PResident Biden has recently engaged to both closing the wealth gap between black and white Americans, and tackling the student debt crisis. While he has been applauded by some for these steps, in particular his plan to forgive $ 10,000 in student loans, there are many reasons why his actions are woefully inappropriate. Biden owes us much more than the biased proposals he has submitted.
According to the White House Initiative on Educational excellence for African Americans, Black college graduates have an average of $ 52,726 in student debt, compared to $ 28,006 for white students. Forgiveness of a $ 10,000 student loan would remove one-third of the burden for the average white borrower, while doing relatively little for the average black borrower, and this is important because white borrowers already have an easier time paying their loans. Anything other than total forgiveness will only widen existing disparities. White graduates, on average, owe 10% less than the amount they initially borrowed, black graduates, on the other hand, owe 6% more than they initially borrowed, and black borrowers are more likely to you will never be able to pay your loans at any time in their lives.
Offering student debt abolition for black students is the right thing to do, both morally and politically. Politically, because Biden owes his victory to black voters and should offer them something concrete in exchange for their loyalty. And morally, because he has personally contributed to many of the inequalities that affect African Americans today.
While Biden is not the only main architect of American racism, he has contributed to institutional racism since his early days as a senator from Delaware obsessed with bipartisanship. He opposed the desegregation of schools through federally mandated transportation programs that would get black students to attend better-funded white schools. He argued that there were other ways to desegregate, particularly through housing, but opponents noted that he could simply support both paths. He also argued that it should be up to local municipalities to make the decision, using the same local autonomy argument that conservatives used to oppose most desegregation plans. The data would later show that bus transportation was one of the most effective means of desegregating schools, until it was reduced in the 1980s and 1990s. Schools immediately began to segregate and have remained segregated since.
Biden has also proudly defended his role in creating the 1994 Crime Act, and has led the Democratic Party further into a tough stance on crime. Referring to this victory Biden said: “The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now asking for 60 new death sentences. That’s what’s in this bill. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party has 70 reinforced penalties … The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 100,000 police officers. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 125,000 new state prison cells. “
Although the bill itself did not meet its goal of radically increasing the number of Americans incarcerated, it did help a few state governments Do so by providing incentives to follow the bill and funds to build the jails necessary to do so. Biden already had a history of tough crime policies that disproportionately impacted African Americans. In 1984 he worked with conservative senator Strom Thormund, who once ran for president on a pro-segregation platform, to pass the Comprehensive control law, which expanded the powers of the police to legally rob those they suspected of selling drugs, sometimes keeping thousands of dollars in cash and property despite not finding any drugs.
Biden also co-sponsored the bill that treated crack as 100 times worse than cocaine and created new mandatory minimum sentences on drug charges, clearly targeting the image of the poor black crack user who seemed more threatening than the mirage of the docile, white, medium. -Class cocaine user. Both Republicans and Democrats waged their personal war on drugs, leading to the provision of the Higher Education Act of 1998 that permanently barred many students with past drug convictions from receiving financial help. While the majority of drug users are white, blacks account for 55% of all drug convictions.
Biden’s bipartisanship also helped birth the era of welfare reform, a euphemism to target black welfare recipients and promote tough new guidelines. In 1988, he wrote a column advocating stricter restrictions on welfare, paraphrasing the whistles of conservative racist dogs, he said: “We are very familiar with the stories of wellness moms who drive luxury cars and lead lifestyles that reflect the rich and famous. Whether they are exaggerated or not, these stories underlie a broad societal concern that the welfare system has collapsed – that it just hands out welfare checks and does nothing to help the poor find productive jobs. “
In 1996 he got his wish with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which brought in a new set of wellness regulations, empowered states to craft their own racist guidelines, and limited federal spending on wellness. While this program was deemed a success for forcing more single mothers to enter the workforce, those women often earned no more money than they had lost in benefits. While the number of people using welfare plummeted, studies have found that between 42% and 74% of those people remained in poverty after doing so. And there is evidence that increase in deep poverty, those living on less than $ 2 per person per day, by 153% between 1996 and 2011. In the first decade of welfare reform, the deep poverty rate for black children increased by 4.9%, while fall in love with white boys by about 2%. Today, 10.8% of African Americans live in deep poverty, compared to 4.1% of white Americans.
Whether Biden intended it or not, these laws, and those for which he helped set the precedent, have disproportionately impacted blacks, and were not the last of his policies to do so. In 2005, he backed a bill that removed bankruptcy protections for millions of students and exacerbated the already growing student bubble, essentially choosing to protect creditors and lenders over students. While black students are less likely to obtain private student loans, they are four times more likely to fight on refund of those loans. It is worth mentioning that Joe Biden has received almost $ 2 million in campaign contributions of the credit industry since his time in the Senate.
Despite all this, blacks have come forward to support Biden every inch of his path to the presidency. Biden’s campaign nearly collapsed after his initial poor performance in the primaries, only to be resurrected by black southerners who scored points for him in South Carolina and carried him through to Super Tuesday. In the general elections he was saved again by the blacks. In crucial states like Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania, blacks made up a disproportionate amount of the Democratic base that voted for Biden, and black activists led voter campaigns and political mobilizations that not only ensured their victory, but protected the results. later. Black women, in particular, played a monumental role in his victory, with 91% of black women voting for Biden, retaining his role as the most consistent base of the Democratic Party. Black women also led organizations, such as the New Georgia Project spearheaded by Stacy Abrams and the Black Voters Matter Fund co-founded by LaTosha Brown, responsible for voter turnout in crucial states. Black women also have the largest student loan debt of any racial or ethnic group in the United States.
Abolishing student debt would not solve the problems of systemic racism in the United States, but it would at least begin to address some of the damage that Joe Biden has caused in his life. According to the liberal thinktank of the Roosevelt Institute, white households with young adults have 12 times the average wealth of similar black households – the abolition of debt would reduce the difference to five times the amount of wealth. A drop in the bucket in the grand plan, but a drop that could fundamentally alter the lives of blacks across the country.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism