Debunking the myth of racial hierarchy, United Nations experts on racial discrimination has said that it is imperative to deconstruct, on a global scale, the ideological myth of a superior race and the resulting conviction of a superior culture.
Addressing a special event at UN Headquarters on Confronting the Silence: Perspectives and Dialogue on Structural Racism against people of African Descent Worldwide, Mireille Fanon-Mendes, Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent said that the attacks on human dignity are elaborated due to “supposed hierarchy of races and cultures and do not concern only one or [another], but the entire international community.”
The discussion was organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, with the co-sponsorship of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the UN Department of Public Information, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Black Lives Matter, and Amnesty International USA.
Keynote speaker, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Harry Belafonte, recalled his time with legendary African American actor, Paul Robeson, who had said artist are the gatekeepers of truth; humanity’s moral compass. As such, Mr. Belafonte continued, he sought to use the arts as a tool to bring the human family together.
Continuing, he said that while the “mighty alliance” of the Second World War was supposed to have brought an end to fascism and intolerance, “one serious flaw was that the Allies were as guilty of racial oppression as was Hitler.” Decades of racial oppression, discrimination and intolerance, before and since the war, have meant that "most people of colour know very little about the diaspora…the depth of us as African descendants, is not known one to the other.
Yet, Mr. Belafonte stressed that the United Nations is “the place to sit and have a conversation about settling the affairs of the cruelty of racism and classicism,” and he looked forward to the discussions that were ahead and the presentations of the other speakers and participants.