New York City (Reuters) – The United Nations has been accused by some of its personnel of bigotry after it released a survey that included a concern asking how they identify themselves, and provided ‘yellow’ amongst the possible reactions.
SUBMIT PHOTO: The United Nations logo is seen at the 2019 United Nations Environment Action Top at U.N. head office in New York, U.S., September 23,2019 REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
The ‘U.N. Survey on Racism’ was sent out to thousands of personnel on Wednesday. An email accompanying the survey said it was being brought out as part of U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ “project to eliminate racism and promote self-respect.”
However the first concern, on how personnel recognize themselves, itself showed a historical Western racist view of Asians by noting ‘yellow’ as an option, several U.N. staffers told Reuters. Other classifications used were black, brown, white, mixed/multi-racial and any other.
” The first question is ridiculous, deeply offensive and difficult to fathom how in a company as diverse as the United Nations this concern was approved for release in a system-wide survey,” said one U.N. employee, speaking on condition of privacy.
United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the survey would be “taken off-line and revised appropriately considering the legitimate issues” that had actually been expressed.
” We acknowledge the requirement to develop these classifications with greater level of sensitivity and will take instant steps to rectify this,” Dujarric stated.
Erica Foldy, an associate teacher at the Wagner Graduate School of Civil Service at New York City University, said making use of the term was not appropriate.
” The term ‘yellow’ to describe individuals of Asian descent is a slur. It should not be utilized, period. At the same time, it works to bear in mind that language associated to race is complicated and always in flux,” she said.
” Recently Brown, which had actually been thought about something of a slur (though possibly never ever as problematic as yellow) has actually entered broad usage. However I don’t see that occurring with ‘yellow’,” Foldy said.
Organizations and companies have actually been under increasing pressure to deal with racism in the wake of worldwide protests stimulated by the death of George Floyd, a Black American who died in May after a white law enforcement officer knelt on his neck.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Mary Milliken, Rosalba O’Brien and Richard Pullin