V. Women and Children Are in Worrisome Situation
Discrimination against women is common in the United
States. USA Today reported on January 6, 2003 that women
hold merely 14 percent of seats in Congress. According to a
survey report released by researchers at Rutgers university,
discrimination against ethnic minorities was found in one
third of business firms in the United States, and
discrimination against women was reported in one fourth of
200,000 firms. In hospitals, shops, restaurants and bars,
women of African, Latin American and Asian descent made up
70 percent of those who have been hurt.
women are likely to become victims of crimes and violence. A
study report published by the Harvard School of Public
Health on April 17, 2002 said that American females are at
the highest risk of murder, and the US female homicide
victimization rate is 5 times that of all the other high
income countries combined. The United States accounts for 70
percent of all female homicides in the 25 high income
countries, and 4,400 American females are murdered each
year, with about half by firearms.
American women are
also likely to become victims of sexual assaults. In 2002,
several scandals of sexual assaults on women by clergies
were exposed. According to reports, over the past five
years, in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, New
Mexico, Texas, and Wisconsin, a number of faith
healing-related sexual assaults were exposed, with some
faith healers found to have raped women during the therapy.
Police and public prosecutors believe that hundreds
of women in Los Angeles and other places were sexually
abused when they sought help from faith healers (March 13,
2002, L.A. Times). Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that
a survey conducted by researchers at St. Louis University in
1996 but kept under wraps after completion shows that about
40 percent of American Catholic nuns (nearly 35,000) have
been sexually abused, often at the hands of a priest or
another nun. (Jan. 5, 2003, Washington, AFP).
American children often fall victim to domestic
violence, social crimes, their parents' divorces, and
abandonment. According to a study published by researchers
at Harvard University in 2002,in American states and regions
with high gun ownership, children have more chances to be
murdered, to commit suicide or to meet accidental death.
Between 1988 and 1997, a total of 6,817 children, aged 5-14,
were shot to death in the 50 states of the United States
(Boston, Feb. 28, 2002, Reuters).
Young girls missing
and the kidnapping of children are frequent. Statistics show
that in the United States, 58,000 children were kidnapped by
people other than their families each year, and 40 percent
of them were slain in the end. Another 200,000 children were
kidnapped by their family members, mostly for the right of
custody (Washington, Aug. 6, 2002, Xinhua News Agency).
In 2002, a series of scandals of sexual assaults on
children by Catholic clergies were exposed. An article
titled "Sins of the Fathers" published by the
Newsweek magazine on March 4, 2002 reported that the
child-sexual-abuse settlements may have cost the American
church US$1 billion during the 1986-1996 period. Some 80
priests have been accused of sexually abusing children, with
one said to have assaulted more than 100 children over the
past 40 years.
The Sun newspaper reported on April
29, 2002 that there were 46,000 priests in the United
States, and in the past 18 years at least 1,500 had been
charged (Sun, Apr. 29, 2002). According to the newspaper
Christian Science Monitor, the targets of sex-related crimes
committed by American clergies were mostly children, and
since 1985 over 70 clergies and priests were imprisoned for
molestation of children (Christian Science Monitor, March
Many children have encountered serious
difficulties in their life, medical treatment and education,
and many of them have not received parental love and care.
According to a report published by the Public Policy
Institute of California in November 2002, 20 percent of
Californian children aged under 5 years live in poverty,
compared with the national average of 15 percent. The New
York Times reported last July that the proportion of
American children who grow up in parentless families is
increasing, from the previous 7.5 percent to the present
The non-governmental Women's Commission
for Refugee Women and Children says in its 2002 report that
nearly 5,000 children were detained every year by the US
Immigration and Naturalization Service for entering the
United States illegally. Their average age is 15 years, with
the youngest only one and a half years.
Most of these
children did not have other criminal records except illegal
entry. However, over 30 percent of these children were
commingled with young offenders, handcuffed and shackled,
sent to prisons or detained in warehouses with very poor
VI. Deep-rooted Racial
Racial discrimination is deep-rooted
in the United States. Senate Republican leader Trent Lott
had repeatedly made remarks supporting racial segregation
during his political life. He had tried by every means to
prevent the Congress from passing a bill on establishing the
birthday of Martin Luther King, a murdered civil rights
leader of the blacks, as a national holiday.
December 5, 2002, when attending a 100th birthday party for
Sen. Strom Thurmond from South Carolina, who ran for the
presidency in 1948 as a segregationist candidate, Lott said
that the United States would be better off if Strom Thurmond
had won the presidency that year. Lott's remarks triggered
strong reaction of the Congressional Black Caucus.
the end, Lott quitted his post as Senate Republican leader
under the pressure of public opinion ("Black Caucus
unforgiving after Lott's apology" by William M. Welch,
Dec. 11 2002, USA Today).
For more than 100 years
between 1862 and 1965, the United States had enforced a law
restricting immigrants from Asia and forbidding marriage
between immigrants of Asian descent and white people. Many
states nullified the law in the 1940s-1960s, but it is still
in effect in the states of New Mexico and Florida.
Racial discrimination is serious in law enforcement.
According to a study by the Justice Policy Institute of the
United States, blacks constitute only 12.9 percent of
America's total population, but black prisoners account for
46 percent of the total in jail in the nation; approximately
one in every five blacks is jailed for some time during his
or her life.
The number of blacks in jail is greater
than that of blacks at college. In 2000, about 800,000
blacks were in jail, compared with only 600,000 blacks
registered in institutions of higher learning. Among the new
inmates put in prison since 1980, people of African and
Latin American descent have accounted for 70 percent.
The Sun newspaper reported on Jan. 8, 2003 that
defendants who kill white people are significantly more
likely to be charged with capital murder and sentenced to
death than are killers of non-whites, and a black offender
accused of killing a white victim is most likely to be put
on death row.
The paper quoted a study as saying that
the probability that someone accused of killing a white
person will be charged with capital murder is 1.6 times
higher than the probability for a black-victim homicide.
Blacks who kill whites are two and one-halftimes more likely
to be sentenced to death than are whites who kill whites,
and three and one-half times more likely than are blacks who
kill blacks. Though a majority of Maryland's homicide
victims were black, of the 12 inmates on Maryland's death
row awaiting execution, eight were black, and all were
convicted of killing white people.
among the poorest groups in the United States. A Federal
Reserve report issued on January 22, 2003 said that the gap
in wealth between American whites and ethnic minorities
widened by 21 percent between 1998 and 2001. The US Census
Bureau reported in its 2002 annual report on income and
poverty that in 2001, the poverty rate in the United States
rose to 11.7 percent; the poverty rate was 22.7 percent
among African Americans, and 21.4 percent among Hispanics,
both nearly double the rate for other ethnic groups.
African American and Hispanic homeowners paid higher
interest rates for housing loans than white people did. In
the metropolitan area of Washington D.C., among households
that made at least 120 percent of the typical income in the
area, 32 percent of blacks held high-interest loans while
only 11 percent of whites did; among households that made 80
percent or less of the typical income, 56 percent of blacks
had high-interest loans and 25 percent of whites did.
Minorities also suffer from unfair treatment in
schooling. Racial segregation in public schools has got even
worse than decades ago. Only four of all 185 school
districts across the United States witnessed increase in
black-white exposure (exposure of black students to white
students) between 1986 and 2000. The 24school districts with
the worst racial segregation were found in Texas and Georgia
The newspaper Christian Science Monitor
reported on Jan. 21, 2003 that in the state of Georgia 32
percent of white elementary school teachers left their posts
at predominantly black schools in2001. The situation was the
same in Texas, California and North Carolina. Lots of
classes had to be taught by substitute teachers who didn't
have degrees and weren't licensed to teach, and "black
students aren't getting an equal shot at good
Among the third graders in
elementary schools in California, 70percent of white
children met the required educational attainment standard,
compared with 37 percent of black children and 27 percent of
Hispanic children. The enrollment rate of minority students
in schools of higher learning was declining.
report by researchers of Harvard University pointed out that
America's pervasive legacy of slavery, racism, and
substandard, segregated health care for many of the nation's
minorities has left a deep chasm between the health status
of most minorities and whites. Blacks have enjoyed much
poorer medical treatment than whites ever since they came to
America from Africa.
Americans have much higher rates of heart diseases,
diabetes, AIDS and some cancers. Blacks have a cancer death
rate about 35 percent higher than that of whites, the AIDS
cases among black women and children are 75 percent higher
than among white people, and African-American children also
have much higher rates of asthma and juvenile diabetes than
white children. There is a life expectancy gap of about
seven years between whites and African Americans.
("Blacks suffer most from managed care, by Julianne
Malveaux, Nov. 29, 2002, USA Today).
discrimination has been on the rise in the United States
since the September 11 terrorist attacks. The US authorities
have intensified restrictions on new immigrants and slowed
down its procedure for approving entry of immigrants.
Tougher regulations have been adopted, requiring new
immigrants to register their residences at Immigration and
Naturalization Service (INS) offices, or otherwise face
imprisonment, fines or even deportation. In August 2002, in
airport safety inspections the FBI arrested a large number
of immigrant airport workers, mostly Latinos.
Discrimination against Muslims and Arabs is the most
serious. According to statistics from the Islamic Society of
North America,48 percent of Muslims living in the Unites
States said their lives have changed for the worse since
Sept. 11. By the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks, approximately 60 percent of Muslims had experienced
in person or witnessed acts of discrimination against
Muslims including public harassment, physical assault and
property damage. There had been nearly 2,000 vicious
criminal cases against Muslims, including 11 murders and 56
In Los Angeles, assaults on Islamic
institutions rose by 16 times from 28 in 2000 to 481 in
2001. In Toledo City, Ohio, more than 10,000 residents of
Arab descent were monitored and wiretapped by judicial
departments after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and they
were not allowed to talk to lawyers. Moreover, judicial
departments can have house search at any time.
Immigration and Naturalization Service announced in August
2002 that males from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Sudan are
to be fingerprinted on entering the United States. In
November the same year, a new federal regulation added
another 13 countries including Afghanistan to the list.
Males from these 18 countries, who are 16 years and older
and on temporary visas to the United States are subject to
"special registration", to report to relevant
departments and be fingerprinted and photographed before the
On December 16, 2002, more than
1,000 Muslims from Iran, Iraq and other Middle East nations
went to the immigration offices in California for the
"special registration" procedures. However, most
of them were detained by immigration officers right away,
under accusations of holding invalid visas, overstaying
their visas or other wrongdoing. The US Department of
Justice later admitted that about 500 immigrants of Mideast
descent were arrested.
While statistics from local
Islamic institutions showed that at least 700 people were
arrested, some even put it at about 1,000. News reports said
that as the immigration detention center was overcrowded,
some of the detainees were moved to prison. The detainees
complained that they were stripped, searched, and given
prison suits after their clothes were taken away. Many
people were locked in one cell, with no bed or quilt, and
had to sleep on the icy cement floor.