BHAVNA MAMNANI ’22
There are arguments that the United States has no “real” human rights issues due to our seemingly accepting environment, but a human rights violation IS a human rights violation no matter the scale. A woman’s right to vote is just as valid a cause as a black person’s right to live. The concern over the “seriousness” of different social issues is despicable. Suffering is not a contest and shouldn’t be treated like one.
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held its 73rd session a few weeks ago and among the various topics covered, and clearly the most prevalent issue that arose, was the question of the United States’ role in international human rights. In a country where so many people fear for their life every day, do we really have the privilege to judge other nations’ definition of human rights? Believing our country is a model for other nations is easy, but the faux sense of security we seem to portray to the rest of the world must be addressed; from our own president failing to condemn the actions of Nazis to endless amounts black children murdered by the excuse of self-defense, the United States’ has an indefinite amount of problems to solve before stepping in to aid the rest of the world. Of course, there are people who, with genuine concern, want to defend human rights internationally, but there’s a hypocrisy in putting other nations’ people before our own and expecting them to receive our help with open arms. People in our own country suffer from similar fatalities and issues every single day.
Trump attempted to flaunt America’s so-called advancements since the beginning of his presidency, and even went so far as to say, “In less than two years, [my] administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.” Not only was this myth greeted by laughter and utter disbelief, but it also acts as a metaphor for his presidency. Trump’s outright refusal to recognize our country’s problems and instead focus on artificial achievements is what prevents the nation from progressing both socially and politically, especially in terms of human rights.
The future of human rights in the U.S. is bleak; without acknowledgment of our ubiquitous human rights violations, we cannot make any progress, let alone advise any other nation. Setting an example for other countries can only start with us adjusting our political climate to include discussions about race and gender equality, but with our current leadership, this seems impossible. Educated social justice warriors can begin to include these topics in everyday conversation, but true progress can only start when we as a nation unite in solidarity against the omnipresent negligence that our country so boldly perpetrates.