Iran’s Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani described the US administration’s exercise of racial bias against African-Americans as the main cause of ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
Amoli Larijan’s remarks came as the two-week riots in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb in the state of Missouri, served as a striking reminder of the racial bias towards people of minorities, especially the African-rooted groups in the country. The riots sparked by the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown subside, attention is persistently focused on the chronic problem behind them, the racial divide in the United States.
“The Ferguson incidents are the result of chronic racial discrimination in the US,” Amoli Larijani said in Tehran on Wednesday.
He noted that the Ferguson incidents can be analyzed in three different perspectives: “why it happened, how it was approached by the US government, and human rights”.
Amoli Larijani pointed to chronic racial discrimination as the cause of the incident, and said, “According to the latest figures the amount of income of the black people and the level of their presence in governmental posts is not comparable with the white people.”
And this discrimination exists in a country that claims to be a fervent supporter of freedom, equality and human rights, he added.
Iran’s judiciary chief described the US government’s behavior towards the protesters of Ferguson as extremely violent.
Amoli Larijani also pointed to the US double-standards in dealing with human rights issues, and viewed the current situation in Ferguson as modern barbarism.
In the United States, it is not uncommon for conflicts between minorities and police to swell into riots. On the national level, white people make up about three quarters of all local police. In Ferguson, whose population is 67 percent black, the ratio is over 94 percent.
But when dealing with such conflicts, US authorities are more than often reluctant to touch the racial dimension and even try to deny the existence of racial discrimination.
The abuse of power by US police, who use rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons against protestors, has also sparked questioning. Those tools are used under extreme caution in other countries, where police usually use riot shields and batons instead to reduce damage.
Analysts have pointed out that police use of excessive force has a long history and is a national problem. Authorities often use violence against people of minorities during law enforcement.
According to media reports, about 400 people die in conflicts between police and civilians in the United States each year. Among these cases, a quarter involve white cops and African-rooted Americans, and the death toll of African-Americans is more than twice that of white cops.
Besides suffering unfair treatment during police law enforcement, African-rooted minorities have disadvantaged social and economic status, which aggravates the racial divide.
According to census statistics, the annual family income of the white people in the United States reached $62,000 in 2011, while African-American families earned $41,000 on average, or two-thirds of that of an average white family. The ratio stood at 55 percent 50 years ago, but reached 70 percent in the 1980s.
In addition, 75 percent of the white have their own houses, compared to only 45 percent among the African minority families. The poverty rate is 8 percent among the white, but 25 percent among African-Americans. The divide also exists in homelessness, unemployment, education and health care.
In mostly black Ferguson, African-Americans still lag behind their white neighbors in terms of medical care, housing, education and other economic aspects.
Over the history, minority groups in the United States have never stopped their struggle against racial discrimination and fight for equal rights.
Although their political and economic status has been elevated noticeably over recent decades, there is still a long and tortuous way to go before the racial divide is completely eliminated.