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Ferguson riot highlights racial divide in US

By Xinhua | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-19 06:52

In his landmark "I have a dream" speech, civil rights leader Martin Luther King voiced his strong aspiration for equal rights for black people in US society.

Fifty years later, such a dream has been partially realized. African-Americans living in the United States today have a higher political and social status than previously. Notably, the country is led by its first African-American president.

However, despite the progress, racial divisions still remain a deeply rooted, chronic disease that keeps tearing US society apart, as manifested by the recent riot in Missouri.

Stunned and enraged by the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer, a large number of residents in the suburban St. Louis town of Ferguson took to the streets and engaged in a tense standoff with police in riot gear.

In history, racial tensions cut deep in US society. Even now, the scar is obviously far from being fully healed.

Some might argue that racial differences and conflicts are unavoidable in a "melting pot" like the United States, where people from virtually every corner of the world converge and seek common lives.

However, it is undeniable that racial discrimination against African-Americans and other ethnic minorities, though not as obvious as in the past, still persists in every aspect of US social lives, including employment, housing, education and, particularly, justice.

In the worst US violence in recent times, the acquittal of four white policemen in the beating of a black motorist in 1992 sparked a six-day riot involving thousands of people across the metropolitan area of Los Angeles, leaving an astounding 51 people dead.

In a highly mixed society like the United States, such racial inequalities can only jeopardize social peace and security. It is highly advisable for the country to make extra efforts to effectively uproot racism in all fields so as to prevent tragedies from recurring.

The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home.

In its annual human rights report issued in February, the United States assaulted almost 200 countries across the world for their so-called poor human rights records.

However, the US human rights flaws extend far beyond racial issues. As revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the US government has hacked into e-mails and cellphones of ordinary Americans as well as leaders of other countries, including traditional US allies.

What's more, Uncle Sam has witnessed numerous shooting sprees on its own land and launched incessant drone attacks on foreign soil, resulting in heavy civilian casualties.

Each country has its own national conditions that might lead to different social problems. Obviously, what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.

(China Daily 08/19/2014 page10)

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