Gay McDougall

Recent Articles

Shame in Our Own House

In its relations with the rest of the world, America struggles with a profound contradiction. On the one hand, our country has been a pioneer in the human-rights movement, providing much of the language and inspiration for international efforts to win equality for all. On the other hand, our government has repeatedly blocked attempts to bring these rights home to America's own racial minorities, and that hypocrisy lurks at the core of our moral identity as a nation, undermining our claims to global leadership. The roots of the problem run deep. Since the country's inception, when the Founding Fathers decided to build a rights-based government on the foundation of slavery, the commitment to grant basic human rights to some, but not all, citizens has bedeviled our nation. Along with the legacy of racism itself, we are still contending with institutions originally established to preserve slavery. It was a compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which gave southern...