Lisa Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and one of the Biden administration’s top officials, told the Human Rights Council that “the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles.”
Thomas-Greenfield made the statement to a virtual conference of the National Action Network, which was founded by Rev. Al Sharpton. In her speech, the ambassador also championed Black Lives Matter.
“I remain hopeful in part because of the influence and the insistence of organizations like yours,” she said. “Just look at the way [the] Black Lives Matter movement spread this past summer.
Thomas-Greenfield said it is important for the United States to “engage on a global scale,” adding that it must recommit to “multilateral institutions,” the Daily Wire reports.
“If we go it alone and retreat from the world, then we let existing inequalities fester. But if we engage, then we can push for change and demand justice,” she said. “That’s why under President Biden’s leadership, we’ve been restoring our alliances and recommitting to multilateral institutions.”
“We rejoined the World Health Organization because we believed we can make the WHO smarter, nimbler, and more just by rolling up our sleeves and getting involved,” added Thomas-Greenfield. “We proudly rejoined the Paris Agreement because the only way to reverse the effects of the climate crisis is to join forces. And we know that if we don’t act, poor communities and communities of color, especially in the Global South, will suffer the most.”
“And we immediately [reengaged] with the UN 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,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield criticized the United States, describing it as an “imperfect union,” and added that it has been so “since the beginning.”
“Of course, when we raise issues of equity and justice at the global scale, we have to approach them with humility,” said the ambassador. “We have to acknowledge that we are an imperfect union and have been since the beginning. And every day we strive to make ourselves more perfect and more just. In a diverse country like ours, that means committing to do the work. It means learning and understanding more about each other. It means engaging trailblazing groups like yours to teach, to grow, to include, to improve. It means not forgetting our past or ignoring our present, but keeping both firmly in mind as we push for a better future.”
Thomas-Greenfield had a lot to say about America’s founding principles, claiming that “the original sin of slavery” baked racism into the founding documents and principles of the United States.
“I tried to do this recently in the UN General Assembly when 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 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 bused 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’ve seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield is a fervent believer in the concept of systemic racism, and claims that “racism is not the problem of the person who experiences it,” but that it is the “problem of the racist.”
She said: “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’s every society.”