In America, we tend to think of racism as an isolated issue. Cases like those of Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin and Ray Tensing are so prevalent in the media that we tend to advocate for the rights of African Americans in this country first and foremost. In return, we seemingly forget about the greater context of racism as an international phenomena. We forget about our brothers and sisters abroad.
Take a look at the Dominican Republic. It is a Western Caribbean country that shares an island with Haiti. The atrocities committed against people of African American descent in the country speak volumes to the global magnitude of issues that we ignore everyday. The issues between Haiti — known for being the only country in the world to successfully revolt against European rule — and the the highly racialized Dominican Republic are well documented. The Dominican government took tensions to new heights when they released a law calling for the deportation of any and all people of Haitian descent from their borders. The Guardian reports that four refugee camps have opened south of Haiti, with populations totaling over 2,000.
And very few know.
To be sure, there are very abstract guidelines for determining whether or not a person should be deported. But citizenship should never be an abstract concept left for interpretation by an official. There should be and are laws being ignored at both the national and international levels of the Dominican government.
The U.N recently produced an article calling for the Dominican government to call off the deportation based on racial profiling. U.N experts wrote that “the Dominican Republic cannot violate international norms or those of the inter-American system of human rights protection, and especially not violate its own Constitution.” So basically, codes of international magnitude are being broken and not a sound from the civic community of the “free world” has been heard.
We have to do better.
The world is changing. Economies, governments, technology and social media make the world a lot more compact and accessible than you may believe. If we want to fight the injustices committed against minorities everywhere and work to prevent them from occurring, then we must explore the issues of blacks and minorities everywhere.
We must advocate for the advancement of more than just the immediate. Civic engagement is our best means of survival. Racism is a global issue. Issues of that magnitude take global, civic movements to be combatted.
Racism is a world ailment. We need the strength of the world to cure it.