Bringing the Treaty of Obligations into View at the State Level -- Minnesota (CERD Shadow Report, 2008)

Although the United States ratified the International Convention for the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in 1996, this is the first year that the Committee on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will receive any information
assessing the level of implementation of the ICERD in Minnesota. Similarly, it is the first year
the Committee is receiving any assessment of the level of progress (or regression) in Minnesota
towards the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.
That over a decade has passed without the Unites States reporting such information for
Minnesota is very telling. Since the United States is obligated to implement the provisions of the
ICERD at all levels of government (federal, state, and local) and report on its progress in doing
so, such information should be readily available from our State officials. Therefore, the silence
from and about Minnesota, recognized to be one of the more liberal states in the union, indicates
that the United States does not take its obligations under the ICERD seriously.
In this report, we have not attempted to provide an encyclopedic treatment of all the ICERD
requirements and all areas of discrimination its addresses relevant to Minnesota. Instead, our
effort is to provide a few specific examples of issues relevant to the ICERD to give the
Committee an insight into the general state of racial justice, or “which way the wind is blowing”
in Minnesota. These examples indicate that improvements in implementation of the ICERD are
necessary in Minnesota. We hope to be able to report such improvements for the Committee’s
next review.
As the great poet from Minnesota Bob Dylan put it:
“You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”