"Beyond Racism" Initiative Releases Reports

At an international conference in Cape Town, South Africa, where Mr. Nelson Mandela spoke at an opening dinner, the Comparative Human Relations Initiative (CHRI) released its reports on the problems of race and racism in Brazil, South Africa, and the United States in late May. (See "Nelson Mandela Speech.")

CHRI's reports represent the first in-depth, comparative study of race and racism in the three nations. They are the work of a diverse, international study group (International Working and Advisory Group), a wide range of scholars, government officials, and activists, and a small CHRI staff. (Copies of the reports are available in Acrobat "pdf" format in the Publications section.)

While there is no single, simple conclusion drawn from the reports' various findings, CHRI's working group concludes that the beginning of the 21st century is a "critical turning point" for nations in finding an opportunity and reasons to move "beyond racism."

"Those nations that continue to provide benefits for Whites at the expense of Blacks, women and other vulnerable groups, fail to nurture the talents of all their people and tolerate or even encourage deep cultural and "racial" divisions," declares the CHRI study group," will undermine their competitive edge with other nations and lose credibility with their own people."

All CHRI reports carry the title, "Beyond Racism: Embracing an Interdependent Future," signaling that the new century marks a categorical moment when expediency and justice meet, when new, emerging levels of human interdependence combine practical self interest and universal morality as new imperatives for societies to move "beyond racism."

Lynn Walker Huntley, CHRI director and Executive Vice-President of the Southern Education Foundation, says that the conference is a forum for bringing together a small number of people to explore new opportunities for change.

"We have come to learn from each other's experiences, establish working relationships, and begin preparations for the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Intolerance."

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SEF - The Southern Education Foundation