of people of African descent' with a particular focus on patterns of discrimination and its effect on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural as well as civil and political rights.

iii. Adopt human rights-based development programmes in their fields of competency which address human rights and development of people of African descent including access to education, employment, health, housing, land. and labour. They should establish partnership with people of African descent, support their initiatives at the community level and facilitate the exchange of information and technical know-how;

iv. See the Decade as an opportunity to advance talks with people. of African descent on the issue of reparation and reconciliation for slavery and the transatlantic and trans-Saharan trades in captured African people;

Y. Introduce initiatives aimed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, ensure that future

development objectives post-2015, take full consideration of the situation and rights of people of African descent. Monitoring and evaluation activities of such initiatives measure their impact on people of African descent through the use of appropriate indicators and collection of reliable disaggregated data;

vi. Encourage the following United Nations specialized agencies to develop studies and reports, regarding the themes of the International Decade such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank Group, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the following United Nations programmes, funds and offices such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as regional commissions. During the forthcoming Decade, the above studies could be used to inform a mid-term review of the Decade with the view to monitoring the progress made, sharing learning and practice between key actors and informing plans and policies for the remaining five years of the Decade and beyond;

vii. Encourage the International Labour Organization to carry out activities and programmes to
combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against people of African descent including migrants in work related areas, and to support actions of States, employers' organizations and trade unions in thiS field.

viii. Invite the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to provide support
to States in the preparation of teaching materials and tools for promoting teaching, training and educational activities relating to human rights of people of African descent and their contribution to societies and their history

ix. Encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue the fellowship programme for people of African descent during the Decade. International human rights treaty monitoring bodies and thematic and country-specific Special Procedures- of the Human Rights Council, should, systematically monitor the human rights situations of people of African descent and request disaggregated information on this group / during reporting, periodic sessions and country visits;



x. Encourage the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue its work on the development of a database containing good practices which has positive impact on addressing racial discrimination faced by people of African descent and invites States to share experiences, learning and practices to improve and systematise policies and programmes;


xi. Encourage the mainstream media to represent the diversity of a multicultural society and play a role in fighting racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance faced by people of African descent;

Invites the General Assembly to consider:

xii. Requesting the Working Group of Experts for People of African Descent in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, and CERD to elaborate a draft United Nations Declaration on the Promotion and full respect of the human rights of people of African. descent by 2015 for the approval by the Human Rights Council;

xiii. Establishing as a result of the Decade a United Nations Permanent Forum for People of African Descent to serve as consultation mechanism for representative organizations of people of African descent and other interested stakeholder

8. Coordination of the Decade

In recognition of the fact that action at the national and local levels is crucial to the effective promotion and protection of rights of People of African Descent, as is an effective international coordination structure, this Programme of Action lays out coordination plans at the following levels:

8.1 National Level

i. National focal points for implementation of the Programme of Action should be designated in the States with recognizable presence of people of African Descent. Such focal points may consist of specially constituted committees including representatives of relevant government agencies, non-governmental organizations including people of African descent organizations; or, alternatively, existing appropriate structures or national human rights institutions;

ii. Each national focal point should be charged with identifying national situation related with people of African descent, developing a national plan of action, raising funds, coordinating with regional and international bodies involved in implementing the objectives of the Decade and reporting to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on progress made towards the realization of the strategic goals of the Decade;

Each national focal point shall, as well, serve as a conduit for the channelling of international and regional input, information and support to the local and grass-roots level in their respective .countries;

iv. Each State shall be encouraged to establish a national human rights resource and research centre

capable of engaging in research, training of trainers, preparation, collection, translation and dissemination of materials related to the history and present situation of people of African descent, and organization of conferences, workshops and courses, or, where such centres already exist, to work towards their strengthening;


v. Civil Society should a) be encouraged to form national, regional and international networks to share learning, experiences and good practices, raise awareness of the situation of people of African descent and carry out joint advocacy and development initiatives; b) develop capacity- building programmes intended for people of African descent with a particular focus on developing leadership skills; and implementation of the plan draws significantly on international technical cooperation.

vi. Urges States, in accordance with international human rights standards and their respective domestic legal framework, to resolve problems of ownership of ancestral lands inhabited for generations by people of African descent and to promote the productive utilization of land and the comprehensive development of these communities, respecting their culture and their specific forms of decision-making.

8.2 International and Regional Levels

i. Invites the General Assembly convening a mid-term World Summit on people of African descent involving the Member States, the United Nations specialized agencies, programs and funds as well as representatives of civil society focusing on the rights of people of African descent, in order to assess the progress achieved part way through the Decade for People of African Descent and to adjust plans and strategies for the remaining years as appropriate;

ii. Requests the Secretary-General to appoint the High Commissioner for Human Rights as the Coordinator of the Decade in order to follow up on the implementation of the provisions of the Programme of Action for the Decade. A. progress report on the implementation of these provisions will be presented by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly biannually, taking into account information and views provided by States, relevant human rights treaty monitoring bodies, special procedures of the Human Rights Council and other mechanisms of the United Nations, international, regional and non-governmental organizations, including organizations of people of African descent and national human rights institutions;

iii. Invites the Intergovernmental Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and. Programme of Action to adopt as standing agenda item the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Decade for people of African descent and to act as a reporting mechanism for the Decade;

iv. Requests that an inter-agency meeting with active participation of the WGPAD be organized immediately after the proclamation of the Decade, with a view to planning working meetings and other activities;

v. 'Request the High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a Project for the Decade of People of African descent to assist the funding of projects and programmes which promote the goals of the Decade and ensure the participation of people of African descent to the Working Group and the Permanent Forum.




Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Time: The Black Middle-class in the Age of Obama

Leland Ware and Theodore J. Davis

Permission Pending: Leland Ware and Theodore J. Davis, Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Time: the Black Middle-class in the Age of Obama, 55 Howard Law Journal 533 (Winter 2012) (380 footnotes omitted).


Conditions for African Americans are different and immeasurably better than they were before the enactment of the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s. At the present, it is almost difficult to imagine the extreme oppression African Americans endured under Jim Crow. In the southern states, schools, restaurants, hotels, theaters, and public transportation were segregated. The separation included elevators, parks, public restrooms, hospitals, drinking fountains, prisons, and places of worship. Whites and blacks were born in separate hospitals, educated in segregated schools, and buried in separate graveyards. Blacks were not allowed to vote in elections. There were, in effect, two criminal justice systems: one for whites and another for blacks. The system was codified in state and local laws and enforced by intimidation and violence. When the color line was breached, violence was unleashed against offenders by the Ku Klux Klan and local whites, often in concert with local law enforcement officials. Lynching and other forms of violence and intimidation were routine. In the North and South, blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods and were relegated to the lowest paying, least desirable occupations.

During the segregation era, however, a small black-middle-class managed to prosper. The roots of this group can be traced back to the antebellum period. Prior to the Civil War, there were house and field slaves in the South and free blacks in the North. The house slaves occupied a higher status and, in many cases, were the mixed-race offspring of slave owners. During the Reconstruction Era and into the early decades of the twentieth century, this mixed-race aristocracy occupied the top rungs of the social hierarchy. After World War I, as southern blacks migrated to urban industrial centers, a new middle-class emerged. This group consisted of small entrepreneurs, educated professionals, and clerical sales workers. Black businesses consisted of barber shops and beauty parlors, dry cleaners, restaurants, grocery stores, and the like. Physicians and dentists occupied a high social status as did other blacks with college degrees. After World War II, the middle-class expanded slowly as blacks in the North found work in unionized occupations that paid better than what they could otherwise have earned.

In the decades that followed the enactment of the Civil Rights laws, the black middle-class has grown rapidly. Levels of educational attainment are higher. Employment opportunities are greater. Family incomes are higher. Over the last twenty years, more African American families have moved to suburban communities than those who headed north during the great migration. The election of Barack Obama as President in 2008 signaled an unprecedented advance in race relations in America. Some heralded it as the beginning of a post-racial era.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, an examination of the status of African American families reveals a mixed picture; the best of times for some, the worst of times for others. For those in a position to take advantage of the opportunities created by the Civil Rights revolution, the gains over the last generation have been remarkable. For those left behind in America's impoverished communities, the obstacles to advancement are more daunting today than they were a generation ago. They continue to be plagued by the many issues arising from poverty and residential segregation.

Conditions are only marginally better for lower-middle-class African Americans. For this group, wealth building has been difficult, and the current recession halted many of the gains that had previously been made. Middle-class blacks earn less than their white counterparts. Their average net worth is much lower than middle-class whites. African Americans have moved to suburban communities, but many reside in areas that are less affluent than white middle-class communities. All homeowners have been hammered by housing crisis, but black homeowners have fared far worse than whites.

This Article will evaluate the progress and current conditions of middle-class African American families, a group that has received far less academic attention than low-income families. Part I discusses the diversity in attitudes among African Americans along class lines explaining that they are not a homogenous group. Blacks are increasingly becoming geographically dispersed with different interests, competing claims, and little reason to identify with one another. Part II shows the substantial gains in educational attainment levels among blacks that have occurred since 1970. The next section delineates the advancement in occupational attainment levels over the last forty years. Part III shows that black family incomes have risen steadily since 1970. Part IV shows that the gains have not been evenly distributed; there are significant income disparities among blacks.

The next section examines the history and continuing problems caused by residential segregation. Until the late 1960s, the real estate industry, backed by the federal government, did everything it could to keep blacks out of suburban communities leaving a legacy that continues to haunt us. Parts VI and VII show that while integration has increased, levels of residential segregation remain high, especially in the ghetto belt located in Northeast and Midwest. Parts VIII and IX examine the movement of black families to suburban communities and, in some cases, electing to reside in all-black, upscale suburban neighborhoods. The final section shows how the housing crisis and the economic recession have had a devastating effect on the black middle-class.


Over the last twenty-five years, African Americans have been slowly dividing into three socioeconomic groups: one that is low-income, another with modest means, and a growing segment that is very affluent. Divisions in the attitudes and values of African Americans are growing along class lines. These divisions were highlighted in a 2007 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, Blacks See Growing Values Gap Between Poor and Middle-class. The researchers documented the attitudes of African Americans on a range of issues. By a ratio of two-to-one, the respondents said the values of poor and middle-class blacks had grown more dissimilar over the past decade. Twenty-three percent of the respondents said middle-class and poor blacks share a lot of values in common. 42% said they had some values in common; 22% said they share only a little in common, and 9% said they shared almost no values. On the question of racial identity a significant minority, 37% said that blacks should no longer be seen as a single race. Only a slim majority, 53%, reported that it is still appropriate to view blacks as single race.

The diversity among African Americans' attitudes toward interaction with whites is illustrated in Professor Elijah Anderson's book, The Cosmopolitan Canopy. Anderson explained how individuals with different racial, gender, and ethnic backgrounds interact in public spaces. In the course of his analysis, Anderson describes the orientations of two groups of African Americans: ethnocentrics and cosmopolitans. Ethnocentrics view cross-racial contacts with deep suspicion. They consider most whites to be racist and remain vigilant for evidence of racial slights and other forms of discrimination. Ethnocentrics are defined by loyalty to their own group. They do not socialize with whites. Their attitudes are associated with working and lower-class blacks and are produced by years of social isolation in segregated neighborhoods.

Blacks with a cosmopolitan perspective tend to be more educated than ethnocentrics. They are usually middle to upper-middle-class. Cosmopolitans are more generous in their interpretations of the actions of whites and acknowledge the progress made in race relations. They are more accepting of people who are different from themselves. They are willing to give whites the benefit of the doubt in their interactions with them. They tend to live in integrated neighborhoods and socialize comfortably in black and white circles.

In a commentary on the differences among blacks, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America, Eugene Robinson divided African Americans into four subgroups. One group is the Transcendent Elite, a small group of African Americans that reside in a world of wealth, power and influence. Examples of this group include the Obamas, Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Kobe Bryant, and Vernon Jordan. Another group, the Mainstream Middle-class, represents the majority of black Americans who own their homes, are gainfully employed in a range of occupations, and live what some might consider the American Dream. There is another group, The Emergents, consisting of mixed-race families and recent immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. Finally, there is The Abandoned, a large and growing underclass of impoverished, racially isolated families concentrated in America's inner cities. These four groups are geographically dispersed. They have different interests, competing claims, and little reason to identify with one another.

Today's black middle-class occupies an awkward position between poor and working class blacks and the white middle-class. Upper-middle-class African Americans' material success sets them apart from the rest of the black community. They can be recognized by their bearing, grooming, and dress. They purchase the best they can afford in homes, cars, clothes, and furnishings. The vast majority of this group takes pains to present themselves as respectable individuals. They maintain cultural and class distinction between themselves and other blacks although they occasionally visit the hood to purchase soul food or to visit an acquaintance.

Middle-class blacks take careful note of welcome signs in integrated social settings. They gravitate to restaurants and nightclubs where upscale blacks tend to congregate to relieve the stress they experience at work and in other integrated settings. They work hard to avoid being confused with their lower-class counterparts. Middle-class blacks are aware of how society views poorer members of their race, and they privately share some of those sentiments. Unlike the urban underclass, the black middle-class lives in a world filled with options. They are not restricted in the ways their forbears were by segregation. They are members of not just a race, but also an affluent, economic class. This Article is focused largely on the conditions of the group Robinson identified as the Mainstream Middle-class, the group with incomes above the poverty and working poor levels and below levels of the wealthy entertainers, athletes and entrepreneurs that constitute the Transcendent Elite.


Defining the middle-class has never been an easy task for social scientists. Over the years, scholars have used education, occupation, income, and home ownership as the primary measures of socioeconomic stratification. The advances in African Americans' educational attainment levels since World War II have been significant. In 1940, the vast majority of blacks (92.3%) had completed less than 4 years of high school. Only 6.4% had completed high school and 1.3% of the black population had completed four or more years of college. As shown in Graph 1, by 1970, the proportion of blacks 25 years and older with less than 12 years of school had declined by 26%.

Graph 1

Educational Attainment Levels of Blacks 25 Years and Older: 1970-2010


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, % of People 25 Years and Over Who Have Completed High School or College, by Race, Hispanic Origin and Sex: Selected Years 1940 to 2010, tbl. A-2 (2010), http://

By 2010, the percentage of blacks (25 years and older) with less than 12 years of school had declined to 15.8% from a high of 66.3% in 1970. It is not surprising that the decades with the largest decline in the proportion of blacks with less than 12 years of school were the 1970s (dropping by 17.5%) followed by the 1980s (declining by 15%). The 20 year decline between 1970 and 1990 was 32.5% compared to only 18% between 1990 and 2010. Despite the decline, in 2010, the percentage of blacks with less than 12 years of school was still relatively high at 15.8% when compared to 7.9% for non-Hispanic whites. The proportion of blacks in the moderate education group (4 years of high school and some college) rose from 29.2% in 1970 to 64.4% in 2010. The largest increase in this group occurred between 1970 and 1995, increasing by 31.4 percentage points. Since 1995, the proportion of blacks with 4 years of high school and some college has increased by only 3.8%.

Among black high school graduates in 1970, only 4.5% had 16 or more years of education. However, during the 1970s, many young African Americans took advantage of new opportunities consisting of governmental grants, low-interest education loans, and increased scholarship opportunities from institutions of higher learning, anxious to recruit black students. By 1980, the proportion of college educated African Americans had increased to 7.9%. During the 1980s, the growth in the proportion of the black population with 16 or more years of education equaled the advances that occurred of 3.4% during the 1970s. By 1990, the proportion of blacks with 16 or more years of schooling had increased to 11.3%. The largest increase in the proportion of blacks with 4 or more years of college occurred during the 1990s when the proportion of blacks with 16 or more years of education grew by 5.3 percentage points to 16.5%. Although the proportion of black college graduates continued to increase during the 2000s, the growth rate of 3.3% was slightly lower than it was in earlier decades.

Despite what appears to be a leveling off of blacks' educational attainment during the 2000s, there are two things worth noting. First, blacks experienced a significant increase in their educational attainment levels during the 40-year period between 1970 and 2010. This is especially significant since educational attainment is a key contributor to the rise in and indicator of the size of new black middle-class. Second, despite improvements in blacks' educational attainment, they still lagged behind whites. For example, in 2010, the gap between black and white college graduates was 13.4%.


During the first half of the twentieth century, blacks abandoned the fields of the agrarian South and found employment in factories in the industrializing North and Midwest. As the discussion in this sections shows, over the last 40 years, jobs have moved from factory floors to retail outlets and office suites. In 2010, 29% of employed blacks were employed in management, professional, or related occupations. An additional 25% were employed in sales or office occupations. Another 25% were employed in service occupations (such as food and beverage preparation, lodging, cosmetology, recreation, protection, personal services, etc.), and these occupations required modest educational attainment levels and afforded a moderate income.

We divided black workers into white- and blue-collar categories based on the Standard Occupational Classification System used to organize workers into occupational categories. White-collar occupations are defined as those who administer, supervise, or perform work that come in part under these groups and usually include managerial, professional, technical, sales, clerical, and other administrative support positions. White-collar occupations are knowledge based jobs involving little manual labor. Approximately half of the black population is now employed in white collar jobs. In 1972, only 34.8% of black workers were employed in white-collar occupations as shown in Graph 2. By 2006, the proportion of blacks employed in white-collar positions had increased to 49.5%. This was a 14.7% increase over the 34-year period. During the decade of the 1970s, the proportion of blacks in white-collar positions only grew by 3.8%. During the 1980s, the proportion of blacks employed in white-collar positions grew by 7.3%. During the 1990s, it grew by 5.9%, but it declined by 2.3% from 2000 to 2006.

Graph 2

Changes in Occupational Classifications: 1972-2006

Source: James A. Davis, Tom W. Smith, & Peter V. Marsden, General Social Surveys, 1972-2006, Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (Apr. 12, 2009).

During the 1970s, the proportion of blacks employed in blue-collar occupations declined by 5%, and it further declined by 7.3 percentage points in the 1980s. The largest decline in the proportion of blacks employed in blue-collar positions took place in the mid-to-late 1980s. Between 1982 and 1990, the proportion of blacks employed in blue-collar occupations decreased from 63.1% to 54.1% (or 9 percentage points). During the 1990s, it declined by 8 percentage points, however the decades of the 2000s witnessed a 3% increase in the number of blacks employed in blue-collar occupations. Since 2000, the proportion of blacks employed in blue-collar and white-collar positions has been approximately fifty/fifty.

Changes in African American occupational characteristics can be seen from another perspective when white-collar classifications are divided into upper and lower categories. In 1972, 34.8% of all employed blacks were in white collar occupations. By 2006, the figure had risen to 49.5%. In 1972, 21.8 % of all employed blacks worked in upper white-collar occupations with 13% in lower-white collar occupations as shown in Graph 2. In 2006, approximately 26% of all black, white-collar workers were employed in upper white-collar occupations. The proportion of blacks employed in lower, white-collar occupations increased since 1972 from 13% to 23.5 in 2006. The proportion of blacks in upper- and lower-white-collar occupations has declined since 2000. The proportion of African Americans in lower-white-collar occupations declined from a high of 28.2% in 2002 to 23.5% in 2006. The proportion of blacks in upper-white-collar occupations declined from a high of 29.4% in 2000 to 26% in 2006.

Although blacks have made substantial advances in occupational classifications, they still lag behind whites in proportion to their population employed in white-collar occupations. In 1972, the difference in the proportion of blacks and whites employed in white-collar occupations was 22.5%. By 2006, the difference was down to 12.9%. The proportion of whites employed in white-collar occupations increased slightly from 57.3% in 1972 to 62.4% in 2006. These significant changes have contributed to a rise in the size of the black middle-class. However, much of the change in blacks' occupational classifications can be attributed to the change in the nature of work since the 1970s. Agricultural and many of the lower-blue collar and manufacturing jobs have declined, and many blacks have been left unemployed, underemployed, or employed in lower level white-collar positions.


The average family incomes of African Americans have increased significantly over the last 40 years. Describing the economic status of the black middle-class in the 1950s, E. Franklin Frazier wrote:

In 1949, the median income of Negro families in the United States was $1,665, or 51 percent of the median income of white families, which was $3,232. Only 16 percent of the Negro families as compared to 55 percent of the white families had incomes of $3,000 or more . . . . For the country as a whole, the incomes of members of the black bourgeoisie range from between $2,000 and $2,500 and upward. The majority of their incomes do not amount to as much as $4,000. In fact, scarcely more than one percent of all the Negroes in the country have an income amounting to $4,000 and only one-half of one percent of them has an income of $5,000 or more.

The data provides ample proof of a growing black middle-class after the late 1960s. For the purposes of this Article, black families were divided into three income groups based on constant 2009 dollars. For purposes of this study, the lower-income group consisted of families with incomes under $49,999, which was $10,089 less than or 83% of the national median. The moderate-income group consisted of families with annual incomes between $50,000 and $99,999. The upper-income group included families with annual incomes above $100,000.

In 1970, the proportion of black families in the lower income category was 76%; by 2009, this had declined to 61% as shown in Graph 3. Since 1970, the proportion of black families in the lower-income category has declined by an average of 5.3% per decade with the exception of the 2000s. The greatest decline in the percent of blacks in the lower-income group occurred during the 1990s, when there was an 8% drop in the percent of blacks in the lower-income group. Despite the overall decline in the percentage of blacks in the lower-income group since the 1970s, between 2000 and 2009, the proportion of blacks in the lower-income category increased by 3% points.

Graph 3

Distribution of Black Families by Income: 1970-2009


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Families by Total Money Income, Race, and Hispanic Origin of Householder: 1967 to 2009 tbl. F-23 (2010), available at 2010.xls

The change in the proportion of black families in the moderate-income category between 1970 and 2009 was not as great as the changes among black families in the lower- and upper-income groups. In 1970, only 22% of black families were in the moderate-income group. By 2009, the proportion of families in the moderate-income group had increased to 27%. Since 1970, the proportion of black families in the middle-income group increased by roughly 3 percent per decade. However, since 2000, the proportion of black families in the moderate-income group declined by 2% from 29 to 27%.

In 1970, only 2.4% of the black families were in the higher-income category. By 2009, the proportion of black families in this category had increased to 12.1%. The largest increase in the proportion of blacks in the upper income category occurred during the 1980s and 1990s. During the 1980s, the proportion of black families in the upper-income category rose by 3.6%. Throughout the 1990s, the percentage of blacks in the upper-income category rose by 4.6%. However, the 2000s witnessed a decrease of 0.6% (or no significant change) in the amount of blacks in the upper-income category.

Thus, since 1970, there has been a steady expansion in the proportion of black families in the upper-income category (up by 9.7%) and a substantial decrease in the proportion of black families in the lower-income group (down by 15%). The percentage of black families in the moderate income category has changed by only 5 percentage points since the 1970s. Nevertheless, in spite of significant improvements in the percent of blacks in the moderate- and upper-income group and the decline in the percentage in the lower-income group, over half of black families still have annual incomes that are less than $50,000. While the proportion of blacks in the moderate- and upper-income groups increased steadily between the 1980s and 1990s, these changes appeared to have leveled off for all three groups during the 2000s.

If we combine the moderate- and upper-income groups to garner an estimate of the proportion of the black population that would represent the middle-class group, we would see that there has been a significant expansion in the size of this group as shown in Graph 4. During the 1970s, the estimated proportion of families in this group increased by 4.9%. During the decade of the 1980s, it increased by 5.1% and by another 7.3% during the 1990s. However, during the 2000s, the estimated proportional size of the black families in the middle-class decreased by 2.6%.

Graph 4

Proportion of Families with Incomes Above $50,000 by Race: 1970-2009

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Families by Total Money Income, Race, and Hispanic Origin of Householder: 1967 to 2009 tbl. F-23 (2010), available at 2010.xls

In spite of significant improvements, the median income of black families is still less than two-thirds the income of white families. In 1970, the median income for black families was $29,921 (in constant 2009 dollars) compared to $48,777 for white families. By 2009, the median income for black families had increased to $38,409 compared to $62,545 for white families. This meant that, in 1970 and 2009, for every one dollar earned by a white family, a black family earned sixty-one cents. In essence, there has been no measurable change in the black/white income ratio since 1970. The black family/white family income ratio did get as small as 0.64 (or to put it another way, the average black family earned 64 cents for every dollar earned by the average white family) in 2000.

Despite a significant rise in the proportion of black families in the moderate- and upper-income groups, the proportion of black families in these income groups in 2009 was still more than twenty percentage points smaller than that of white families as shown in Graph 4. However, it should be noted that between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of black families in the middle-to upper-income groups increased at a faster rate than the proportion of white families. During this 30-year period, the proportion of white families in the middle-income group increased by 13.8%, while the percentage of black families in this group grew by 17.3%.

During the 2000s, both percentages of black and white families in the moderate- and upper-income groups have declined roughly 2%. Nevertheless, according to a PEW Research Center Report, the median wealth of white households was 20 times that of black households, and this was the largest gap between the two groups in over 25 years. Some of the income and wealth disparities between blacks and whites can be attributed to the high proportion of blacks clustered into lower-level white collar occupations (such as sales and clerical), while middle-class whites tend to be evenly split between higher level occupations (professionals and managers) and lower level jobs. Another socioeconomic reality that impedes the wealth development of middle-class blacks is their relationships with family and friends. A large proportion of the black middle-class is first or second generation. They are more likely to have grown up poor and are likely to have siblings or other family members and friends who are poor. Middle-class blacks are more likely to provide financial assistance to their relatives which interferes with their wealth accumulation.


The opportunities made available by civil rights legislation of the 1960s have not been evenly distributed. Some blacks financially are much better off than others. This has resulted in a population that is increasingly segmented by income. The blacks that prospered as a result of civil rights advances are in a much higher socioeconomic position than their forbears. The more prosperous blacks are often better educated, they have more occupational opportunities, and enjoy a higher standard of living in comparison to the less affluent blacks. Not surprisingly, affluent blacks receive a greater proportion of the income of blacks as a group.

As previously mentioned, the proportion of black families in the higher-income group (over $100,000 annual income) grew from 2.4% in 1970 to 12.1% in 2009. While a significant proportion of black families are financially prosperous, a larger proportion continues to struggle financially contributing to economic disparities among blacks.

One way of assessing the growing economic disparities is by examining the distribution of income within the black population. Populations are often divided into quintiles, and the aggregate income received by each group is then determined. Graph 5 shows changes in the uneven distribution of income among blacks over time. In 1970, the top 20% of black households accounted for only 43.1% of the all of the black household income during that year. By 2009, the top 20% of black households received half of the income received by black households that year. Among black households, the top 20% of black households was the only quintile that saw an increase in its share of income received over the past 40 years. In 1970, the top 5% of the black households received 15.2% of all the income received by black households that year. By 2009, the proportion of the income received by this group had increased to 21.3%. The bottom 20% of black households earned an average of $8,131, the second quintile earned an average of $23,128, and the top 5% earned an average of $225,392 in 2009.

Graph 5

Growing Economic Disparities Among Black Families Based on Shared Aggregate Income


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Mean Income Received by Each Fifth and Top 5% of Black Families: 1966 to 2009, tbl. F-3 (2010). This information is derived from the U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements. For information on confidentiality protection, sampling error, nonsampling error, and definitions, see[PDF].

While the proportion of the income received by the top 20% of black families has increased steadily since 1970, the proportion of income received by the middle 40% (third and fourth quintiles) and bottom 40% (or two lower quintiles) has declined. The proportion of the income received by the middle-income group declined from 41.7% in 1970 to 38.2% in 2009. In 1970, the bottom 40% received 15.2% of all of the income received by black families that year. By 2009, the average share of income of the bottom 40% declined by 3.4% to 11.8%. Researchers predict that 65% of blacks who start in the bottom half of the income distribution will not improve their economic status.


Homeownership is another indicator of the economic disparities among blacks. Perhaps equally important, it is a gauge that can be used to measure the continuing significance of race in the accumulation of wealth. As shown in Graph 6, since 1994 there has been an increase in black home ownership. Between 1994 and 2003, the proportion of black homeowners increased from 42.6% to a record high of 49.4%. From 2003 to 2010, however, the proportion of black homeowners declined to 44.9%. Much of black home ownership resulted from whites moving to the suburbs and blacks purchasing older homes in central cities or as in recent years sub-suburban communities.

Graph 6

Blacks' Homeownership Rates: 1994-2010


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Homeownership Rates by Race and Ethnicity of Householder: 1994 to Present (2010). This information is derived from the Current Population Survey/Housing Vacancy Survey, Series H-111

Residential segregation has long been a formidable barrier to black progress and the accumulation of wealth. When northern and midwestern cities began to industrialize at the beginning of the twentieth century, thousands of African American families migrated from the rural South to cities in the Northeast and the Midwest. They joined the thousands of immigrants from Western Europe to provide the labor needed for a rapidly industrializing economy. When they arrived in urban communities, black migrants encountered many residential obstacles. Municipal ordinances were enacted that prohibited African Americans from occupying properties except in designated neighborhoods. The ordinances were challenged and declared unconstitutional in a 1917 decision, Buchanan v. Warley.

After Buchanan, the real estate industry devised another tactic, racially restrictive covenants. The covenants were clauses in deeds that prohibited property owners and subsequent purchasers from selling their homes to racial and religious minorities. The Supreme Court implicitly endorsed the covenants in a 1926 decision, Corrigan v. Buckley. The Fourteenth Amendment applies only to state action which consists of actions taken by state and local governments. The Court declined to decide the merits of Corrigan on jurisdictional grounds, but it issued an opinion that stated the Fourteenth Amendment did not prohibit private parties from controlling the use and disposition of their property.

As the migration from field to factory continued, an already severe housing shortage for African Americans grew worse. Blacks were shoehorned into existing ghettos that expanded as whites moved out of adjacent neighborhoods. In the 1940s, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) launched a litigation campaign that challenged restrictive covenants. In 1948, the Supreme Court held in Shelley v. Kraemer that restrictive covenants were private arrangements, but the judicial enforcement of discriminatory agreements constituted state action that violated the Fourteenth Amendment. After Shelley, the covenants could not be enforced. This was an important victory for the NAACP, but it did not end discrimination in the nation's housing markets.

The federal government played a critical role in the institutionalization of discrimination and the perpetuation of segregation. The modern American middle-class emerged during the post-World War II era. Before the war, working class whites lived in ethnic enclaves in cities or in small towns and rural communities. The 1944 G.I. Bill provided returning veterans with financial assistance for college, businesses, and home mortgages. Millions of servicemen were able to afford homes for the first time. In 1947, real estate developer William Levitt purchased 4,000 acres of Long Island, New York farmland and converted it into the largest privately planned community in American history. Similar suburban communities were constructed in metropolitan regions across the nation. Residential construction rose from 114,000 new homes in 1944 to 1.7 million by 1950. All of this was facilitated by the introduction of fixed-rate, 30-year mortgages insured by the Veterans Administration and Federal Housing Authority (FHA).

Blacks were excluded from post-war suburbanization. The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), a federal agency established during the 1930s depression, fostered residential segregation through redlining. Land economists believed that property values were closely linked to the racial composition of neighborhoods. The HOLC rated every urban and suburban neighborhood in America A, B, C, or D using color coded maps. The lowest quality rating, D, was colored red. Neighborhoods rated A had to be homogenous and occupied by the families of business and professional men who were white and usually native-born. Neighborhoods in which blacks resided were rated D and coded red. Lenders were discouraged from making loans in neighborhood that were redlined.

The FHA used HOLC's system to develop criteria for selecting the mortgages it would insure. The FHA's underwriting standards reflected the model of neighborhood change developed by economist Homer Hoyt. In his influential 1939 book, The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities, Hoyt described the patterns of development residential neighborhoods according to the succession theory of neighborhood change. Under the succession theory of urban development, ethnic and racial groups entering a new area settle in older neighborhoods until they achieve economic parity with more affluent groups. As the newer group becomes economically successful, it moves out to a better residential area. With continued immigration, new ethnic groups settle in the older neighborhoods replacing those who moved on. This pattern continues, creating a succession of groups moving through the neighborhoods over time.

In this invasion-succession model, newly constructed neighborhoods were occupied by white families. Over time, the neighborhood transitioned from white Protestant to Jewish and finally black as the housing stock grew older and began to deteriorate. The FHA assigned every neighborhood a place somewhere along this continuum. FHA's Underwriting Manual warned lenders that neighborhoods could retain their values only if the properties were occupied by the same social classes and racial groups. The agency urged the use of restrictive covenants to maintain neighborhood stability.

After the decision in Shelley, the FHA made some cosmetic changes to its Underwriting Manual and removed the explicit references to race. However, the Manual continued to warn against the introduction of adverse influences that would diminish desirability or lower property values. Local real estate boards warned members not to be instrumental in introducing elements into a neighborhoods that would be detrimental to the property values and explicitly included blacks among the undesirable elements. Real estate publications used in college and university courses and by practicing realtors continued to urge segregating inharmonious populations. Revised editions of Hoyt's Principles of Urban Real Estate toned down some of its racial references but did not abandon its message that white neighborhoods needed protection from inharmonious groups. From the 1940s though the late 1960s, federal housing policies barred African Americans from the largest wealth-producing program in American history: single family, suburban homes purchased with federally insured mortgages.


The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, and national origin in connection with the sale or rental of residential housing. Not long after the enactment of the 1968 legislation, however, fair housing advocates recognized the shortcomings of the statute. The original administrative enforcement mechanism was limited to conciliation, a process encouraging voluntary compliance that the real estate industry largely ignored. Congress eventually became aware of these failings. In 1988, a comprehensive overhaul of the Fair Housing Act was enacted. Despite the enhanced enforcement mechanisms that the 1988 Amendments added, discriminatory practices are pervasive in the nation's housing markets. African American families do not enjoy the residential options that are available to white families with similar incomes and credit histories.

A Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report, based on data derived from matched pair tests conducted over several months, found that African American homebuyers and renters continue to encounter discrimination in the nation's housing markets. White homebuyers were favored over blacks in 17% of tests. White homebuyers were more likely to be allowed to inspect houses and to be shown homes in more predominantly white neighborhoods than similarly situated blacks. Whites also received more information about financing than comparable black homebuyers.

In a 2002 survey, researchers found that while housing discrimination declined, it still exists at high levels. In rental and sales markets in metropolitan areas nationwide, black and Hispanic home seekers experienced significant levels of adverse treatment, compared to similarly situated white homes seekers. The extent to which whites were consistently favored over blacks was 17%. Blacks experienced adverse treatment, compared to equally qualified whites, about half the times that they visited real estate or rental offices to inquire about the availability of housing advertised in the major metropolitan newspaper.

Showing black and white buyers homes in different neighborhoods is referred to as steering. It is driven by real estate agents' assumption that whites will not want to live in neighborhoods with more than a token number of minority residents. This unlawful practice is widespread and researchers have found that real estate agents are now using schools as a proxy for race. White home seekers were discouraged from considering homes in racially mixed neighborhoods on the grounds that the local schools were bad. This was a coded message which meant the schools had high minority enrollments. The researchers also found that neighborhoods from which whites were steered were recommended favorably to African American and Latino purchasers.

Studies have consistently shown that whites will desert neighborhoods when they reach a tipping point and become too black. This was confirmed more recently in Tipping and the Dynamics of Segregation, where the authors found strong evidence that white flight occurred in most cities when neighborhoods reached tipping points ranging from 5% to 20% minority populations. In Dynamic Models of Segregation, Thomas Schelling showed that extreme segregation can arise from social interactions and white preferences.

White flight is fueled by the perception that the presence of African Americans in a neighborhood causes property values to decline. This belief is driven by stereotypes, overt bias, and unconscious discrimination. Polling data indicates that most whites believe residential segregation reflects the preferences of African Americans. However, the empirical evidence rebuts these claims. Kryson and Farley found that African Americans prefer mixed communities in which the racial balance is 50% white and 50% black.

A great deal of progress has been made over the last 40 years, but high levels of residential segregation persist. A study using census data from 2005-2009 determined that progress toward housing integration came to a halt during the first decade of the 21st century. The data showed that the average white person lives in a neighborhood that is 77% white. The average African American resides in a neighborhood that is majority black. African Americans are the most segregated minority, followed by Hispanics and Asians.

Social scientists measure neighborhood segregation using an index of dissimilarity. This calculates how evenly different racial groups are distributed across metropolitan areas. The lowest possible value, zero, indicates that the percentage of each racial group in every neighborhood is the same as their overall percentage in the metropolitan area. For example, if African Americans constitute 20% of the population in a metropolitan area, a zero on the index means blacks are 20% of the population in each neighborhood. The highest value, 100, indicates that racial groups reside in completely different neighborhoods.

An index of 60 or higher denotes high levels of segregation. A neighborhood with an index of 30 or lower is considered integrated. By this measure, black-white segregation averaged 65.2 in 2000 and 62.7 in 2009. Hispanic-white segregation was 51.6 in 2000 and is currently 50. Asian-white segregation has grown from 42.1 to 45.9. This was a nationwide measure. The levels of segregation in many of America's largest cities are much higher.


Between 1970 and 1995, 7 million blacks moved to suburban communities. This number is considerably larger than the 4.5 million blacks who moved from the South to the North during the great migration that took place during the first half of the 20th century. The movement of middle-class blacks to suburban communities has contributed to cultural and spatial divisions within the black population. In the mid-1970s, more than 60% of blacks lived in cities in which the population was greater than 50,000. Only 7.3% of the African American population lived in suburban communities. By the mid-2000s, the proportion of blacks living in suburban areas increased to nearly 30%. The numbers living in cities declined to approximately 30%.

However, many suburban blacks live in older, inner-ring suburbs that are less affluent, less white, and have higher levels of crime and social disorganization than suburban communities where comparable whites reside. Blacks live in neighborhoods that are, on average, 15 to 20% less affluent than other groups with a comparable status. Middle-class and affluent blacks in the most segregated U.S. cities live in areas with substantially more whites than their poor, inner-city counterparts. The suburban areas where middle-class and affluent blacks live are significantly less white and less affluent than their white counterparts.

Despite increased economic opportunities and Fair Housing laws, there are still high levels of residential segregation. Middle-class blacks who live in racially mixed neighborhoods tend to have higher levels of education and income than their white neighbors. However, blacks in the higher socioeconomic category (those in the top fifth) were more integrated than blacks in lower socioeconomic categories. Blacks in the higher income category have more white neighbors, fewer poor neighbors, and they reside in neighborhoods with higher housing values.

In Black Picket Fences, Patillo-McCoy studied a black, middle-class neighborhood located adjacent to the south side of Chicago. Her book chronicles the evolution of Groveland a fictional name for a neighborhood that Patillo-McCoy studied for three and one-half years. Her focus was the interplay between race, class, and structural inequality in black communities. As blacks entered Groveland during the 1950s and 60s, whites quietly moved out. Within a few years the neighborhood became entirely black. The residents were a mix of college educated professionals and unionized factory workers with good salaries and benefits. Some of the men worked two jobs to support their families. The residents maintained their homes and manicured their lawns. They attended neighborhood churches and created civic and social organizations for themselves and their children.

As time went on, the neighborhood took on a black identity. As white merchants moved out, black entrepreneurs moved in. At the intersection of one of the main thoroughfares in Groveland, one corner was occupied by a branch of a Chicago bank that served that neighborhood's more affluent residents. Across the street, a check cashing service catered to lower-income residents. Another corner was occupied by a black-owned service station. A soul food restaurant was located on the other corner.

As the children of the Grovelanders grew up, many were unable to replicate their parents' middle-class status. Some did not attend college at all. Others enrolled, but dropped out before finishing. Several second generation Grovelanders continued to reside in the parents' homes into their adulthood. Some of the young women bore children out of wedlock. Others returned to their parent's homes with children after divorcing their spouses; intergenerational households were not uncommon.

The high-paying factory jobs that supported the pioneering black families slowly disappeared as a result of automation and globalization. When the second generation Grovelanders' inherited their deceased parents' homes, some could not afford to maintain them. Some of the homes fell into a state of disrepair. Others were rented to outsiders; some of the second generation residents were lured into the world of drug and crime. Their presence was tolerated because the neighbors had known them as children. Eventually the neighborhood became the home of one Chicago's most notorious gangs. In the end, Groveland became a mix of middle, working class, and low-income occupants. It was not as crime-ridden and impoverished as most of Chicago's inner city neighborhoods, but it was not like white, middle-class communities.


There are upscale, all black neighborhoods in Dekalb County, Georgia (which is adjacent to Atlanta) and Dade County, Florida and in neighborhoods north and west of St. Louis, Missouri and Atlanta, Georgia, which have a large and rapidly growing middle- and upper-middle income African American community. For more than a century, the colleges in the Atlanta university system have produced generation after generation of highly educated African Americans. Economic institutions such as black-owned banks and other business establishments have long been pillars of Atlanta's African American community. In Cascade Heights, an upscale, African American neighborhood in Atlanta, developers constructed a gated community in which the price of homes is just under a million dollars. There are similar enclaves of affluence in other metropolitan regions.

In The Failures of Integration, Professor Sheryll Cashin examined neighborhoods located in Prince Georges County, Maryland (a Washington, D.C. suburb). One of these was a gated, 350 acre development that contained trophy homes with three-car garages, vaulted ceilings, glass encased foyers and elaborate entryways with Doric columns. Unlike the neighborhood in Black Picket Fences in which black homeowners replaced whites, this development contained newly constructed homes where blacks were the first buyers. The neighborhood's residents are physicians, lawyers, white-collar professionals, high level federal employees, professional athletes, and successful entrepreneurs.

Professor Cashin explained that many upscale blacks choose all black suburbs as a result of integration exhaustion. The black enclaves in which they reside provide a comfortable retreat from the stresses of an integrated workplace. The residents can relax and interact with neighbors who are like them. They do not want to be isolated in a neighborhood in which they would be the only black family. They do not have to fear being racially profiled by police; their expensive cars and clothing are not seen as curiosities. Their neighbors understand the problems that African Americans experience in a society in which race still matters. The residents are members of the same black churches, fraternities, sororities, and other social organizations. They do not need to live next door to whites to experience self-satisfaction or personal fulfillment. Their neighborhoods provide a stimulating and enriching social environment.

In Blue Chip Black, Professor Karyn Lacy examined the black middle-class and identified some socioeconomic divisions. Lacy divided the black-middle-class into three distinct groups: the black lower-middle-class earning less than $50,000; the stable, core black-middle-class earning $50,000 through $99,999; and the elite black-middle-class, earning more than $100,000. She examined two majority black neighborhoods in suburban Prince Georges County and another, mostly white neighborhood in Fairfax, County Virginia.

Lacy concluded that the racial and class composition of a black family's suburban neighborhood shaped the ways in which individuals viewed themselves and the ways in which they interacted with others. She found that structural conditions that maintain housing segregation adversely affect opportunities for the black middle-class, especially those in the middle- and lower-middle-class. However, the socioeconomic characteristics of the group earning more than $100,000 closely resembled their white counterparts.

Despite the affluence of the black residents, there are some conditions that make Prince Georges County different and less desirable than other Maryland and Virginia suburbs. It is adjacent to low-income communities in Washington D.C. and Maryland. It has a higher level of low-income residents than other Washington, D.C. suburbs. The public schools in Prince Georges County have the second lowest test scores in the state of Maryland, ranking the school system just above Baltimore. Compared to other suburban communities in Maryland and Virginia, Prince Georges County has a much higher rate of crime, a higher tax rate, and a lower level of municipal services. High end retailers do not locate to Prince Georges County, and it does not have the restaurants, shopping, and other amenities that would normally be found in an affluent suburban community.


Blacks have been disproportionately affected by the recession. In May of 2011, the black unemployment rate was 16.2%; for whites the unemployment rate was 7.9%.

In 2010, 45.5% of black families owned their homes. This was down from 49.1% in 2005 and much lower than the 71.1% of white families that are homeowners. The decline in home ownership is attributable to the housing crisis which has disproportionately affected African Americans. Part of the problem is historic. For most of the twentieth century, redlining prevented African Americans from obtaining mortgage loans. A recent development, reverse redlining, is essentially the opposite; minority populations are targeted by lenders who provide mortgages with higher fees and costs than loans made to similarly situated white customers. The loans, many of which were made with insufficient regard for the borrowers' ability to make payments, have resulted in defaults, massive foreclosures, and the loss billions of dollars in home equity.

The products that created this problem are subprime mortgages. Prior to the emergence of subprime lending, most mortgage lenders made mainly prime loans to borrowers with incomes and credit histories that indicated they were unlikely to default on their obligations. In the early 1990s, technological advances in automated underwriting allowed lenders to predict with improved accuracy the likelihood that borrowers with blemished credit histories would repay loans. Lenders viewed subprime loans as an attractive product because they were able to charge higher interest rates as compensation for the increased risk of default.

With the introduction of mortgage-backed securities, banks could obtain more funding from outside investors. The process involved pooling financial assets, such as mortgage loans, and issuing securities representing interests in a pool of assets. Pooling prime and subprime mortgages allowed banks to obtain returns that were higher than other investments with similar risks. It was thought that the aggregation of large numbers of prime mortgages and subprime mortgages mitigated the risk of borrower defaults.

The growth in subprime lending began in the early 1990s. By the early 2000s lenders dramatically increased their marketing of these products. There were many types of exotic mortgage products. One example is the 2/28 ARM, which was shorthand for adjustable rate mortgages on which the interest rate was fixed for two years and reset to the interest rate index after the two year teaser rate expired. Borrowers hoped that when interest rates were reset, they could afford the new payments or refinance their existing mortgages based on rising home values.

From 2000 to 2005, housing prices rose dramatically so many borrowers viewed adjustable rate mortgages as a good bet. A steady rise in the value of homes fueled speculation in the nation's housing markets. Inflated housing prices sparked a building boom that rapidly increased the nation's housing supply. In 2006, home values started to decline and by 2008, the United States found itself in a housing crisis. Supply outstripped demand and home values declined for the first time in many decades.

In many cases, borrowers could handle the monthly payments at the teaser rate, but after the new interest rates went into effect, they could not afford the new payment. Declining home prices pushed a record number of borrowers under water, meaning the balances owed on their mortgages were higher than the market value of their homes. An oversupply of homes, declining home values, rising unemployment levels, and other problems significantly decreased the demand for homes. These conditions have resulted in a massive wave of defaults and foreclosures.

African Americans have been disproportionately affected by the housing crisis. In one study, researchers used regression analyses to measure foreclosures in the top one-hundred U.S. metropolitan markets on measures of black, Hispanic, and Asian segregation. They controlled for market conditions, including average creditworthiness, the extent of coverage under the Community Reinvestment Act, the degree of zoning regulation, and the overall rate of subprime lending. They found that black dissimilarity indexes and spatial isolation were powerful predictors of foreclosures across the nation's metropolitan housing markets. The researchers concluded that racial segregation was an important contributing cause of the foreclosure crisis, along with overbuilding, risky lending practices, lax regulation, and the decline in home values.

In Whiteness as Property: Predatory Lending and the Reproduction of Racialized Inequality, the authors examined 2004 data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act database to determine racial disparities in lending. They found that African Americans were less likely than whites to receive loans from regulated lenders. They also found that regardless of lender type and income level, African Americans were more likely than whites to receive higher priced loans.

Reverse redlining is at the center of a suit against one of the nation's largest banks. The City of Baltimore (Baltimore or the City) sued Wells Fargo Bank claiming it engaged in reverse redlining practices. The civil action claims, among other things, that a Wells Fargo loan in a predominantly African American neighborhood was nearly four times as likely to result in foreclosure as a Wells Fargo loan in a predominantly white neighborhood. The suit alleges that a disproportionately large percentage of Wells Fargo's high-cost loans in African American neighborhoods were refinance loans indicating a deceptive and predatory practice of encouraging minority borrowers who already had loans to refinance at excessive costs with little benefit. Baltimore contends that this practice increased the likelihood of foreclosure and has contributed to the disproportionately high rate of foreclosures in Baltimore's African American communities.

Baltimore also alleged that Wells Fargo's pricing practices had a disproportionate impact on African American borrowers. It claims that Wells Fargo's African American borrowers and borrowers residing in African American neighborhoods paid more than comparable white residents of predominately white communities. The City also claims that there was a significant disparity in the speed with which Wells Fargo loans in African American and white neighborhoods went into foreclosure. Black homeowners went into foreclosure much faster than whites. The City contends that the disparity in foreclosure timing showed that Wells Fargo engaged in irresponsible underwriting in African American communities.

The suit also alleges that a significant portion of the bank's foreclosures in African American neighborhoods involved unusually risky and deceptive loan products. Baltimore claims that Wells Fargo did not properly underwrite loans made to African Americans and did not adequately consider the borrowers' ability to repay the loans. The loans resulted in default and foreclosure for many African American borrowers, a result that should have been anticipated at the time the loans were made.

Baltimore also contends that the use of risky, adjustable rate mortgage products subjected African American borrowers to unfair and deceptive loan terms and has contributed significantly to the high rate of foreclosures in Baltimore's African American neighborhoods. If Baltimore prevails, the case will provide an example of one of the largest banks in America systematically discriminating against African Americans and other minorities.

The housing crisis has been devastating for African Americans. A PEW Research Center Report stated the median wealth of white households was twenty times that of black household, and this was the largest gap between the two groups in over twenty-five years. Researchers at the Center for Responsible Lending found that African Americans are 47% more likely to be facing foreclosure than whites. 11% of African American homeowners have already lost or are likely to lose their homes compared to 7% of whites. The researchers estimated that the lost equity resulting from lower property value will, between 2009 and 2012, cost African Americans $194 billion. The questionable lending practices were not limited to minorities. Millions of white homeowners were adversely affected. The scope of the damage is massive, and it inflicted injuries that threatened the entire American economy. It will likely take years for this sector of the nation's economy to recover.


The black middle-class has benefitted from the opportunities created by the civil rights laws of the 1960s. Over the last generation, there have been significant advances in their educational attainment levels, occupational classifications and family incomes. The proportion of blacks who are middle-class has grown significantly. However, our analysis also shows that despite its remarkable advances, the black middle-class still lags behind its white counterpart. In 2009, the wealth ratios between blacks and whites were the largest since the government began publishing this data in the 1980s.

African Americans are segmenting along class lines. Middle-class blacks have moved to suburban communities in significant numbers. Educated, upper-middle-class African Americans residing in suburban communities have little in common with their impoverished, inner city counterparts. Some middle-class blacks reside in upscale, all black communities that are not adjacent to low-income neighborhoods. They live comfortably among people like them and do so as a matter of personal choice. However, black families with incomes under $100,000 tend to live in inner-ring suburbs that were formerly white neighborhoods. These are often contiguous to low-income communities. This proximity means that they are exposed to the deleterious conditions that plague inner city communities.

The most significant impediment to black progress is the high levels of discrimination and segregation that persist in the nation's housing markets. This impairs wealth building since a home is usually a family's most valuable asset. Segregation adversely affects living conditions. Educational opportunities are limited as public schools in segregated neighborhoods invariably lack the quality of schools in white suburban communities. This is also the case for upscale, all black enclaves, which tend to be located in school districts where student test scores are lower and higher end goods and services are scarce. The current trends indicate that the black middle-class will continue to grow. Some have achieved socioeconomic parity with their white counterparts, but most others will continue to lag behind.


. Leland Ware, Louis L. Redding Professor of Law & Public Policy, University of Delaware

.Theodore J. Davis, Jr. Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware.

Summary of 2nd session Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

2nd session, 3rd- 7th February 2003

Selvarani Paneerselvam, intern, IMADR- UN Office


The Working Group on People of African Descent received its mandate from the Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/68, which was approved by Economic and Social Council resolution 2002/270, to study the problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent living in the Diaspora, and to elaborate proposals for the elimination of this discrimination. The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent met for its first session in November 2002. Three experts have in so far carried out research in this specified area of work and produced the results of their findings in this second session.


Summary of 2nd session

The issues considered by the Working Group during its five-day session included a discussion on the paper presented by

Ambassador P.L.Kasanda (Zambia) on the "Identification and Definition of �People of African Descent� and How Racial Discrimination against them is Manifested in Various Regions". Similar discussions took place involving three other papers presented by experts, which include Dr.Georges Jabbour�s (Syrian Arab Republic) paper on "Some Personal Thoughts on Reparations and People of African Descent", Professor Dr. Irina Zlatescu�s (Romania) paper on "How to Use the UN Human Rights Mechanisms for an Effective Protection of the Rights of People of African Descent", and Mr. Doudou Dine�s (Special Rapporteur on Racism) paper on the 'Promotion et signification des lieux de memoire de l'esclavage' (Promotion and significance of the memorial places of slavery).

The specific issues discussed involved the definition of people of African descent, deliberations of the forms of racial discrimination manifesting in specific regions of the world (right to development, the law enforcement, media and other contemporary forms of racism). Various forms of reparation were discussed alongside the methods of calculation and the parties who may be held accountable to make such reparations.

Subsequently, the representative from the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Mr. Yusuf Bangura spoke on the issue of "Racism and Public Policy". The issues underscored here evolved around the lack of official recognition of the people of African descent by a number of States in their statistics (statistical surveys) and in government policies. Research was highlighted as a crucial element to enhance the level of knowledge surrounding people of African descent.

The representative from the World Bank, Miss Josefina Stubbs also contributed towards the discussions. Next a representative from the Inter-American Development Bank, Miss Claire Nelson also carried out a presentation. It should be pointed out from the outset however that this report does not cover all of the issues deliberated over the five-day session.

(A) Summary & discussion of Working Paper prepared by Ambassador P.L.Kasanda (Zambia) (elected Chair-Rapporteur for 2nd session)

Identification and Definition of "People of African Descent" and How Racial Discrimination against them is Manifested in Various Regions


Ambassador P.L.Kasanda, defines "persons of African Descent� as descendants of the African victims of the Trans-Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea slave trade, including those of the sub-Sahara slave trade". Furthermore he includes "those Africans and their descendants who, after their countries� independence emigrated to or went to work in Europe, Canada and the Middle East where they also experienced racial discrimination suffered by those who live in Western European countries". The largest number of slaves were transported on the trans-Atlantic route who were drawn from the west coast of Africa and were mainly destined for the Western hemisphere and a small number to Europe. A smaller number of slaves came from the interior of the West Africa, East Africa and parts of Southern Africa, who were mainly destined to the Middle East and some islands in the Indian Ocean.

Paragraph 13 of the Durban Declaration and paragraph 119 of the Durban Programme of Action, express acknowledgment of the fact that Africans and people of African descent continue to be victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which manifests itself as a direct consequence of slavery and the slave trade, including the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

From the very outset it should be noted that the fact that the Chair has carefully divided the various forms of racial discriminatory policies and acts which prevail in different regions, clearly suggests that people of African descent represent a diverse community at different stages of economic development and with different issues, needs and expectations which need to be addressed through the implementation of this working groups mandate.

Manifestations of Racial Discrimination in Latin America and the Caribbean Origin

� Invisibility: method of minimizing or erasing the contribution of black people

The invisibility of people of African descent in the national cultures in Latin American may be attributed to the fact that it is assumed to be founded on European Creole experiences. As a result of this, people of African descent become more marginilized, thus perpetuating social prejudices and discrimination against them. In the media, such persons are absent or are portrayed in unflattering roles. Finally and more importantly, invisibility in the area of population and development planning means an absence of statistical information according to the ethnic groups. Thus people of African descent are denied the opportunity to become target group for donor agencies and this further stifles their development programming.

� Economic Disenfranchisement: long term process, limits choice & retards upward mobility thereby producing and reproducing poverty

This may be viewed as a result of discriminatory policies by governments for example lack of investment for social or economic infrastructure in geographic areas with black or predominantly black communities. Other areas affected include that of the educational sector, decision making positions, the expropriation of ancestral lands for the purposes of national parks or sale to private individuals, discrimination in employment etc. As a result of this people of African descent are locked into stereotyped economic roles.

Furthermore the Ambassador highlighted the fact that knowledge of the African past is restricted to that of slavery and servitude under European descendants, thus continuously excluding people of African descent from participating freely in the economic life.

Under this heading, the representative of the International Association Against Torture NGO draws a link between the right to development and enforced underdevelopment. The right to development should be recognized as one of the most fundamental human rights and in his view Africans in the Diaspora and more particularly in the USA have been deprived of their right to development, although noting that some have done so on an individual basis, that is without any support through government or market policies. Costa Rica and the representative of Space Afro-American NGO agreed that there is an intrinsic link between development and racism. The representative of International Possibilities Unlimited further called upon other UN processes to recognize that racism is an impediment to sustainable development and a causal factor in the endemic poverty faced by the developing world.


Manifestations of Racial Discrimination in Western Countries

The refusal of the Western powers to acknowledge and provide reparations to victims of slave trades is said to constitute a manifestation of such racism and racial discrimination, compared with their attitude vis a vis human tragedies like the Jewish Holocaust. Such historical facts surrounding the story of slave trade is moreover absent in Western school textbooks. The Ambassador goes on to highlight the main contemporary forms of racism which prevail in Western societies. These include employment, housing, public amenities and law enforcement. Generally such discrimination transpires under the provisions of social services in areas in which they predominantly inhabit.

On a discussion of the contemporary forms of racism which prevail in the law enforcement, the representative from the International Association against Torture raised the issue of the mistreatment of Black political prisoners who are prosecuted and sentenced on the basis of their political beliefs. However they are subsequently labeled as "criminals" without any reference to the politics which gave rise to their incarceration.

The representative of International Possibilities Unlimited further spoke of the racial disparity in the application of the death penalty which is even more pronounced with juvenile offenders than it is with adult offenders. She made clear of the fact he intention here is in underscoring the comparatively high number of Afro-Americans who face the death penalty in the US (Currently 67% of all juvenile offenders on death row in the US are persons of color). There may in turn be a link between Afro- Americans relying upon free legal representation as a result of their economic status, and a result of this they are deprived of their right to obtain the type and level of legal protection they wish.


Manifestations of Racial Discrimination on the African Region

Under the period of colonialism and imperialism, such discrimination was inflicted upon the "native" rather than upon the "slave". Natives were valued only in so far as they contributed to the creation of wealth of the metropolitan colonial power. Thus the people of African descent faced poor quality of services in such areas as education, hospitals, residential areas and public amenities.


(B) Summary & Discussion of Working Paper prepared by Dr.Georges Jabbour (Brazil) "Some Personal Thoughts on Reparations and People of African Descent"

Although the principle of reparation does not appear in the final document of the Durban Conference, there is a form of silent consensus based in Durban that proclaimed slavery as a crime against humanity, thus in accordance with the basic tenets of international law each crime entails reparations.

Meaning of Reparation

Reparations may take various forms, it is a "multidimensional word" (moral reparations: apologies, erecting of museums dedicated to those victims of slave trade; or material reparation: monetary funds). Under the circumstances the legal term "reparation" should not be confused with such forms of aid or assistance to alleviate poverty.

Mr.Martins (representative expert from Brazil) urged upon the need for a variety of material forms of reparation, stressing upon the fact that moral reparation alone would not suffice as a means of healing the past wounds. Egypt alongside the representative from the International Association against Torture NGO endorsed this view. The former reiterating the critical acknowledgment at the Durban Conference, of slavery and the slave trade as an appalling tragedy of humanity, nevertheless the end result of which is a mere expression of regret that these practices continue. Thus as such the issue of reparation is a crucial element which needs to be further elaborated upon in the mandate imposed upon this working group.

Three-sided Material Reparations Relationship

Here there are firstly those slave descendants referred to as People of African descendants, who fall under the definition provided by Ambassador Kesanda. Secondly descendants of slave traders and owners, who manifest themselves as families or companies who continuously prosper. However in strict legal terms, Dr. Jabbour holds the opinion that it is inequitable to impose reparations upon this category persons. Finally there is the State who is in a better position to assess the financial capability of those who ought to pay, thus they can be an arbitrator acting from a position of sovereignty.

Here the representative from the International Association against Torture NGO stood in opposition to the view that descendants of slave traders and owners would not under legal terms be justified in imposing reparations. The representative underscored the fact that reparations are justified in that crimes against humanity have been committed and have no statute of limitations, thus such descendants of slave traders (corporations or countries) who derived enormous benefits from the slavery period should be held accountable for their past wrongdoing. He highlighted the fact that its NGO members are currently suing US corporations which have profited from the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade and slavery. Thus just as a State may be held accountable for its past wrong doings, so may companies who have reaped the benefits from such acts. Here the representative urged for the further development of a rationale in international law for the thesis that the essence of the concept of crimes against humanity existed well before the use of this term in itself.

Elements in the Calculation of Reparations

A few historical precedence, was evoked here as guiding principles. For example Holocaust victims, the Americans of Japanese descent and other countries which present certain similarities (incarceration, suppression, loss of personal freedom, forced labour, poverty) to the people of African descent situation.

Finally Dr. Jabbour proposed for the floor to take into consideration any valuable material which may be available on this issue in order to cover all further aspects of reparation. Only upon filling these gaps may this issue be dealt with at an international political level.

The Chair noted that in order for this issue to truly receive support in the form of a political will to make such reparations, there is a clear need to tackle this on a legal platform. The representative of the Space Afro-American NGO proposed that a package of reparations be established for such persons of African descent. Interfaith International NGO took this a step further by suggesting that a list be drawn up on each aspect of reparation which may apply to the different regions. This proposal was made with the intention of receiving a preliminary response from the Western Group.

The representative of All for Reparations and Emancipation (AFRE) also voiced concerns with the basic restoration of collective human rights, recognition and reparation for Afro-descendants. Such persons in her view have experienced the loss of their original identity, language and religion and as a result suffer discrimination.

Summary and discussion on the Presentation by the representative of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (Mr. Yusuf Bangura) on "Racism and Public Policy"

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) invited high- level scholars from various regions of the world to prepare papers and lead discussions at a parallel UNRISD conference held from the 3rd to the 5th of September 2001. Participants of this Conference encompassed representatives of governments, international agencies, NGOs, academia and media persons. The conference provided participants with research findings, insights, and policy debates on some of the core issues of racism, xenophobia and intolerance as they affect different groups, countries and regions, and examined the opportunities, problems and challenges of public policies in the area of combating such discriminatory behavior.

Four themes were focused upon in this conference; the social construction of race and citizenship; the social dynamics of racism and inequalities; organized responses to cultural diversity; and the impact of public policies on race relations.

Two points were made on the findings of this conference, firstly the complex ways in which racial cleavages influence the evolution of citizenship, also expressing the opinion that formal equality does not lead to equality of citizenship. Secondly the belief that there should be an incorporation of social justice and equitable governance, which is seen as a fundamental requirement for achieving stability and consolidating values of citizenship.

The speaker raised three areas of research which he felt needed to be focused upon, firstly involving social economics (private data; employment, housing, attainment to education), political areas (representation of people of African descent in civil service, political parties, decision making positions), and security sector (representation of people of African descent in prison, immigrants, judiciary).

In order to carry out such research, the key elements which need to be addressed are for instance

� how the people of African descent compare with that of the host citizens

� in which sector are the people of African Descent making progress and in which areas are they lacking progress,

� and if so the reasons as to this lack in progress needs to be looked at further.

More importantly public policies, which affect the people of African descent, also need to be identified and researched closely. This point is closely linked with that of the issues identified by the Chairperson, Ambassador Kasendra in that people of African descent are continuously being marginilized, thus are denied the opportunity to be targeted by donor agencies or provided their right to development.

The speaker proposed for a paper to be commissioned on two critical areas, that of Racial Profiling conducted by the police and immigration officers. Secondly the manner in which the people of African descendants are being reported by the media and further questioning the effects of public policy here.

Mr. Matinez, fellow Brazilian expert, drew a link between the proposal for hard data being recovered in the area of social economics, which may then be used to diagnose public policies. He explained of the racial census currently being conducted in Brazil to ascertain the composition of such people of African descendants within the federal governments and the positions they hold. This is being done with the intention of preparing an execution of presidential decree in increasing the position of people of African descendants to decision-making positions. Additionally the Brazilian government wishes to apply such a racial census to areas such as the judiciary and the armed forces to improve the standing of people of African descent in this area. Such programs could be replicated in other parts of the world where such horizontal equalities do not prevail, which only make it more difficult to carry out such census on the base of ethnicity and groups.

Further proposals relating to the issue of "Research" of people of African descent

Regarding data collection, the representative of the World Bank informed the working group of the problems it encountered through its studies, in that such census or surveys are not asked in a culturally appropriate manner and may be answered incorrectly. Thus as a result the overall evaluation does not appear accurate. Costa Rica rightly endorsed this view.

On the general issue of research, the representative of International Possibilities Unlimited raised the problem of a lack of training in this area of methodological research. She proposed that smaller institutions or colleges might provide such training to the scholars who need more training. This may be classified as a long-term proposal. The representative of Space Afro-American NGO, spoke of the need to make available, in all other languages the outcome of such research in order for the local communities to have access to them. Furthermore she highlighted the need for an exchange of information of these research elements and their outcomes between various organizations, institutions and governments in order to avoid duplicate researches being carried out and furthermore to enhance the level of knowledge between these entities.

Finally the representative from the African Society of International and Comparative Law urged that more studies be carried out in the Asian regions and further proposed that the WG may consider the elaboration of a Code of Conduct for the media in order to impose the obligation upon them towards refraining from airing negative impressions or stereotyping of PAD.

Summary of other general issues discussed at the 2nd session

The representative from the Space Afro-American NGO highlighted the fact that only four of the Latin American countries have ratified to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racism and Racial Discrimination which is an important issue which needs to be addressed. He further voiced his opposition towards the fact that people of African descent are referred to as minorities.

In conclusion the representatives from the Space Afro-American NGO, International Association against Torture NGO, International Possibilities Unlimited, AFRE, Uganda, Egypt, Nigeria, Costa Rica and a host of other countries proposed that this working group should have a permanent status in order to establish the proposals and recommendations, which it is under a duty to provide under the given mandate. The representative of the International Association against Torture NGO voiced his opinion in that the Western Groups intention in boycotting this session is to undermine the permanency of this working group. Furthermore they are absconding for fear of this whole issue of reparation, for if they succumb to moral reparation, the matter will inevitably lead to material reparation and a call for legal justice within their national systems. Thus the Working Group of Experts will take into consideration all of the proposals and recommendations put forth by the representatives and in turn present its final conclusions to the Commission on Human Rights during its yearly meetings between March 16th and April 26th of 2003.

Summary of the Draft Conclusions and Recommendations of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

On the final day, the experts produced the final draft conclusions and recommendations, which were then opened to the floor for their comments. The following are a number of conclusions presented: firstly people of African descent represent a diverse community at different stages of development and with different issues, needs and expectations; these variations should be acknowledged and further studied. People of African descent can be said to be "invisible" because they are largely absent or excluded with respect to domestic data collection, statistical analysis and the depiction in the media. An intrinsic link is drawn between the work of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) intercultural project "The Slave Route" and that of the Working Group. The representative from Canada urged for the inclusion of a paragraph here to link the Working Group and that of the International Labour Organization for reasons that in most cases people of African descent spend most of their time at work. The Working Group also encourages the Western European and Other Group of States to nominate an expert, so as to raise the level of participation in the Working Group.

In turning to the Recommendations, with regards to the first mandate:-

" The studying of problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent living in the Diaspora. To that end, gathering of all relevant information from Governments, NGOs and other appropriate sources, including through holding public meetings."

The Working Group recommends the sending of a questionnaire to Governments, specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations, national institutions, academics, and NGOs in order to assemble and synthesize existing information about the situation of people of African descent. The Working Group also will continue its consultations with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) to get a greater understanding of Afro- descendant issues by undertaking specific studies on the economic and social development of people of African descent.

Turning to the second mandate;

"The drafting of measures to ensure full and effective access to the justice system by people of African descent"

Studies should be carried out on the domestic public defender/legal aid systems, jury selection, judicial appointments, access to legal and judicial training including on police violence.

On the third mandate;

" The submission of recommendations on the design, implementation and enforcement of effective measures to eliminate racial profiling of people of African descent"

The Working Group encourages Member States to reform their educational systems to reflect the history and culture of people of African descent and the history of slavery. A study is also to be undertaken on the media, which would focus in part on stereotypes, negative imagery and issues of invisibility.

Under the first subheading of the fourth mandate involving short-, medium- and long-term proposals for the elimination of racial discrimination against people of African descent;

"Devoting special attention to their needs, inter alia, through the preparation of specific programmes of action"

This includes national action plans as recommended in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. Furthermore Governments are encouraged to compile reliable statistical data on the political, economic and social conditions of people of African descent. Other indicators desegregated and race should also be accounted for in such data collection.

Under the second subheading,

" Designing special projects, in collaboration with people of African descent, to support their initiatives at the community level and to facilitate the exchange of information and technical know-how between these populations and experts in the relevant areas".

The Working Group calls for Governments, National and International developmental and financial institutions to take action in community measures.

The third subheading provides for the development of ;

"� programmes intended for people of African descent that allocate additional investments in health systems, education, housing , electricity, drinking water and environmental control measures and that promote equal opportunities in employment, as well as other affirmative or positive action initiatives, within the human rights framework".

Finally on the "Organization of an participation in future sessions of the Working Group", a voluntary fund should be established in accordance with resolution 2002/68 of the Commission on Human Rights to support the participation of NGOs representing people of African descent. The Working Group also considers that at a later stage the concept of reparations may be disseminated to form a basis for an international political decision.

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