American society laden with shocking disparities, still
The grossly disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black, Brown and Indigenous people, linked to long-standing disparities in health, education and economic status, has revealed the lasting effects of overtly racist laws and policies and persistent barriers to equality were exposed in the 2021 Human Rights Watch Report (from the United States). The disparity is as stark as in the enforcement of law and order in the country where black people are still the recipients of justice.
Things haven’t improved much even after the advent of Biden rule in the country. Women’s access to health care is as limited as it was then, and the weakening of consumer protection against predatory lenders and abusive debt collectors continues. Processes that weaken regulations to reduce pollution and address climate change continue today. In its foreign policy, the United States continues to work on several fronts to undermine multilateral institutions, including through the use of sanctions. It continued to flout international human rights law by associating with abusive governments, although it sanctioned a number of individuals and governments for committing human rights abuses.
Disparities in health insurance are linked to long-standing inequalities in health outcomes and access to care, education, employment, and economic status. Thousands of people of Asian descent reported incidents of attacks and racial discrimination after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic and the public health measures necessary to slow its spread have resulted in lost wages or jobs, reduced health coverage, and reduced access to other essential goods and services. People of color, especially women and immigrants, continued to be overrepresented in low-wage service jobs, putting them at increased risk.
Many, especially in agriculture and food production, have faced unsafe working conditions leading to disease outbreaks. Increased unemployment protection and direct payments in relief programs passed by Congress have significantly stemmed the growth in the poverty rate. However, many protections expired in July and August last year and have not been restored. Relief bills lacked protections for those who could not pay bills or medical care costs, and excluded some workers, including immigrants. The administration continued to undermine consumer protections against predatory lenders and abusive debt collectors. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has dumped a rule aimed at preventing small lenders, including so-called payday lenders, from charging exorbitant interest rates. California voters have passed an app-based company-sponsored ballot initiative removing ride-sharing and app-based delivery drivers from minimum wage, paid sick leave and other essential labor protections provided by law of the state passed in 2019, setting a dangerous precedent for rights workers in the United States and around the world.
Rather than addressing poverty or health issues that contribute to crime, many US jurisdictions focus on aggressive policing in poor and minority communities, fueling a vicious cycle of incarceration and police violence. This is how they pay tribute to Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake and continue to lecture countries like India on human rights. A Washington Post database recently revealed that about 1,000 shooting murders in each of the past five years revealed significant racial disparities. These are only part of the conclusions. Yet the country shamelessly preaches human rights to others.