The White House reminded us of key areas of focus in combating systemic racism

Published on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Fighting systemic racism requires aggressive action to address the structures, policies and practices that contribute to widening gaps in wealth, health disparities and access to education.

That’s according to a White House document released Sunday that outlines the U.S. administration’s key areas of work to combat systemic racism.

The publication of the document is timed to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, established by the UN.

One of these directions is the promotion of racial equality in the federal government. For example, President Joe Biden issued an executive order requiring the federal government to take a comprehensive approach to equality for all and to create opportunities to improve communities that have historically been underserved.

In addition, the administration is combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. A memorandum signed by Biden in January directs federal agencies to take all necessary steps to ensure that official actions, documents and statements, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, do not contribute to racism and xenophobia against these populations.

Another focus is the fight against violent extremism within the country. The document recalls that President Biden instructed an interagency structure to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States.

The State Department has established a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer who will coordinate departmental policies in this direction, ensuring the transparency of relevant initiatives.

Additionally, racial justice issues have become an integral part of U.S. foreign policy goals. Fighting systemic racism and strengthening democracy in the U.S. are an important part of President Biden’s foreign policy vision, the document notes.

Another focus is supporting historically marginalized populations around the world. The U.S. supports organizations dedicated to empowering racial and ethnic minority communities and defending the dignity of people who are systematically denied human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The U.S. also intends to work through the UN Human Rights Council, in particular urging countries around the world to acknowledge and address the legacy and persistence of systemic racism, and to review longstanding policies and practices to ensure that all people are treated equally.

The paper recalls that the U.S. nominated Professor Gay McDougall to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, composed of 18 independent experts. The nomination underscored the importance that the Biden administration attaches to the committee’s work monitoring compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

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