When President Joe Biden speaks at Tuesday’s ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the terrorist attack known as the Tulsa Race Massacre (Because, calling it a “Black massacre” is too much), he will take the opportunity to address inequality, systemic racism and nonexistent racial justice.
And that’s all.
He won’t actually do anything. But, according to senior White House officials, the president plans to say some stuff that sounds good to people who just think racism can be fixed with safety pins and Black Lives Matter profile pics. As the federal government’s HNIC (The N stands for “Nah, I ain’t gonna do shit”), Biden won’t attempt to convince the people who benefitted from the terrorism to make amends to the living victims or the families of the deceased, but, according to senior sources inside the White House, he’s gonna talk about the wealth gap. He’s also going to confront housing inequality by doing something that will have little impact. He’ll also talk about “minority businesses,” which supposedly includes Black-owned businesses.
Other proposals that won’t fix a single problem include:
- Something about “underserved” communities: Biden will offer specifics on a $10 million community revitalization fund intended to assist under-resourced communities. (In plain terms, “places where Black people live.”) He plans to use the money to build entrepreneur programs, community cultural centers and art spaces. The details will be included in the infrastructure proposal that Democrats have jockeyed with Republicans to not filibuster because Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Diet D-Ariz.) doesn’t give a fuck about Black people.
- Stuff about the wealth gap: After acknowledging that the median white family has 41 times more wealth than the median Black family, Biden will propose $31 billion in grants to support minority-owned businesses that white women will use to increase the distance between white women and actual Black-owned businesses. Joe Manchin doesn’t like women, but it will sound nice before Sen. Joe Manchin (Kinda D-W. Va.) compromises on the plan as a measure of bipartisanship.
- Words on housing discrimination: The Biden administration’s plan to address housing discrimination includes zero new laws. But there is an “initiative” to stop housing appraisers from devaluing Black homes. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge will lead an interagency initiative that enforces already-existing regulations that have lead to the devaluation of Black homes to the tune of $156 billion. Also, there will be tax credits and grants to expand choices for low-income potential homeowners.
- A little bit about fair housing: Biden will also instruct HUD officials to return to the pre-Trump enforcement on the Fair Housing Act. But there won’t be anything new because, remember, Obama already fixed racism before the Trump administration rediscovered it and breathed new life into white supremacy.
- Acknowledging other atrocities: The president will also acknowledge other acts of racial terrorism. He has already issued a proclamation on the Tulsa Race Massacre, promising that we will “never forget” the stuff that he will remind people about on Tuesday.
Although scholars, economists and researchers say that Biden’s Diet Bernie Sanders-like race-neutral policies will have little effect on the wealth gap, Biden will eschew years of work by Black people who actually know shit to institute his plan for stuff and things. He won’t use the power of the presidency to study reparations. He won’t force HUD to collect more data on banking discrimination. He won’t investigate credit agencies. No instructions for a Homeland Security team focused on far-right domestic terrorism in law enforcement. Zero plans for funds set aside specifically for Black entrepreneurs. No plans to use the civil rights division of the Education Department to address school inequality.
Gerrymandering? Nothing. Voting rights? Nada. Marijuana legalization? Police use of force? Lack of available healthcare? Pay equity? Zilch.
But those tax credits and community grants should help.
“While many components of President Biden’s budget appear to be encouraging, when it comes to addressing America’s racial wealth gap, it fails to address a key issue at the core of the racial wealth gap, the student loan debt crisis,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson in a statement.
Biden’s list of resolutions, proclamations and other vocabulary words also does not include a single statement on reparations, debt, sentencing inequality or using the Department of Justice to ensure equity in government-backed financial institutions.
Administration officials also said Biden’s words about racial justice won’t include specific plans to compensate the survivors of the Greenwood Black Massacre, meaning he’s going to the site of a mass murder to not do shit about the mass murder.
But he’s gonna say some things, though.
Good for him.