By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
In less than two weeks in The White House, President Joe Biden has prioritized racial equity.
As he was sworn in as President, facing historic challenges made worse by an incompetent predecessor, Joseph Biden said he would challenge “white supremacy” during his presidency. Despite America’s 400-year history of institutional state mandated racism, President Biden is the first President in history to say the words “white supremacy” in an inaugural address.
In his inaugural speech, President Biden said the country must defeat “a rise of political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism.”
One of Biden’s first acts in office was to sign executive orders on racial equality. On January 26, the President signed four executive actions directing his administration to implement laws against housing discrimination and a second to counter xenophobia against Asian Americans. Biden also signed a memorandum directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), soon to be led by Ohio Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, to begin the process of ending systemic racism in housing. That effort would likely include uncovering the efforts the Trump Administration put in place to circumvent fair housing laws.
Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was investigated and sued by the federal government in the 1970s for housing discrimination against African Americans.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson called the Biden executive orders, “a great initial start, the fact he’s embedding this inside of Domestic Policy Council shows the urgency and the gravity of what’s taking place but in addition to that, racial equity is system-wide.”
“The President signs a series of executive orders that will put racial equity at the forefront of our government, I am reminded of this quote by Nelson Mandela — It always seems impossible until it is done,” wrote Congresswoman Terri Sewell on January 26.
“The President of the United States just used the words “white supremacy” in an inaugural address — and vowed to defeat it. Strains of Ulysses S. Grant right here,” wrote Professor Jelani Cobb on Jan. 20.
“President Biden said white supremacy must be defeated during his inaugural speech. No president has said this before. The Movement for Black Lives made that happen. The organizing and protests over the past 9 years made that moment happen,” wrote civil rights attorney Judith Browne Dianis regarding Biden’s inaugural speech.
Much of the focus on Biden’s equality effort has pointed out the need to comprehensively include equality language in all White House policy. Biden’s cabinet and administration are working to be the most diverse in history.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke