U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) on Wednesday that “the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles.”
Thomas-Greenfield addressed the NAN’s 30th annual summit, praising Sharpton for a “lifetime of activism” and thanking him for “never backing down.” She did not mention Sharpton’s history of antisemitic, racist, and homophobic rhetoric, or his role in inciting riots against Jews.
Instead, Thomas-Greenfield recited a familiar theme from Critical Race Theory, which holds that America was founded upon white supremacy, and that racism infects all of America’s institutions as a result.
In her prepared remarks, Thomas-Greenfield said:
I spoke on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. That day – and commemoration – was personal for me. So, I told the UN some personal stories. I told them about how my great-grandmother Mary Thomas, born in 1865, was the child of a slave. Just three generations back from me. I grew up in the segregated South. I was bussed to a segregated school. On weekends, the Klan burned crosses on lawns in our neighborhood.
I shared these stories and others to acknowledge, on the international stage, that I have personally experienced one of America’s greatest imperfections. I have seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles. But I also shared these stories to offer up an insight, a simple truth I’ve learned over the years: Racism is not the problem of the person who experiences it.
Those of us who experience racism cannot, and should not, internalize it, despite the impact it can have on our everyday lives. Racism is the problem of the racist. And it is the problem of the society that produces the racist. And in today’s world, that is every society.
In America, that takes many forms. It’s the white supremacy that led to the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other Black Americans. It’s the spike in hate crimes over the past three years – against Latino Americans, Sikh and Muslim Americans, Jewish Americans, and immigrants. And it’s the bullying, discrimination, brutality, and violence that Asian Americans face everyday, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19. That’s why the Biden-Harris administration has made racial equity a top priority across the entire government. And I’m making it a real focus of my tenure at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
But when I say racism is a problem in every society, that means looking beyond America’s borders too. Across four decades and four continents in the foreign service, I experienced racism in countless international contexts. From overly invasive searches at airports, to police racially profiling my son, to being made to wait behind white patrons for a table at a restaurant. Racism was and continues to be a daily challenge abroad. And for millions, it’s more than a challenge. It’s deadly.
Some of the cases Thomas-Greenfield cited, including the Breonna Taylor case, have no evidence of racial bias whatsoever. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron — the state’s first black attorney general — announced last September that no charges would be filed against police officers in the case because they knocked first before Taylor fired his weapon at them.
Thomas-Greenfield also boasted that President Joe Biden “immediately re-engaged with the Human Rights Council, and have announced our intention to seek election to that body, so that we can advance our most-cherished democratic values around the globe.”
President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2018 precisely because it sheltered undemocratic regimes while obsessively criticizing Israel. China is among the council’s members.
“Roughly 80 times, this past decade, the United Nations Human Rights Council has denounced Israel while ignoring many of the worst human rights abuses anywhere in the world,” then-President Trump recalled in an address in 2019. To call out this egregious hypocrisy, I withdrew the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Council.”
During her confirmation process, Thomas-Greenfield faced scrutiny for her praise of China during a speech to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-funded Confucius Institute at Savannah State University in Georgia in 2019. She praised China’s role in Africa, saying that critics of its “predatory lending” needed to acknowledge that “the United States and the West is [sic] not showing up or offering viable alternatives.” She did not criticize China’s human rights record on that occasion, either in Africa or within China itself. (She later told the Senate that she regretted accepting the invitation to speak.)
Thomas-Greenfield’s outreach to Sharpton and NAN is notable. As Breitbart News has reported, then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) refused to have anything to do with Sharpton in 2008, but reached out to him when the Obama White House sought allies in the black community.
In 2012, Sharpton and NAN helped inflame national outrage over the death of Trayvon Martin, claiming inaccurately that the suspect, George Zimmerman, was “white.” Since then, he has become even more powerful within the Democratic Party.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new novel, Joubert Park, tells the story of a Jewish family in South Africa at the dawn of the apartheid era. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, recounts the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.