The murder of George Floyd last year was the unexpected catalyst for the current state of race relations not only in America, but the world as well. His death spurred a historic report by the human rights chief for the United Nations that is calling on countries to fight harder against anti-Black racism and to “make amends” with those communities through various means, including reparations.
According to NBC News, the report by Michelle Bachelet—the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights—examined 190 deaths that came as a result of police shootings to demonstrate how police officers are very rarely held accountable for rights violations against Black people. The report was commissioned last year after the video of Floyd being murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The report wasn’t limited to just the United States, as it also went into the issues of systemic racism in countries such as Brazil, Canada, France, and several others.
“We could not find a single example of a state that has fully reckoned with the past or comprehensively accounted for the impacts of the lives of people of African descent today,” Mona Rishmawi, who leads a non-discrimination unit at the U.N. human rights office, said in a news conference. “Our message, therefore, is that this situation is untenable.”
From NBC News:
The report aims to speed up action by countries to end racial injustice; end impunity for rights violations by police; ensure that people of African descent and those who speak out against racism are heard; and face up to past wrongs through accountability and redress.
“I am calling on all states to stop denying — and start dismantling — racism; to end impunity and build trust; to listen to the voices of people of African descent; and to confront past legacies and deliver redress,” Bachelet said in a video statement.
While broaching the issue of reparation in her most explicit way yet, Bachelet suggested that monetary compensation alone is not enough and would be part of an array of measures to help rectify or make up for the injustices.
“Reparations should not only be equated with financial compensation,” she wrote, adding that it should include restitution, rehabilitation, acknowledgement of injustices, apologies, memorialization, educational reforms and “guarantees” that such injustices won’t happen again.
While I would never say no to money, I’d also like to see reparations in the form of just acknowledging the fuckery this country was built on and how it has contributed to the fuckery of today. We weren’t seen as people for hundreds of years in this country, and arguably still aren’t considering that electing a Black president was enough for white America to lose its collective mind for over a decade. We have to acknowledge the role of history if we want to have any hope of actually building a better country. Considering the nationwide hysteria around Critical Race Theory, though, that seems like a pipe dream at the moment.
In recent months, the conversation surrounding reparations has only intensified and we’ve seen students at universities built on slave labor advocate for reparations, and seminaries built through free Black labor begin their own reparations programs. Illinois has begun its own reparations program, and various states have launched task forces and commissions to discuss their own potential reparations programs.