In a recent article for The Hill, Juan Williams stirred up some controversy by declaring Joe Biden as “America’s third Black President,” following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. While Williams cited examples of Biden’s efforts towards racial justice, critics argue that this claim blurs the facts and is simply an attempt to appease the liberal base.
Williams points to Biden’s appointments of General Lloyd J. Austin as the first Black secretary of defense and Charles Q. Brown as the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as his decision to remove confederate names from military bases. Additionally, Biden’s selection of Shalanda Young, a Black woman, as director of the Office of Management and Budget is seen as a step in the right direction. However, critics argue that these actions do not automatically make Biden a “Black President” and that his record needs to be examined more closely.
Despite these controversies, Biden has made strides in improving the lives of Black Americans. He has achieved the lowest Black unemployment rate on record, lowered the cost of prescription drugs and hearing aids, and increased the rate of Black-owned small business creation. Biden has also made efforts to increase Black enrollment in government-sponsored health care plans and reduce Black child poverty. Furthermore, he recently cut $9 billion more in student loan debt, a burden that disproportionately affects low-income and Black students.
Although Biden has faced challenges in accomplishing police reform and combating voter suppression, he has not shied away from confronting these issues and pointing out the Republican Party’s obstruction. He even posed the question of whether Republicans want to align themselves with the likes of Dr. King or George Wallace, highlighting the stark differences in values.
While the claim that Biden is America’s third Black President may be disputed, it is clear that he has made significant efforts to address racial injustices and uplift the Black community. As the 2024 presidential race approaches, the choice between Biden and a GOP that is perceived to be hostile to Black people and Black interests may not leave much room for debate.