(Todd A. Smith)
President Joe Biden is not perfect.
When it comes to what he has done for the African-American community, many of his African-American critics believe he has not lived up to many of his campaign promises.
However, that reality is something that is true for all politicians because many face opposition from the opposing party that limits what they can get done.
And in an extremely divided country, getting everything on your wish list will not happen.
Just ask former President Donald Trump if Mexico ever made a payment for that border wall that the former guy said the country to the south would pay for.
Yes, Biden wanted the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to land on his desk.
But ask Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) why the only African-American GOP senator would stand in the way of legislation that might save African-American lives.
Nevertheless, Biden did sign an executive order to address police reform.
In Dec. 2022, Gerren Keith Gaynor of The Grio wrote, “While the order did not go as far as a law passed by Congress would have, President Biden banned federal law enforcement agencies from the use of chokeholds and called for better standards for executing search warrants and investigating police departments, and other measures like better training or use-of-force standards and being transparent with data from law enforcement agencies (including updating a national database).
Despite Biden not getting everything on his Christmas list during his first term, it shows a lack of knowledge for people to say that he has done nothing for the African-American community, despite that community putting him over the top during the Democratic presidential primary in 2020.
While Trump is not my favorite president (actually my least favorite), I do give him props for prison reform and for commuting the sentence or pardoning many African-Americans locked behind the cages.
Furthermore, Democrats like Biden can be blamed for the mass incarceration rates of African-Americans.
But the true measure of a man, in my opinion, is correcting one’s mistakes.
Former President Lyndon B. Johnson was a known racist before ascending to the presidency.
However, he is the president that signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Likewise, Biden has helped many African-Americans with student debt relief.
Statistics show that 24 percent of African-American adults have federal student loan debt as compared to 14 percent of their White counterparts.
The Brookings Institution says that African-Americans owe $7,400 more than White Americans when they graduate.
Additionally, four years after graduation, African-Americans on average owe $52,726 while White Americans owe $28,006.
Furthermore, he has made preventing racism and discrimination when it comes to building wealth a priority.
In May 2023, Cheyenne M. Daniels of The Hill reported, “Biden…signed legislation [last] year to address the racial wealth gap.
“The Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government order established plans to assess barriers facing underserved communities and offered solutions for access to policies and programs. It also required agencies to investigate and address any algorithmic discrimination in technology services.”
He has also tried to get many African-Americans released from jail sentences just like his predecessor.
The Hill’s Daniels added, “In October , the president pardoned everyone convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law. Black Americans are nearly four times more likely than White Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.”
The 46th President of the United States has also appointed a record number of African-American female judges, including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
With Vice President Kamala Harris spearheading a mission to help African-American owned businesses, the administration has secured over $1 billion in loans for businesses owned by African-Americans.
Harris said, “Black entrepreneurs are three times more likely to report they did not apply for a loan for fear of being turned away by the bank. President Biden and I know that for our nation to succeed, these disparities must be spoken of, acknowledged, and addressed.”
In March 2022, Biden signed an anti-lynching bill named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicago teenager who was killed after an encounter with a White woman in 1955.
About the anti-lynching bill, Biden said the law, “is not just about the past. It’s about the present and our future as well. From the bullets in the back of Ahmaud Arbery to countless other acts of violence, countless victims known and unknown.”
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) commits 40 percent of certain investments for African-American and underserved communities.
The Grio reported that the Biden administration claims the IRA could save households up to 30 percent with tax credits for home construction costs.
Households could save $350 per year on their utility bills.
And while many in the African-American community praise Trump for the Congress-approved stimulus checks in 2020, stimulus checks were also sent out at the beginning of the Biden administration in 2021.
Lastly, under the Biden administration Juneteenth became an official federal holiday, commemorating the day that enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas learned of their emancipation on June 19, 1865.
So, while the criticism of Biden, and all politicians or aspiring politicians, is healthy, knowledge of the facts is even healthier.
Unfortunately, people have a short memory even when someone does something for them.
Hopefully, the African-American community will remember all the aforementioned accomplishments of the Biden administration before casting their vote in November.