Much has been made around the edges of this campaign about the issue of race. Sadly, nothing has been made of the public policy exigencies that arise because of the urgent racial disparities that continue to exist in our country. Just last week, the United Nations criticized the United States, again, for its failure to address the issues arising from the rights, particularly the right of return, of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors. Author Bill Quigley writes in "The Cleansing of New Orleans," that half of the working poor, elderly, and disabled of New Orleans have not been able to return. Two weeks ago, United Nations experts on housing and minority rights called for an immediate end of public housing demolitions in New Orleans. Now, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, ratified by the U.S. in 1994, further observes that the U.S. must do more to protect and support the African American community. In 2006, the United Nations Human Rights Commission "noted its concern that while African Americans constitute just 12% of the population, they represent 50% of homeless people, and the government is required to take 'adequate and adequately implemented' measures to remedy this human rights violation." In short, the United Nations has issued reports squarely calling for the United States to do more to eliminate racial discrimination and this discrimination is a human rights violation.
I am deeply offended that in the middle of a Presidential campaign, remarks--be they from a pastor or a communications mogul, or a former Vice Presidential nominee--are the cause of a focus on race, and not the deep racial disparities that communities are forced to endure on a daily basis in this country.
Myriad reports and studies that have been done all come up with the same basic conclusion: in order to resolve deep and persisting racial disparities in this country, a public policy initiative is urgently needed. A real discussion of race, in the context of a Presidential election, ought to include a discussion of the various public policy initiatives offered by the various candidates to eliminate all forms and vestiges of racial discrimination, including the racial disparities that cloud the hopes, dreams, and futures of millions of Americans.