Open Thread: Why is Obama Boycotting the UN’s International Conference on Racism?

by Latoya Peterson

Reader Elton tipped me to this a while back and I’ve been waiting for the media firestorm on this to break – looks like it isn’t going to happen. The technical name for the conference is the Durban Review Conference, which is a follow up to the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.

In an op-ed for The Boston Globe, Marlene Nadle writes:

President Barack Obama’s position on attending the conference translates roughly into: Do it our way or we won’t play. He has already gotten all references to Israel, to reparations for slavery, and to a proposed ban on speech defaming any religion dropped from the conference’s draft document. Yet, he is still unwilling to have the United States attend. Even if the administration bullies its way into getting its final points, it is not really a win for the United States.

Obama’s foot dragging and threat of a boycott will begin to deplete whatever goodwill he has created for himself and America in the nations of color. People in those countries, like many Americans, hoped he would head up the fight for racial justice, not become one of the obstacles to it.

Readers, what have you heard so far? Please provide any links you may have as well as commentary.

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Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

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