UNITED STATES COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE
(HELSINKI COMMISSION) HOLDS HEARING:
RACISM IN THE 21ST CENTURY: UNDERSTANDING GLOBAL CHALLENGES AND IMPLEMENTING
July 16, 2008
REP. ALCEE L. HASTINGS, D-FLA., CHAIRMAN
REP. LOUISE M. SLAUGHTER, D-N.Y.
REP. MIKE MCINTYRE, D-N.C.
REP. HILDA L. SOLIS, D-CALIF.
REP. G.K. BUTTERFIELD, D-N.C.
REP. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, R-N.J.
REP. ROBERT B. ADERHOLT, R-ALA.
REP. MIKE PENCE, R-IND.
REP. JOSEPH R. PITTS, R-PENN.
SEN. BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, D-MD., CO-CHAIRMAN
SEN. CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, D-CONN.
SEN. RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, D-WIS.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, D-N.Y.
SEN. JOHN F. KERRY, D-MASS.
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK, R-KAN.
SEN. GORDON H. SMITH, R-ORE.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, R-GA.
SEN. RICHARD BURR, R-N.C.
HON. DAVID J. KRAMER, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HON. DAVID BOHIGIAN, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
HON. MARY BETH LONG, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
MS. ANASTASIA CRICKLEY,
PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE ON COMBATING RACISM
MS. GAY MCDOUGALL,
U.N. INDEPENDENT EXPERT ON MINORITY ISSUES
MR. JOHN PAYTON,
PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR-COUNSEL,
NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATIONAL FUND
The hearing was held at 11:00 a.m. in Room B-318 of the Rayburn
House Office Building, Washington, D.C., Alcee L. Hastings, Chairman,
HASTINGS: (OFF-MIKE) being on the floor managing on a rule on a rather
substantial matter dealing with intelligence authorization, and so I was a bit
tardy getting here.
I'd like to welcome you, though, and particularly emphasize the title of this
particular hearing, and that is "Racism in the 21st Century: Understanding
Global Challenges and Implementing Solutions."
This hearing is one in a series we are holding on efforts to combat intolerance
in the OSCE region. An issue near and dear to my own heart was a recent
hearing we held on black hero, where I was saddened to learn that negative
treatment I'd experienced in Europe was also a common experience for others.
Racism is alive and well, not only here in North America, but also in Europe
and I daresay in other places of the world. And despite positive initiatives
-- and there have been many -- there are some worrying developments that
warrant an increased focus on the issue.
This includes efforts to redefine racism, its consequences, who it affects, and
whose responsibility it is to address it.
Currently, there is an attempt to shift the debate on racism and xenophobia to
one on migration and integration. While migrants are often the targets of
violent and nonviolent forms of discrimination, a focus solely on migrants
negates the reality that many European countries are also diverse,
heterogeneous societies with citizens that differ in race, ethnicity, language
and in other ways.
Policies geared towards addressing racism and xenophobia must therefore have
the ability to address the experience of both citizens and non-citizens.
Second, as I recently noted at the OSCE's May 29th Supplementary Human
Dimension Meeting on Minorities and Migrants, increasingly we are receiving
reports that minority communities are not being adequately consulted and/or
hired as part of the formulation and implementation of anti-racism initiatives,
which hurts both credibility and effectiveness.
Third, we must be ever mindful that this is not a new issue. I and our
witnesses have been fighting this problem for decades on the domestic and
I introduced legislation on the United States recent review before the United
Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to highlight some
of the international commitments that the U.S. and other nations have made to
But the problem remains that the U.S. and other OSCE countries are not
adequately implementing domestic or international solutions.
A major reason I called this hearing was to discuss solutions to this problem
of implementation, as well as discuss new developments such as increased
discrimination experienced by migrants.
I was very recently in Italy, and I was amazed at the tone in that country with
reference to migrants. The television and the news reports were rife with
I'd like to thank the persons joining me today, Anastasia Crickley, Ms. Gay
McDougall and John Payton. I have the good fortune of having worked with all
three of them, two of them -- John and Ms. Crickley, especially John and I --
more years than we want to remember that we have worked together. But I have
had the good fortune of being with them, and I know them to be very insightful
on this topic and able to offer advice to us all.
At this point I'd like to enter into the record the two mission reports from
Ms. McDougall, and I'd also like to thank my fellow commissioners, who will
likely be joining us. And when they do, I would allow for them to make
appropriate interventions as they arrive.
But let's begin with Ms. Crickley, who came the farthest, I believe, this
morning, although that's not always the case.
But, Anastasia, it's good to see you, and I welcome you. And your full remarks
can be entered into the record, and you can summarize or go forward in any
manner you see fit.
CRICKLEY: Thank you, Chair, and thank you for your welcome. It's indeed an
honor and a privilege for me to be here this morning and to have this
opportunity to share with you and your colleagues and all of the people who are
here present with us some of my concerns and confusion with regard to racism in
the 21st century.
And three and a half years ago, I was appointed by the chair-in-office of the
OSCE as his personal representative on racism and discrimination, including
also a focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other
religions. It's a long title, and it's an honorary part-time post.
I say that not by way of making excuses for what I have or have not done, but
just by way of being clear and explaining. It's been a privilege to be able to
serve the OSCE through this post, and it also does provide a number of
opportunities throughout what is, as you will know, a very, very diverse
region, stretching all the way, as they say in the OSCE, from Vladivostok to
You've already had the opportunity here to discuss with my esteemed friend and
colleague, Gert Weisskirchen, his concerns as personal representative of the
chair-in-office on anti-Semitism.
And the third person who forms part of this trio is Ambassador Omur Orhun, who
is the personal representative of the chair-in-office on discrimination against
As I said, this is a diverse region. In some parts of the region, there is
legislation on these issues, which is implemented or not implemented, as the
case may be, and there are diverse voices in civil society who are perfectly
able to critique it.
In other parts of the region, there is no legislation or inadequate
legislation, and there are no opportunities for civil society voices to
There are also different administrative cultures, which I think are important
to acknowledge, as we struggle across such a diverse region to come up with
suggestions and proposals that could hold some water in all of it.
First of all, there are the differences between emerging and established
democracies. There are the differences between ways of thinking about
citizenship -- and to take a European context, the difference between the
French approach and the British approach.
And then, more recently, there has been the discourse which has developed
between understanding of freedom of expression, often expressed by your
colleagues and friends on this side of the Atlantic, and the need to address
racism as a crime and finding ways and methods to do that.
I'd just like to pick very briefly, though, in this intervention on four
dimensions or four trends which, as far as I can see, hold across the whole
region. First is to talk about racism; secondly, to talk about religion;
thirdly, to talk about Roma and Travellers, which is a very persistent and
difficult issue, and also a group which has persistently discrimination; and
lastly, to talk about migration in that context.
As regards racism, I'm also conscious from my work in the EU, where I have the
honor to chair the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency, but from the
records we've been able to put together -- and it is difficult across this
region to have an adequate record of what's happened -- racism has become more
virulent in this decade in particular.
The records are inadequate, but inasfar as one can tell, hate crime and
associated incidents are on the increase. Particular groups are singled out.
One part of the region, for example, in the Russian Federation, it may be just
on the basis of difference, of coming from a different region or coming from
another country in that region. In other parts of the OSCE region, it's on the
basis of being perceived to be from a Muslim background.
Single identifiers are used inadequately to both identify victims and also to
address some of the questions associated with racism. Speaking as an Irish
person, I'm conscious that if I was only identified as a Catholic in the
U.S.A., it would not have adequately described me as an immigrant to this
country 100 years ago or even 50 years ago, nor would it adequately have
described my experiences and the issues associated with it.
To address racism throughout this region, we need data. We need to put a focus
on adequate data collection and put resources into it. And we also need laws.
But as well as laws, we need the political will to implement them.
In the European Union, for example, there is already quite adequate legislation
-- relatively adequate legislation, shall we say -- to address racism.
However, there are big differentials in the extent to which the 27 member
states of the European Union have actively implemented that legislation to
As regards religion, there is an increasing debate about religion entering
where some people feel it should not, and on the other hand, a contrasting
concern that secular intolerance across the religion is marginalizing religious
Both sides of that fence are of concern to me with regards to the forms of
discrimination that can result in terms of freedom of religion and belief.
State-faith dialogue is very important in this instance. But state-faith
dialogue can only take place where states are prepared to acknowledge the right
of more than one religion or the right of people to freedom of religion and
Inter-faith dialogue is also particularly useful. And I would like to commend
to you in this regard the Toledo guiding principles on teaching about religion,
which has been produced by the ODIHR, the Office of Democratic Institutions and
Human Rights, of the OSCE, and to say to you that these are not in any way
concerned to replace the teaching of religion.
They're not concerned in any way to lay down regulations about how religion
should be taught, but they're merely what I consider to be a very positive set
of suggestions about how young people, in whatever part of the region they are,
to be taught about the religions of others, whether they hold any religion
themselves or none.
This increased focus on religion has not meant a diminishing of discrimination
on the basis of religion. And in parts of the region, there continue to be
particular concerns about small Christian denominations in the East, continuing
concerns about what happens to Christian denominations in Turkey, for example,
and about the position of the established Orthodox Church there, as well as
continuing concerns about registration processes in some countries.
Coming myself from Ireland, where indeed for many years we did give a
particular position to one religion, I'm very conscious of the extent to which
according particular positions to one faith over another doesn't serve that
faith well sometimes, doesn't serve the state in which it's integrated very
well, and also very conscious that freedom of religion and belief should not
demand very stringent registration processes.
Thirdly, as regards Roma and Travelers -- and I prefer to think about this
family as Roma, Sinti and Travelers -- people from a variety of cultures with
great similarities between them, some of whom at one time may have been
nomadic, most of whom by this point in time, when they are nomadic, are nomadic
because they are forced to move from one place to another, not because they
want to continue to move on an ongoing basis.
But I think my good colleague and friend, Doudou Diene, who up until now was
the special rapporteur on racism at the United Nations, described very well the
situation of Roma, Sinti and Travelers when we spoke about the democratization
What's experienced by these groups, in my view, and what was very much
epitomized and continues to be epitomized by what's happening in Italy at the
moment is the democratization of discrimination. Not only are Roma and Sinti
and Travelers discriminated against, but the discrimination they experience and
the racism they experience is justified as being their own fault.
It's not useful in terms of looking at what's happening in Italy, in my view,
to inappropriately use language of the Holocaust to describe what's happening
there, but it is perhaps useful to remember that Roma and Sinti also suffered
in that Holocaust during the Second World War.
We don't serve any cause well by inappropriately applying terms which need to
be respected in their own context and in their own light.
This is a regional issue, though. It's an issue for the Europeans. It's an
issue for the Italian state at the moment. It's a broader issue for the
European Union in terms of policies with regard to mobility and employment.
But it's also an issue for the whole of the OSCE.
I believe very strongly, in terms of addressing you as chairperson, that it
comes back to the comment you have made about the need for active participation
by the people concerned, active participation by Roma, Sinti and Traveler
groups in the design and implementation of solutions to the experiences that
It also requires active participation that goes well beyond the boundaries of
one nation. In effect, I'm saying to you that for the OSCE it could be a major
priority. It's one which the OSCE already has a particular interest in and
where the OSCE's contact point in Roma and Sinti is doing good work.
And indeed, I hope to be part of a high-level delegation with that contact
point next week to Italy in order to develop a perspective on the situation and
draw some conclusions with regard to the situation there.
Lastly, I want to move to migration. And indeed you're right to draw
differences between racism and migration overall. But having said that, I'm
very sorry to have to say also there are at the moment pretty clear connections
between issues associated with migration processes and racism and
The way in which migration is regulated throughout the region tends to
structurally disadvantage migrants and create a context within which they are
deliberately and directly discriminated against. And migration into the OSCE
region is probably part of the biggest global movement overall of people at the
moment, from South to North America to your country, from Africa to Europe, and
from the East to the West.
Participation is denied to migrants, not in the same way in all parts of the
region. But the fear that's associated with being in that position is
certainly synonymous throughout the region, and the discrimination and racism
especially experienced by lower paid and by undocumented and unemployed
migrants is of major concern.
Addressing these migration issues is difficult. There's no country in the OSCE
region or beyond which is prepared to just open its borders and say everybody
But addressing them also requires political leadership from very senior levels,
leadership that creates a welcoming context, acknowledges the economic, social
and cultural contribution of migrants, acknowledges that all of our states
change -- none of them stay the same; even my own has changed very
significantly in the last 200 years -- and creates a context that's about
integration, and not just integration economically, but integration with
respect and integration with inclusion, because integration on its own creates
a climate for discrimination and racism.
In fact, integration on its own is probably more like an attempt at
assimilation and pretending that people don't exist and can be part of an under
In looking at all of these issues, I'm also conscious that one size doesn't fit
all, and there are also internal differences between the groups who experience
racism, whether it's on the basis of religion, on the basis of being migrants,
or on the basis of being Roma, Sinti or Travelers.
And one of the biggest and most obvious difference is that people who
experience racism and discrimination are men and women.
And from that point of view, I would like to point to the necessity, which has
become very obvious in the OSCE region, to look to this difficult edge of where
discrimination and racism can be experienced by women. And by the difficult
edge, I mean the edge that's associated with trafficking and with the
exploitation and the discrimination that can be involved in that.
By way of conclusion, acknowledging that you asked me to speak only for seven
minutes, and probably I've already done double that much, let me say that as
the OSCE moves forward, nothing will happen unless participating states,
including your own, are prepared to acknowledge the struggle to address racism
as work in progress, rather than continuing to absolve inadequacies by
reflecting on the initiatives that have been taken.
I would like to say that virtually all participating states are taking some
initiative, some more than others. Some progress is being made in all, and I
would like to commend the officials, including in your own country, who have
been involved in creating the conditions for that progress and in moving it
But if participating states, including your own, continue to confuse work in
progress -- and I'm conscious from meeting here with the NGOs; I've had the
opportunity to (inaudible) that here as everywhere else; it is work in progress
-- continue to confuse work in progress with having achieved outcomes, and
there is no possibility for actually achieving those outcomes.
The OSCE provides a very useful forum for awareness raising about issues, a
forum which, because it happens at a legislative framework and is a
consensus-based entity, a forum which I believe can be used to great benefit, a
forum which can also create a space for dialogue.
And I would like to commend the support that you have given in the United
States to the participation of NGOs fully in the discussions in the OSCE, which
is not something that happens in the same way in other regional or global
Finally, I would like to thank you for your support for the role of myself and
of my two colleagues. Our contribution is small, but I do believe it has
created an opportunity to pinpoint some issues in a way that can be reflected
on as we move forward.
Thank you very much.
HASTINGS: I can say to you I am expecting that there will be votes shortly,
and I would recess the hearing and try to spend a minimum time when I go to
I'd also like to take cognizance of the fact that there are a significant
number of young people that are visiting with us today. And I am particularly
And the biographies of these outstanding witnesses, particularly for those of
you that are younger, might be encouraging to you as you progress in your
lives, not only on this subject, but to show the commitment of individuals that
have impacted our lives. Many times we don't know them or see them or hear
them. Or even when we see them, we don't know the work that they've done.
I think a point of special privilege to highlight just one part of Gay
McDougall's resume that I think would be of interest to all of you, in 1994 she
was appointed the only American member of the 16-member 1994 Electoral
Commission of South Africa, which organized the process that resulted in the
election of Nelson Mandela.
For 14 years prior to those elections, she worked with the South African
lawyers to gain the release of thousands of political prisoners. She also
founded the Commission on Independent Elections in Namibia that monitored that
country's transition to democracy.
And Ms. Crickley, who just spoke, in addition to official responsibilities in
the European Union and in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe as a special representative appointed by the chair-in-office, she has
also with her late husband founded organizations that have dealt with
Travelers, and specifically the Travelers Women's Forum.
So you're looking at people that have really impacted our lives in significant
ways. And I point out Gay's curriculum vitae to highlight the fact that just
recently, and probably for all of the remainder of this year, we are
celebrating 90 years of Nelson Mandela's having been on Earth. And in London
very recently they had a tremendous celebration there.
Gay, I've taken up your time, but I'd appreciate it very much if you would go
forward at this time.
MCDOUGALL: Thank you very much, Chairperson.
I would say that I've been fortunate to be able to now take forward the work
that I did on behalf of South Africa to a global level. And in 2005 I was
appointed to serve as the first United Nations Independent Expert on Minority
My terms of reference include promoting the implementation of the declaration
on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic religious and
Additionally, a central part of my mandate is the enforcement of the right to
nondiscrimination based on race as protected by the international convention on
the elimination of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and
other forms of intolerance.
My methods of work include diplomatic engagement with governments through
country visits to assess general situations in the country and written
communications on specific concerns, consultations with civil society
non-governmental organizations and victims groups, in-depth studies on thematic
issues like the denial of citizenship to targeted minority groups in countries
around the world.
I do reports and recommendations to the U.N. Human Rights Council. And I
provide technical assistance to facilitate reform efforts in governments around
I work closely with the special rapporteur on racism, and I have also worked
with the OSCE high commissioner on national minorities.
One of the lessons that I have learned over the period that I have carried out
this mandate is that racism is ubiquitous. It's a global phenomenon. The
victims differ in language and culture, but the experiences of exclusion,
subordination, violence and discrimination are remarkably similar in every
region of the world. This observation is as true in OSCE countries as well.
I have also learned that it is difficult to fully appreciate how racial
discrimination manifests in a country without taking that measure from the
So what I've done in my written testimony is to, as requested, give a list, if
you will, of general characteristics, manifestations of racial discrimination
in the 21st century that I do see in OSCE countries. I won't go over that
orally. It's in the written submission.
But what I do want to focus on in my oral testimony is what I found when I went
just a few months ago on mission to France, which is a very prominent OSCE
country. And so that's what I'll talk about today.
Last September I carried out a country mission to France in pursuance of my
mandate. During my visit I traveled to Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg and the
environs, where I held consultations with civil society groups, religious
groups, academics and others working in the field of minority issues and
I visited communities, living in suburbs around Paris and Marseilles, that are
truly urban ghettos. In France they describe them as sensitive suburbs,
including Bobigny and La Courneuve, which were those communities that were
affected by the urban riots in 2005 and by the way, also rioted shortly after
the end of my mission.
I talked directly to community members about their lives, issues and concerns,
and I was also given broad access to senior government officials.
So while there are other minorities in France that face discrimination, I chose
to focus primary attention on the experiences of French citizens and long-term
residents of immigrant heritage, particularly those of North African and
sub-Saharan African origins, Muslims and those from overseas departments who
live in France. Overseas departments are the Caribbean islands.
Persons belonging to these groups are primarily people of color, and they're
referred to as visible minorities in France. And they're the ones that
typically experience serious discrimination in such areas as allocation of
housing, access to employment, quality education. And they are grossly under
represented in state and political institutions.
Racism -- and I include Islamophobia -- alienation and lack of social mobility
for persons belonging in these groups were contributing factors for the riots
without a doubt.
My visits to minority communities revealed very high levels of frustration. I
found young people from minority groups, who feel that their hopes and dreams
are being denied. They see no possibility of upward mobility because of the
color of their skin, their religion, their surname or their address in the
People who have worked hard and played by all the rules and truly believe in
the principles of the French republic are trapped in socially and
geographically isolated urban ghettos, with unemployment over 40 percent in
They feel discriminated against and rejected by rigid notions of French
national identity, with which they do not and cannot ever conform. In fact,
issues of identity are central in the course and mindset about exclusion.
Members of minority communities describe the extreme pressure they feel to
alter their cultural and religious identities as a precondition for full
inclusion and acceptance in French society.
There is a widespread feeling within the communities of physical minorities,
many of whom are second and third generation French -- second and third
generation French -- that to become a citizen of France is not sufficient for
full acceptance, that acceptance will be granted only with total assimilation
that forces them to reject major factors of their identity.
Only when they find a way to shed the color of their skin, hide the
manifestations of their religion or the traditions of their ancestors will they
be accepted as truly French.
I found there is a general requirement of suspicion and negativity against
those believed to be of immigrant origin, not necessarily immigrants -- those
who look as if they're immigrants -- generated in part by widespread public
debates over immigration policy.
When I was there, there was a debate about the quotas. The government
announced quotas for deportation for each year. And also there was great
debate going on about DNA testing.
The message is that there is a real sense of fear and rejection in France of
cultural diversity. I won't comment about the situation for minority women.
It is very important to look separately at that.
I will say, however, that France is a country that does have a good law against
discrimination, but it has some weaknesses.
But France is also a country that believes that once you become a French
citizen, they dispense with their obligations or matters of nondiscrimination
and equality. They don't officially recognize people of color as a group
within their society that might be facing discrimination or need special
measures or robust affirmative action policies to generate equality.
And this has really been a stumbling block. It doesn't allow them to take data
on socioeconomic issues that can be just aggregated along ethnic lines. They
believe that to do so is a violation of their vision of liberte, egalite and
fraternite. And that is absolutely not the case in fact.
But I think that France represents -- and I can go into further detail in the
question and answer period -- but I think that France represents a very
interesting picture of the problems for people of color in Europe.
I'll stop there. Thank you very much.
HASTINGS: (Off-MIKE) ... young lady. John and I go way back. And again, just
to take a moment of personal liberty, the gentleman that's about to testify,
for purposes of the young people, has handled numerous cases in appellate
courts, as well as before the United States Supreme Court.
And if you have one case that you would want to look at regarding civil rights,
you might wish to look at the case of Richmond v. Croson. And this gentleman
argued that case before the United States Supreme Court, including any other
number of instances along those lines, teaching at Harvard and at Georgetown
and at Howard University.
And he has been corporate counsel for the District of Columbia, as well as
president of the District of Columbia Bar Association. And I'm pleased and
privileged to have an opportunity to listen to his testimony, if I would shut
PAYTON: Well, thank you very much. This is a great opportunity, and thank you
for inviting all of us. I think this is an important hearing that you have
I'm the head of the Legal Defense Fund, and I guess I should say a little bit
about where we are in this struggle. We were founded in 1940 by Thurgood
Marshall, and I believe we are the finest civil rights, human rights law firm
in American history.
I think that it is fair to describe us a having been the civil rights division
before there was a Civil Rights Division at the United States Department of
In many ways we are counsel for African Americans on all sorts of issues in
this country. Our mission is to see that African Americans become full, equal
and thriving participants in our democracy.
Now, I have submitted, I think, a quite detailed testimony, because it was very
hard to do anything less than that, given what you asked me to address. But
I'm going to be quite brief in my summary of that here this morning.
When we were founded in 1940, African Americans and other minorities in this
country were oppressed by means of law, a comprehensive set of laws and customs
administered by courts and enforced by violence. We've made truly remarkable
progress since then.
The legal apparatus of racial segregation is largely dismantled, and its place
we now have a series of laws that many Americans act as though they have always
been with us, but they haven't -- the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting
Rights Act, the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the rediscovery of civil rights statutes
passed right after the Civil War, as well as decisions from courts expanding
and announcing new rules.
These changes came about only through pressure and leadership from civil
society. And the regime of white supremacy, the regime of segregation, lest we
forget, included governmental entities. So the pressure only came from
Today, some would like to declare the era of serious issues of race as being
simply behind us. And they point to visible examples of African Americans in
positions of serious authority -- like you, Mr. Chairman, like other members of
Congress, like African American members of the Cabinet, like African American
CEOs, like prominent persons in our media, in our military, throughout our
And they especially point to the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee,
Senator Barack Obama, as evidence that we no longer have race as a salient
factor in our society. I think we all know better.
Racism is dynamic. It is not static. And you only have to look at the state
of our schools in our inner cities to see the enormity of today's remaining
challenges that relate to race.
And I'm just going to go over just two or three quick things. About half of
the kids in the public schools in our inner city communities drop out. In some
cities the dropout rate is far higher than that. In Baltimore the dropout rate
-- the dropout rate -- is 65.4 percent. In Columbus, Ohio, it is 59.1 percent.
HASTINGS: John, could I highlight something right there? In Palm Beach
County, not only that same dropout -- and I highlight Palm Beach County for the
reason that it is not one of the poorer counties in this country.
All children -- all children -- in this statistic that I'm about reflect to or
one-half of children that graduate in the Palm Beach County North school system
are not reading at their grade level.
It's extraordinary to me. I thought that that would play out for black and
Latino children at higher numbers than it does, but more than 45 percent of
white children graduated -- one through 12 -- are not reading at their grade
level. Something astoundingly wrong is going on in this society.
I apologize for interrupting.
PAYTON: Actually, that is the larger point. Schools are failing all of our
kids, but they are really failing our African American and Latino kids. And
it's not that they are being failed alone, but we are being failed in numbers
that are unbelievably disproportionate.
So the kids that in fact get out of high school -- many of them have difficulty
But I'm saying in Baltimore 65 percent drop out. In Columbus 59 percent drop
out. In Cleveland 57 percent drop out. In Miami -- in Miami, Dade County --
15 percent of the kids drop out. The remainder still have some deficiencies in
But those are simply frightening numbers. They are catastrophic numbers. You
only have to look at the 2.2 million people imprisoned in this country, the
highest number and the highest percentage incarceration rate in the world, and
you see that 40 percent are African America. One in nine African American
males, 25 to 29, is in jail or prison.
These two are simply catastrophic numbers. And there is a powerful correlation
with race with both of these catastrophic numbers.
The overwhelming number of the students who drop out -- the overwhelming number
of the students who drop out -- who are failed by our schools, are African
American and Latino. And 60 percent of those imprisoned are African American
And I think there is little doubt that if we solved the dropout problem, if we
solved you described in our schools, Mr. Chairman, if we solved that, I would
think there is little doubt that it would have an almost direct effect on
dramatically reducing our prison population. We all know that.
In short, we've defaulted in our responsibility to educate our children, and
we've instead imprisoned them. The political will seems to be lacking to
address this core problem that is directly related to race.
The consequences of these failures are simply profound. Education, as we all
know, is the gateway to opportunity in our society. In today's economy the
lack of proficiency in reading and writing, not to mention computer skills, is
There are very few jobs in our country, very few jobs, for people who don't
have some proficiency in reading and writing. And without a role in our
economic life, they are treated as virtual exiles from our society, and they
know that they are treated that way. They know they have no future.
This creates not just economic justice issues, along with the continuing
educational issues and voting issues, political participation issues, but it
also simply unleashes our criminal justice system to assert a disproportionate
and I'd say inappropriate role in these distressed communities.
The vortex of the failures of our schools, especially in our inner cities, is
spinning out problems across our society -- serious catastrophic problems.
In my written testimony I review in some considerable detail just how those
problems are presenting themselves across our country. I just want to
highlight one I'd say emblematic and well-known instance, and I'll leave the
rest to my written testimony, and that's Katrina.
The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was watched by I'd say virtually
everybody in this country. It was watched around the world. We saw it in real
People initially reacted to the images of residents of New Orleans lower ninth
ward and other areas of concentrated poverty, stranded on their rooftops,
crowded into inhumane conditions inside the Superdome or the New Orleans
Convention Center, and wondered why those resident simply didn't get in their
cars and drive to safety.
The reality was harsh. These were, for the most part, very poor people. They
didn't have cars that they could jump into and drive away with. Some were
forced to stay behind, because there were huge extended families that they were
responsible for, and they just couldn't leave them behind.
They didn't make a living wage. Their schools had failed them. Many of them
had not graduated from high school. There were inadequate employment
opportunities, and the entire community was poorly served by all branches of
Every one of these problems -- every one of these problems -- is correlated
with race. I'd say what Hurricane Katrina revealed was dramatic evidence of
our failure to address profound issues related to race. The residents of the
lower ninth ward were living in a crisis long before Hurricane Katrina.
And it reminds us -- and all of us know -- there are lower ninth wards all
across our country. There's one right here in D.C. There's one right across
the river. They're all across our country, and they're all plagued by problems
related to race.
The progress that we have achieved is real. It's important. It has not
enabled those citizens to be full, equal and thriving participants in our
democracy, in our economy.
LBF's mission -- where I started out, I'm going to end -- LBF's mission is to
see that African Americans, and as a result, all Americans, become full, equal
and thriving participants in our democracy.
And in order to achieve this goal, we have to ensure that policies at every
level of government are designed to directly address these problems, and not
simply chalk them up to the misfortune of a minority.
There is a tendency to blame victims for their own plight. That is simply not
fair. When your schools fail you and you don't get educated, you are literally
doomed to exile in our economy. That is not the fault of the kids who are
I can link the results of the things I just said very directly to policies that
exacerbate and prey on our history of racism in this country. I think that I
used Katrina because it is an example that everybody ought to be able to relate
to, and it is an example that has aspects all across our country.
If we don't fix the catastrophe in the center of our communities -- that is,
educate our kids and make them full, thriving participants in our economy and
in our democracy -- it can undermine our entire democracy.
Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
HASTINGS: Thank you all for your poignant and very clear remarks on the
subject at hand.
A couple of announcements. The full testimony of our witnesses will be on our
Web site, for those of you that are interested.
And I have a battery of questions, but I would ask the witnesses, in light of
my time constraints, if I could submit them in writing and ask if they submit
in due time their answers, which will also be carried on our Web site.
Additionally, regarding the diaspora of African Americans particularly living
in the OSCE region, we've begun empirical data gathering regarding that and
have had a hearing here.
And we intend -- and I think Ms. McDougall, after listening to you, Dr.
Thompson and I have been debating whether to hold such a hearing. I had
initially suggested Hamburg. She thought that we might look at London and
Paris. And I think now, listening to you, we will select France, which seems
to be deserving of at least bringing some additional attention to this problem.
I want to ask you all -- and I know the bell is going to go off, and I'll have
to leave you -- but I want to ask you all just in a rather general way what you
think, as I'm ruminating here, what you think might be some real solutions. We
already know the problem.
John, I'm sure you've had this experience in your lifetime of being over
subscribed to a number of organizations.
And, Anastasia, you the same, and Gay, I'm sure.
You become a person that has some expertise and so everybody in the community
wants you on their board, and you become the one, one, one, one all the way
down the line.
And I used to say, when I got tired of it, that if you want to know what the
problems are, then I can mail that in. You don't have to have me come to the
meeting. I'm an expert Negro. I know exactly what the issues are.
And it's the inseparable triumvirate of inadequate jobs, inadequate housing and
inadequate educational opportunity. Any way you cut it, slice it, dice it,
that's what it boils down to. And that would be true here, as well as in the
I agonize immensely about what to do about it, but I can give you a classic
example, with no offense meant to my predecessors as chair of this committee.
This committee came into existence in 1976, and until last year no African
American had been hired to do a damn thing. You understand. That speaks for
And so, when I became the chair, I made it a very significant point to those of
my colleagues that are commissioners that we would change. And among the
things that we did was bring on the lady who both of you have gotten to know,
Dr. Mischa Thompson, as well as two other African Americans.
Now, there are some extraordinary white people and Jewish people that work on
this committee -- immensely endowed professionals. But it's not their
responsibility to do the hiring. It was the responsibility of the commission
members, who consist of leadership both among Republicans and Democrats, that
had not seen fit to hire anybody in the first place.
You heard me say when I came in here that I came from handling the intelligence
I'm very proud of the fact that a part of that measure deals with the subject
of diversity that began with former Congressman Lou Stokes, continued under the
efforts of departed Congressman Julian Dixon, and then myself and now Chair
Silvestre Reyes, hammering these people to understand there is no way on Earth
that we are going to be able to gather intelligence unless we have an
intelligence community that looks like America and looks like the world.
You're not going to be able to send a white guy with back wing choose into an
Arab community and expect to gather intelligence. And I also say to them you
don't have to have more degrees than a thermometer in order to be a spy.
There are some kids -- I could pick up one right in Anacostia right now and
send him off to France and sit him up in a bar. Nobody would expect that he
was a spy. And I assure you that I could get just as much information as
somebody that graduated with all the degrees that seem to go with the
accoutrements of that particular office.
So if we want to solve these things, and you all have been in the business of
doing something about it, but what I believe what you're experiencing in all of
your organizations is a diminution of funds, a diminution of will from the
political body to ensure, whether we are talking France or Italy or America or
anywhere else, that the monies are placed there in order to be able to address
the problems in a significant way.
I was in Colombia with Secretary Rice, and I'm at a flower place where they
grow flowers, and we do. Seventy-five percent of all of the cut flowers that
you buy in a grocery store come from Colombia. And we were there at the
instance of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.
Those of you that have traveled in South America know that in virtually all of
the Central and South American countries, there are barrios just like in
Anacostia. There are areas where people have been gathered over into black
And in Colombia the area in the mining, where immense amounts of gold and other
minerals come from, is the place where a significant number of people are dying
and are people of color that are being killed.
So I'm talking to all of the flower people, the big guys, and I'm saying, "What
happens here? Why do the black people in Colombia, when they are displaced,
not seem to receive the same assurances?"
And we are sitting at a sumptuous lunch, and I'm looking at at least 300
employees, and this guy says to me unabashedly -- and I don't know whether
they're just blind to it -- he said, "We don't have a race problem in
I said, "What the hell are you talking about?"
I'm looking at all these young, displaced people that are white that are
working, and I go down the street, and I did that, I walked down the street
from my hotel, and here the black ones are on the streets, begging. I mean,
cut me some slack. Somewhere along the line we need to change this.
This hearing would be a good striation. We would publicize real prolifically
as to the nature of this hearing. To the credit of every one of these young
people that are here -- and I guess that's where the change will come -- they
have taken the time to come and at least know that something like this is going
on on the Hill.
And it may very well redound to their thinking, changing a little bit in some
of their attitudes.
You all are faced this way. I'm looking at them. With the exception of my old
self and a handful of other people that maybe 40 or older, all of the people
here are younger. You know what that evinces? The people 40 or older on the
Hill who saw this -- it just went pass them.
It doesn't mean that they are racist, but they don't have the basic attitudinal
framework. Right here in Congress too many offices do not hire people from a
variety of our area.
Some of you youngsters that are interning or working here on the Hill are
working in offices where there ain't nothing but white people in the offices.
And there's nothing wrong with white people. Let me make that very clear.
But is something wrong with a white congressman who decides that I don't want
to have anything but white people working with me? Something is wrong with
that congressman's attitude when he comes down to talk about policy as it
pertains to the significant number of people that are in minority stations in
It's a congressman that has all men, has women that are doing menial chores,
and the men getting all of the salaries. That congressman has a problem. And
if you see any of them, tell them I said so.
You understand. And I'm talking Democratic and Republican, liberal and
conservative, rich and poor. They come here, and then they act just like this
society looks, and many of them don't even understand that mask that they are
wearing is the one that is perpetuating racism in this society and holding this
country up from taking the steps forward that we likely could take with the
immense amount of resources that we have, those that are that draining, as John
Payton pointed out. There's no real excuse for our system to be askew like it
Let me ask you all in addition to me carrying on -- and I apologize to you --
but we're getting ready to move to a new Durban conference, and since the focus
at that conference is going to be on racism, I'll shut up.
And if my bell doesn't ring, Gay, why don't I start with you and the two
things. What do you see as impacting solutions? And what do you think of the
impending refocus on the Durban Conference?
MCDOUGALL: Well, thank you, Congressman.
Well, I say that I agree with everything you said. I just can't say it that
But I think that if I had to say one thing, it's that we need political will.
We need to end denial, particularly around government. And we've history here
that has presented this picture to us -- we couldn't get away from it -- of
racism and racial discrimination.
But most other countries in the world, as you found in Colombia, are in denial.
France is in denial. Hungary is in denial. And being in denial means that
there is absolutely no political will to make a change.
I think we all have the tools to make a change. We know. I can give you five
things that anti-discrimination law must have in it to be able to transform the
society. But the problem is without the political will that law never gets in
So I think that it's interesting to watch what the EU accession process has
been able to generate. They've been able to go into countries and say this is
a long list of changes that we want you to make before you can become a member
country of the EU. And that created an incentive for making some changes --
not necessarily quite the implementation.
But you can see incentives playing out in Colombia. The United States has a
great deal of influence in Colombia, and it's certainly not being used with
respect to the issues that you see around. So I would say that there are many
other things that I have put in my papers.
On Durban, Congressman, you might know that I played quite a major role in the
original Durban Conference. In 2009 there will be a Durban Review. It is
simply to determine whether or not and to what extent countries who make
commitments in Durban have been faithful to those commitments.
I will say in all candor that I think that the as now, if we look at the
planning now, we'll see that it's going to be a very disappointing review
conference, mainly because it has been starved of the money, the resources, the
political backing that it needs to be successful.
It's critically important. And actually I think if you look at the document
that came out of Durban, the program of action, it is the best document on how
you end racism in countries and worldwide that I think I've seen.
But because of some objections to the things that happened -- perceived to have
happened -- at Durban, it has been buried as a document. And I think that that
is an issue that needs to be taken up by your commission.
We've got to make Durban Review a success.
HASTINGS: I hear you.
CRICKLEY: To start with Durban at this time, I mean I absolutely agree, as
someone who was very involved in Durban, on one side Mary Robinson, my
countrywoman was the chair of the proceedings.
And the document that came out of Durban, if you look to the language about
Roma and Sinti and Travelers, for example, it's extremely helpful if you looked
at the language about migration, if you looked at the language about women.
And if you also look to the language about participating states putting in
place national action plans to combat racism and discrimination, it's the sort
of things that actually lead into the answer to your first question, you know.
I think there are very important things there.
And my concern, certainly, and I would echo what Gay has said about the process
has been starved of resources. But I think it's very important that those
markers are not lost and that they are focused into the future.
The countries which have actually implemented national action plans in this
area, including the Canadians and ourselves in Ireland and some other
countries, have actually made -- I wouldn't say monumental progress -- but have
made a little bit of progress in the process of addressing this.
To go back to your question, and I think you've answered it yourself to a large
extent as well, about what's needed, what's needed is certainly, as Gay has
already pointed out, political will.
And the capacity, as I said earlier, not to -- to acknowledge that what we have
at the moment is work in progress, hopefully -- to stop the pretense that
because some things are in place in some part of the world, that everything is
resolved there, or to stop the pretense that allows for political sort of
compliance to replace good results.
And what I mean by that to some extent is also about member states of the
European Union, where there's a confusion. Even with the French, there's a
confusion between compliance with legislation that countries are supposed to
There's a confusion between compliance with the international law norms of the
United Nations, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, that people have agreed to
comply with. There's a confusion between that compliance and good practice and
actually achieving something.
The last thing I'd say, then, is I think sometimes making focus requires brave
stand by brave people and by brave leaders.
And, for example, one of the small things that we did in the north of Ireland a
number of years ago was that the administration there put in place a positive
duty to take steps to actually do something about equality out of a very
difficult situation that I'm sure you're well aware of that we have there,
where one section of the population had all of the jobs and right across the
board and the other section of the population had very few of these jobs and
were very much represented in the unemployed.
But a positive duty to demonstrate what you were doing to bring about equality
was put in place for a period of time, and it did have effects. I know there
can be concerns about positive discrimination.
I don't believe in something called positive discrimination, but I do believe
that action taken to level the playing pitch is essential, if you're going to
make a difference.
And I absolutely agree with you. People don't always need bits of paper to do
jobs, and there are loads of examples where political will has been able to
jump over those bits of papers when the requirement was there and the people
who were able to meet the requirements of the job very, very adequately and
very well. I believe we need to take some brave steps.
HASTINGS: I hear you.
PAYTON: I actually think we have a great opportunity right now. This is sort
of a magical year where we see people energized and committed in ways that we
haven't seen for a long time. It's very exciting.
We see young people who are willing to try to do things to make this a better
society, a truer democracy, and I think that's where we need to use the
political will, and it's where leadership really, really matters.
Gay described Europe as in denial about issues of race. That's certainly true.
We're capable of the denial of the most fundamental things in this country,
though. It's quite unbelievable. We in one day can acknowledge things, and
then the next day -- didn't we fix that?
And if we have learned something about issues of race that we have not fully
incorporated, it is this. You can't fix issues of race by simply saying, "Oh,
just stop discriminating. We passed a law. It made discrimination unlawful.
Didn't we just fix that?"
We have broken communities and destroyed the spirit inside those communities.
And you can't just say we passed a law. Aren't you better now? OK? But we in
fact look away, hoping that if we just don't look at the lower ninth ward, when
we look back, they'll all be better. OK? We know better than that.
You said everybody knows what the diagnosis is. We do know what the diagnosis
is. But I think we also know what the prescription is. We just haven't, I'd
say, marshaled the resources, harnessed the enthusiasm and commitment with the
leadership that we need in order to bring it about.
And I think that's the key thing. The reason I focused on kids is that when
you talk about kids, no one's going to say, "Well, you know, they brought it on
themselves. If they were really tough, they would have gotten educated in that
seventh grade dilapidated school."
No one's going to say that. These are just kids. If you make healthy
communities, if you provide a tax base and social infrastructure, good schools
and attention, you can turn some of these things around quite dramatically.
But that's what we have to do. It's not a little problem where you say, "Got a
new law. We passed it." Whatever this is. "Got a new law; we passed it" is
not the fix. It is much deeper, a much larger commitment. But I think we're
ready to do it. And these things can be solved.
It's not like these are problems that are incapable of solutions. That's not
these problems. Poor schools? We know how to fix poor schools. Healthy
communities? We know how to make a healthy community. We know how to do these
things. We just need the will to do it.
I think we have enormous enthusiasm today, and we ought to take advantage of it
with the right leadership.
HASTINGS: All right. I thank you all. I'm going to do something totally out
of the ordinary, and I'd ask if you would bear with me. Unfortunately, the
bell didn't go off, and I have the good fortune of visiting with three of you a
little bit later on, so we can continue our discussion.
But we do have young people here. I began a tradition earlier in my chair of
passing out to the audience that came to our hearings a piece of paper and let
them put a question on it.
But today, because we've had a particularly patient crowd, and with your
forbearance, my fine colleagues and our witnesses, I'd open -- and I know that
things like this can get out of hand, so I'd just be interested in two or three
reflections from some of you who are in the audience.
And if you could more or less come to the microphone that the young man over
here has worked on and give us your reflections. That's something that doesn't
You see, I'm just tired of the staid old way of doing things. So what winds up
happening is people come -- brilliant ideas out there that we never get a
chance to hear from at all, because it's somebody sitting up here, somebody
sitting down there, the hearing is over, everybody leaves, and all the brain
Now, I've given you the opportunity. Come on, somebody, and say something --
whatever is on your mind. In an unusual fashion, you have this opportunity.
And you won't see this very much anymore. So rather than look around, just
stand up and ask your question.
You -- yes -- young man right here. OK. Come on over there.
AUDIENCE: How are you doing? I have a question for Mr. Payton.
Well, first I want to say that...
HASTINGS: Give us your name, please.
AUDIENCE: Sure. Josh Xavier. I'm interning with Congressman Andrews from New
AUDIENCE: A quick statement. Believe it or not, you've kind of inspired me to
be a lawyer. Now, I didn't know lawyers could actually do great things like
HASTINGS: Well, it was worth it, then, wasn't it, John?
HASTINGS: I'm a lawyer, too.
AUDIENCE: Oh, great.
I have a question for Mr. Payton, actually. You mentioned that there are some
policies in our American structure that actually perpetuate these unhealthy
communities, unhealthy schools. What are some of these policies?
Because I feel like there are a lot of people, especially in the African
American community, such as yourselves, leaders, that throw out that word
"policy," but it's just so vague. Can you mention some of the specific
policies in America that are leading to poor schools and these dropout rates
that you mentioned like in Baltimore and Cleveland.
PAYTON: Let me just give you one real quick example. The way No Child Left
Behind works is that schools have to report on how they raise average test
schools and their graduation rates.
And the way that is implemented, the policy that applies to implementing that,
says that if a student drops out in the ninth grade, right, they actually don't
count in your database when you report on what happened in the twelfth grade.
And since someone who is, you think, not likely to test very well, will lower
your average test scores, that creates the following perverse incentive. OK?
I look at you and I say, "You know, you'd probably be better off if you just
repeated the 10th grade." OK? "I really think you -- so we're just going to
keep you for the 10th grade another year."
Now, here's what I know. There's no black male who takes me up on that. You
drop out tomorrow, OK? You disappear from my database, OK? There's no longer
any responsibility I have for you. That is a perverse incentive to create what
I'm going to call a push out. I've pushed you out. You show up as a dropout,
That policy ought to change. We ought to have a policy that says the school is
responsible for educating every single kid that comes in, unless you
transferred to Houston or somewhere, OK? Every single kid.
The policies right now create incentives to in fact increase your test scores,
actually increase your, I'd say, fake graduate rate. If in fact the dropout in
the tenth grade doesn't count in your database, it creates a perverse
incentive. That's a policy we ought to change.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
HASTINGS: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: Hi. My name is Angela Ibrahim. I'm an intern for Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen. I would first like to thank you for coming and speaking. You're
I actually have a thought that racism and classism sort of come from the
community as well and how they perceive themselves and the way they speak to
each other and the way that they downgrade themselves. If you could give me --
any of you would give me your thoughts on that?
PAYTON: Well, I mean, I think everybody's going to want to say something about
this. It is true that communities change their own aspirations for themselves,
depending on how they view their own possibilities.
So when you have a completely oppressed community, one of the things you will
notice is that people don't aspire to do many things outside of those sets of
really limited circumstances, OK?
And if you -- you know, actually if you go to what I am calling the lower ninth
wards, you will find that a lot of people have never traveled outside of them,
OK? They don't think that they have possibilities out there, and so what
you'll see on the ground is people saying things exactly like you just
You will hear it, and it will sound like, you know, the community is itself
responsible for where it is, because it seems to be quite acclimated to it.
That's evident of our failure to make those the thriving communities that they
ought to be.
But it's a dynamic we have to break, OK? We have to -- you know, we have to
break the dynamic so that in fact those kids have aspirations beyond their
CRICKLEY: Yes, I think -- I think you're raising a very important point. But
marginalized communities, whether they're here in the United States or in my
country or in Europe, often get blamed for actually being more racist than any
And it seems to me that it would be almost inevitable that they would be feel
marginalized and that they would feel that needed to look out from where they
are as other people in the way that they do, sometimes in a prejudiced way.
I'm not convinced that they're actually racist, because I think to be racist
they'd need to have the power to do something about it, and they don't actually
have the power to do something about it.
But you are raising a very important point, and for me it's about a -- it's --
it's also about a couple of things. I mean, those perceptions don't come off
the ground, you know, so there is a need for education and awareness raising
processes within communities that create opportunities for people to think
outside the narrow confines into which they have been forced at a very early
And by that mean pre-school and early childhood education and development, and
right through the whole education process so the people have an opportunity to
engage with others and to think about others.
Secondly, it seems to me that those sorts of perceptions in marginalized
communities are also reinforced by images presented for purpose from all of the
media. And again, there's a very important sense of responsibility that needs
to be in both there.
And thirdly, there's the overall question, which I think John has really
answered. It's about putting sufficient resources into communities to create
opportunities for people so they can see outside and so they can actually go
and develop in a way that doesn't see other people as a threat.
But I'd say I'm not convinced there able to be racist towards them, because I
think they are stuck in a bind where they can be as prejudiced as they like --
like people often say about Roma and Travelers being prejudiced against the
population. There's not much they can do about it, because they're not
actually in Alcee's position, and they're not in anybody else's position.
CRICKLEY: Thank you very much.
Well, let's get one more question if we can.
AUDIENCE: Thank you so much for coming today. My name's Cassandra, and I'm
interning at the State Department.
My question is this past year I recently studied abroad in the U.K. And the
university I ended up studying had a huge proportion of international students
from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. And most of these students were
studying medicine, science or economics.
And I just -- I'm not sure if anyone's been bringing this up, but while
studying there, I was a little worried about the state of America, because a
lot of our minority students are not having access to a great education.
And I'm wondering how this will affect our economy in the future and our
placement in the world, because as we continue to ignore minority students, I'm
wondering how, you know, in the future, how would this affect us, because I
don't know how much longer we can keep following this pattern without us going
down a downward spiral.
HASTINGS: Before -- before you answer, I would prevail upon you to stay.
Staff will keep things going and listen to the other two youngsters as well.
But I wanted to wade in on -- on this particular subject.
When I came to Congress, I was on the Science Committee, and I was astounded
that there were people on that committee that were advocating the elimination
of the Fulbright Scholarship.
I was just -- it -- it just blew me away that that would even be a thought. I
recently was in Kazakhstan for the parliamentary assembly's annual meeting and
talking with interlocutors there.
The Kazakh government is sending students all over the world. And one of the
things that they are doing that's interesting, and the students they are
sending to the United States, is they're not sending them to New York and to
Washington, D.C., and to Los Angeles.
They're sending them to Tallahassee and to Orangeburg, South Carolina, and to
historically black colleges and to other universities, religious institutions.
I was amazed at their vision about how to go about that.
One other footnote. Five years ago, when I did some empirical gathering on
students abroad in the Asian sphere, dealing specifically with China at that
time, and I might add it was a year before 9/11, at that time China had 42,000
people studying in the United States. The United States had 1,850 people
studying in China. Need I say more?
But continue on, if you all would. And I have to go and vote, and then I'll
see you in a little bit. Thank you. I'll leave.
PAYTON: I -- I'm going to pass the question. I -- I think your comment was
absolutely on the money, and I think you have the answer in your question. You
made a comment there, so I -- I agree with you. That's -- that's -- that's my
response. I agree with you.
AUDIENCE: Well, I keep on wondering why there's no one else making such a big
noise about it, making a big -- a big issue is because you've seen how they're
counting on the laws changing and how it's different, but we're not keeping up
and lie still.
MCDOUGALL: Well, there are some voices that are -- are -- are -- are speaking
to this point in the United States. Clearly, the statistics show that the U.S.
is lagging behind in math and technology and science, it says. So there --
there's some voices saying that.
But I -- I would say that, you know, if you're looking at the country, the
attitude of the country toward education, especially developing countries, is
that they're trying to develop a workforce to move the whole country forward.
And, you know, the best of the country -- developing countries -- realize that
they've got to use every possible person in their population to move forward.
I think that our country is -- highly developed country -- has lost the sense
of going forward in that respect, and that's why I think we've, you know, there
is a sense that education is not -- an education of everyone -- is not
necessarily a national or federal concern.
You know, I think that we are in a society right now, maybe changing very
quickly, considering the issues that we're dealing with in the economy, but I
think that for quite a period of time, the national ethos here has been that
there are some surplus people here, that we can get along fine and move into
the future without using the human resources that they could bring to the
And that's where you get your inner city school to prison pipeline, because
they're warehousing people that they don't think is necessary for the country's
I think it's very important for developing countries and developed countries to
see the education of young people as an issue of critical concern for the
advancement of the country as a whole.
CRICKLEY: I agree with you. I think rejecting the minority populations and
the discriminations against populations, specifically at college level and
higher education, is absolutely crucial. And -- but it's not easy.
And sometimes there's also demand that I talked about earlier, and it's a bit
unpopular around here I know -- positive action.
For example, in the university I teach in, I happen to have the good fortune to
head up a small department, and we had -- we -- we teach -- we run professional
programs as well for community workers and youth workers, so I decided that we
would take positive action to have Roma and Travelers on those courses and
included in them.
Coming in as mature students, and most mature students can go to university
without the specific grades as -- as -- as you -- as is the case in most
countries. But it met with such you might call considerable opposition to
But it's been very successful, you know, and what -- what happened as a
consequence was that a number of the people who came and did those -- did those
programs then went on and did other things as well. And one of them has become
a barrister. Another has become a solicitor, and things have -- have moved
But it demands leadership to do it. It demands trusting in people. It demands
believing that people can do things. And it also demands going beyond just the
confines of the existing process of people going through first level, second
level and into third level, in my view, because there is -- there are
generations of people both here and in Europe who have been left out of the
Second thing I'd have to say to you, though, is you saw a lot of people at
whatever university you were at in the U.K. from all over the world. You have
to understand that there's also been a commodification of third level education
in Europe by now so that people coming from outside of the European Union into
the European Union for third level education are part of that commodification,
and they pay rather large fees, you know.
CRICKLEY: And it's part of a process of getting rather large fees -- again,
something which a number of us in Europe would be struggling against and making
demands that if universities get students in from outside for large fees, they
also take a quota of students who can't afford fees at all, representing
minority communities from the country in question.
AUDIENCE: Hi. My name is Julie Steinberg, and I'm an intern for the State
Department as well. And I'd like to thank the panel of witnesses for coming.
It's been really inspiring to hear your testimony.
Ms. McDougall, you touched upon the notion of conditional reform in your
testimony, or the idea of having -- countries have to change before they can
enter into a certain organization. And we've seen that recently with Turkish
But what do you do with a country like France, where national identifies seem
to supersede that of historical rights? As you pointed out the Ministry of
National Identity and Migration sends a very wrong message.
So I was wondering -- this is for all the panelists -- to what extent can
political will actually alter the circle of consciousness? And can we change a
country's national identity and history? I mean, I hope we can. And how do we
put those -- how do we put those ideas into being when you have countries like
stick very rigidly to their historical consciousness, their notion of
egalitarian thought, where minority rights don't seem to be an issue?
MCDOUGALL: Well, I would say first of all the deeper political identity that
the country has taken on at a specific time in its history and has done so in a
way to take a mythology and create a reality -- that's the intention.
So that's number one. It's not something that was born in individuals in
France. It's a political ideology that no longer fits at all the circumstances
in the country.
All countries are changing all the time. And I would say that that is
increasingly so. You know, I think the UNHCR has a statistic that might be a
little bit old now, but one in every five people in the world are living in a
place where they were not born, where they have -- a country where they have
entered as an asylum seeker, refugee or an immigrant, even be a economic
So there are now, you know -- if national -- if notions of national identity
are to be reflective of reality, they have to be open and always changing. And
that is part of the problem in France.
I actually have no objection to the ideals of liberte, egalite and fraternite.
It's just that it's got to now be broadened to deal with the reality.
And they got to take a position now -- and this is, I think, what Anastasia
Crickley was saying -- you know, there is a sense that nondiscrimination is the
end of the obligation, that you can just say, OK, we will make sure now,
especially we will make sure that government engages in no discriminatory
behavior, and then everything is going to be fine.
Well, my first point is that France has not actually achieved that number one
goal of, you know, eliminating discriminatory procedures in government hiring
or advancement or anything.
But the second thing is that in societies where has been longstanding
discrimination, what they got to do is focus on creating equality. And that
takes another step, and a very affirmative or, as Anastasia says, a positive
step. You got to do something to make right where there's been wrong.
And I -- I -- I think that you've got to have a national identity that serves,
you know, that purpose as well.
CRICKLEY: ... that the French are actually. I think what you've got to --
what I know doesn't work, because I chaired the Fundamental Rights Agency when
we were just -- in the European Union where we were attempting to collect data,
you know, and to move things.
What I know doesn't work is to tell the culture in one part of Europe, you
know, that it's a lesser culture than the culture in another part of Europe,
and that it's got it wrong. And so that's -- if we start with the reality that
that won't work.
But the second thing is that the French by now would acknowledge that, having
their -- within their understanding of themselves just these principles at the
same time that they are a diverse country and that in order to manage that
diversity and in order to make sense out of it, that they need to know
something about it, that they need to quantify it, which means basically that
in -- in -- in one way or another they have to acknowledge its -- its
And to be fair, the French are doing that now. They are doing some just
aggregated collection of data -- not a lot, but they're beginning to
acknowledge that in order to live in a diverse society, they have to know
something about that diversity, and in one way or another that you have to
The other thing that they're doing, which again is interesting, is under the
Hauser, which is their anti-discrimination authority, they're also proactively
informing people about their rights. And to do this, they're targeting
minority communities, who will -- will be the ones that would be their victims.
(inaudible) will be the ones who will have discrimination experienced in the
workplace and things like that.
So it's a -- there's an interesting thing going on actually, which I -- I -- I
-- I consider to be quite awful, where on one hand there's a clear perception
by the French of the principles that they hold dear, but at the same time
they're acknowledging the need to find other ways to inform those principles.
And for me what they're doing actually is informing by an understanding of the
PAYTON: I just -- I'm not sure this is going to add more to the general point,
but think about what we did as a country -- and, you know, clearly imperfectly,
and there were a lot of false starts.
But if we were in 1830, you would not be able to recognize the aspirations of
that country as being this country, that, you know, the completeness of the
national identity, including slavery, is so complete, and we have moved so far
away from it, we would not recognize the lack of any claim about equality,
liberty for all, our women in this.
You know, when Chief Justice Taney says in Dred Scott that the Negro has no
rights that a white man need respect, he was not talking about slaves. And if
you don't believe it, go read it. He was talking about free Negroes had no
rights that a white man need respect. It is a culture and a national identity
that has dramatically changed even in its imperfection and incompleteness
So I hear the challenge, but that's just the challenge.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: My name is Sean Poyage (ph), and I'm a legal intern at the Robert F.
Kennedy Center for Human Rights.
I had a more specific question. What concrete action can participating
governments and private NGOs take between now and the Durban Review next summer
to help adoption of the proposals that came out of the last conference?
I -- I'm sorry. What concrete action can participating governments and private
NGOs take between now and the Durban Review next year to help with the adoption
of the proposals that came out of the last conference?
MCDOUGALL: Well, I think there's a lot that can happen. First of all, you
know our government -- U.S. government -- has not supported the Durban Review
process. That's a very important thing, and I think that that's perhaps the
most important thing that we could all try to take care of.
We need -- this country particularly needs to be in there, supporting the
process politically and in terms of resources and making sure that EU countries
and Canada, et cetera, also become part of -- fully part of the process and
That, frankly, is, I think, the most important thing that we can do.
CRICKLEY: I agree. And to be honest, for a lot of us, working through Durban
was one of the hardest things we ever did in terms of participating in a
conference in our lives, I would say, to be quite honest about it.
And maybe that has not encouraged people to follow through on those as -- as
they should. But I think that we would be losing an opportunity. And although
you say the United States has an ambivalent position, European Union member
states also have ambivalent positions.
And in a way we need to just forget about our own tiredness and get in there
and encourage states to look at what was useful out of that process and to
begin to articulate it, because most countries will ignore things, if they can,
unless there's a certain amount of pressure or lobbying or pushing, especially
things that often perceived to be terribly important that are not getting very
positive focus in the media. And I -- I do feel there needs to be a push from
STAFF: Thank you very much. We would actually like to conclude with that. I
just wanted to let people know that the unofficial transcript will be available
on our Web site in about a day and a half, so two days.
And then additionally, there will actually be a -- a public discussion with Ms.
Crickley this afternoon in the same room at 2:30 for anyone that's interested.
PAYTON: Thanks a lot.
[Whereupon the hearing ended at 12:43 p.m.]