Don't Call Them 'Urban Issues': Why the Biden-Harris Administration Needs to Address Black Interests for What They Are

Howard University professor Ravi Perry, Ph.D., believes that the political game is a long one.

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And though he has expectations for the incoming Biden-Harris administration, the political science department chair recognizes some of the limitations to making all the headway necessary for Black folks’ success.

“Much of that progress is really just still going to be fixing all of the mess from the Trump years,” said Perry.

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Nonetheless, Dr. Perry believes the president-elect and vice president-elect can still champion a Black agenda during their tenure. And that requires Biden and Harris explicitly talking about racial appeals.

“Don’t call them ‘urban issues.’ Don’t call them ‘challenges’ in the heartland of America. These are Black issues. And also frame them in a way that makes everyone understand that the challenges that Black folks face are challenges that America must address as a whole,” said Perry.

In his first book Black Mayors, White Majorities: The Balancing Act of Racial Politics, Perry breaks down how even if legislation passes that primarily perhaps targets African Americans, it also has a significant impact on everybody else.

“It’s a theory that I have called ‘universalizing the interest of African Americans,’” said Perry. And when it comes to the soon-to-be leaders of the free world, he knows exactly where President-Elect Joe Biden, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, and their team should begin prioritizing Black interests.

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“They need to start by focusing on the core issues that surveys have indicated Black folks care about, which includes education, criminal justice, economic issues, and of course, healthcare.”

Watch in the video above as Perry outlines how this incoming administration can make it clear that Black folks are a priority within their first 100 days in office, ways to intentionally target Black communities through policies and programs, why a national discussion about Black intersectionality is necessary, and more.

Jessica Moulite is an award-winning Video Producer at The Root passionate about dismantling unjust societal power structures and all things Black culture. She's also probably watching “Living Single.”

DISCUSSION

You know what, this is bullshit racist attitude.

The problems facing poor blacks in urban America regarding all the issues mentioned are also the same ones effecting poor Hispanics, poor Native Americans, and pretty much poor anyone else living in similar conditions in similar conditions. To claim Black America deserves preferential treatment because, well, its Black - is just as fucked up and racist as the goddamned Proud Boys and other Trumpists whining about how they deserve preferential treatment.

Yes, Blacks in America have gotten screwed over historically. Then again, so has pretty much any group that wasn’t white and wealthy. Until we get past this sense of entitlement, “now it is our turn”, this country is not going to get any better.

People here keep talking about the wrongs whites committed against blacks. One of the black political leaders of today is Al Sharpton. A man who rose to fame, in part, by making false allegations against white men regarding Tawana Brawley. A man who rose in fame, in part, by making false allegations regarding Goetz.

Don’t make it Black America’s turn to be the racist bullies and thugs. Try for a higher bar.

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