In Tulsa, Joe Biden is the first US President to commemorate the racist massacre of black people in the city 100 years ago. In his address he also warns of current threats to American democracy.
US President Joe Biden has called on Americans to address racism in their country’s history 100 years after a black massacre in the city of Tulsa. “That’s what great nations do. They work on their dark sides,” said Biden on Tuesday during a visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Racist hatred has shaped the laws and culture in the USA. “We’re doing ourselves a disservice by pretending that none of this happened and that it doesn’t affect us today.” Biden emphasized that according to the assessment of the American secret services, right-wing extremist terrorism posed the greatest threat to the United States.
Biden met the last three surviving witnesses of the June 1, 1921 massacre in Tulsa, who are now between 101 and 107 years old, according to the White House. At that time, a white mob attacked the Greenwood neighborhood, killing around 300 black people, according to estimates, and destroying the houses and apartments of around 10,000 people. Greenwood had been a place where a very successful black community had grown, despite the discrimination against blacks that was still enshrined in law in the USA at the time. The neighborhood was therefore often referred to as “Black Wall Street”.
In Tulsa, Biden announced measures to narrow the wealth gap between whites and ethnic minorities in the United States. His government said, among other things, the fight against discrimination in the real estate market should be stepped up. The federal government will also increase the award of contracts to small businesses owned by members of minorities by 50 percent.
“Darkness can hide a lot, but it cannot extinguish anything”
On Tuesday, Biden complained that the racist attack in Tulsa had been “shrouded in darkness” for far too long and kept quiet. “My fellow Americans, that wasn’t a riot. It was a massacre. One of the worst in our history,” he said. “Darkness can hide a lot, but it cannot extinguish anything.”
Biden said he was the first president to visit Tulsa to commemorate the racist attack 100 years ago. The President remembered the victims with a minute’s silence, at the end of which he made the sign of the cross. Biden has made the fight against racism one of the central goals of his presidency.
In his address, the 78-year-old criticized attacks on the right to vote, for which his Democrats blame Republicans in several states. The president spoke of a “truly unprecedented attack on our democracy” and announced that his deputy, Kamala Harris, would lead his administration’s efforts to protect the right to vote. Harris announced that all American voters must be able to vote.
White House vice spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre criticized a Republican bill in Texas in particular on Tuesday. She said the move was “part of a concerted attack on our democracy” based on the lies that led to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Jean-Pierre alluded to the storming of the Capitol by supporters of the then US President Donald Trump. To this day, Trump claims without any evidence that he was deprived of his victory by election fraud.