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One country, 2 systems

It is quite obvious that the “State of the Union” interview to CNN was arranged in the context of the recent killings, lately in Minneapolis and Portland, not to forget St Bernadino and Ferguson during the Barack Obama dispensation.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The doughty Kamala Harris, the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee and Joe Biden’s running mate, has made a forthright statement that reaffirms the historical binary in the social history of the United States of America. She has portrayed the country in black and white with the assertion, “We do have two systems of justice for black and white Americans”.

She has doubtless caused a flutter in the roost barely two months ahead of the presidential election (3 November), and it shall not be easy for Donald Trump to advance even a feeble defence of an ugly truth. It is quite obvious that the “State of the Union” interview to CNN was arranged in the context of the recent killings, lately in Minneapolis and Portland, not to forget St Bernadino and Ferguson during the Barack Obama dispensation.

Her observations may sound like electoral rhetoric on the face of it, but markedly she has been bold enough to assert that Donald Trump is not a “real leader” on racial justice and was trying to “pretend that he has been a leader” on the coronavirus pandemic. Far from it.

The US President’s leadership has turned out to be disastrous so far as coronavirus is concerned with the country at the top of the pandemic graph. But her presentation was riveted to America’s frequently mortal racism. “I don’t think that most reasonable people who are paying attention to the facts would dispute that there are racial disparities and a system that has engaged in racism in terms of how the laws have been enforced,” she said. “It does us no good to deny that. Let’s just deal with it. Let’s be honest. These might be difficult conversations for some, but they’re not difficult conversations for leaders, not for real leaders.”

Few Democrats, not even the presidential nominee, Joe Biden, have been so explicit in their perception of this societal scourge that has widened the divide among Americans, one that is embedded in the colour of the skin. To think that the white American, including the law-enforcement authority, will accord precedence to colour ought to be anathema in this day and age.

Protests against racial injustice, particularly in law enforcement, have swept across the country as police violence against black Americans ~ including George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York ~ has dominated narrative in the US this summer.

Nine in 10 black Americans have said they are not sure if the police treat black and white Americans equally, while a majority of white Americans are confident they are treated equally. The chief merit of Ms Harris’ presentation must be that this is the first time that she has dwelt on the core issue of two systems of justice in the fountain-head of democracy. The black American is the loser of this systemic assault on humanity.