SOUTH AFRICA, A CAUTIONARY TALE.

Assertions, with citations.

Let me tell you a quick story about South African apartheid. In the 90s, South Africa’s unspeakable abuse of Black Africans by its government — through its police — galvanized the world. It began as a grassroot movement and swelled into unprecedented global condemnation. America went on to spear-headed the opprobrium that forced S. Africa to abandon apartheid.

Africa’s ghost is returning. Last year alone, state agents executed Blacks extra-judicially on all but 18 days. Worse, those executions increased by 28% while Africa was also fighting COVID — one of the world’s most virulent outbreaks of disease in history. African police killed 136 people in 2021’s first 53 days. Africa’s response is largely “angst and shrug.”

The world is re-awakening. America strongly condemned Africa’s police killings. Even with our own troubles, American live and virtual protests against African police brutality are escalating. Last June, 54 nations proposed discussing African racism and police brutality. The UN Human Rights Council has agreed to serve as the discussion host.

China has now publicly condemned South Africa as well. During a March meeting, when S. Africa raised China’s “genocide and crimes against humanity,” China’s shut it down. If South Africa cared about human rights, China said, it would address its own “deep-seated” “racial discrimination, social injustice and police brutality” problems. Ironically, that was during a meeting marking the international day for ending race discrimination.

This is a lot to take in, so I will burden you with one last thing: the thing here actually about South Africa is the first paragraph. The rest — the police killings, the international reaction, China’s rebuke, and South African protests — is about us, the United States of America. Now that is a cautionary tale for the ages.

Mayors and Chiefs, can you hear me now?

Return to PART IV: DO THE JOB OR MAKE WAY. This won’t be easy, but it will be true.

Private Counsel. Former DOJ-CRT, Special Litigation Section, Public Defender; Adjunct Professor (law & undergrad). Developed Race & Law course.

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Private Counsel. Former DOJ-CRT, Special Litigation Section, Public Defender; Adjunct Professor (law & undergrad). Developed Race & Law course.