Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Cincinnatians headed to U.N. racism conference

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The United States may boycott a United Nations conference on racism that begins Friday in South Africa, but several Cincinnatians will not.

        And at least one of the Cincinnatians who will be attending thinks the United States is making a big mistake.

        “It's unfortunate,” said Bert Lockwood, director of the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights at the University of Cincinnati's School of Law, which has been invited by the United Nations to send official observers to the eight-day conference.

        “We by no means have solved our racial problems in this country, but you would think our government would want to be in volved in the discussion,” said Mr. Lockwood, who will attend with UC Law School dean Joseph Tomain and U.S. Appeals Court Judge Nathaniel Jones.

        Last week, President Bush said the United States would not participate in the conference if delegates “pick on Israel,” a reference to language in the conference agenda that some think portrays Israel as being a racist nation.

        Monday, a spokesman for Secretary of State Colin Powell said the secretary would not be attending.

        Mr. Lockwood said he does not understand the Bush administration's reluctance to participate.

        “You would think that an administration that has two African- Americans as its principle foreign policy officials would want to showcase that,” Mr. Lockwood said.

        Mr. Powell's presence, Mr. Lockwood said, “would raise the conference to a different level, because of the prestige he holds around the world and because he is a man who has overcome racism.”


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