President Joe Biden condemned “white supremacy” as the “most dangerous terrorist threat” against the United States in a speech to Howard University’s graduating class. Howard University is a traditionally African-American university in Washington, D.C. Vice President Kamala Harris studied there.
“White supremacy … is the most dangerous terrorist threat in our homeland,” Biden stated. He added that he says this wherever he travels.
Biden portrayed the United States as a nation characterised by internal conflicts and urged his audience to “fight for the soul of the nation”.
“Fearless progress toward justice often means fierce resistance from the oldest and most sinister forces,” Biden said. “It’s because hate never goes away. … It just hides under the rocks. When it gets oxygen, it comes out of the rock again and that is why we also know this truth: Silence is complicity, we cannot be silent.”
Biden went on to tell the mostly black students that they represent America’s future, a future with the opportunity to put “the strength of our diversity at the centre of American life.”
In an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump, President Biden also said the road ahead is by no means easy.
“Let’s be clear: They are the ones who don’t see you. Who doesn’t want this future,” said Joe Biden. “They are the ones who demonise and pit people against each other. They are the ones who would do anything, no matter how desperate or immoral, to hold on to power”.
Biden was made an honorary doctorate at Howard University. Although part of the audience applauded his speech, not everyone did. Many black students criticised the Biden-Harris administration’s treatment of African Americans. A student cap said: “Biden and Harris don’t care about black people.”
“A black child was lynched yesterday!” This was on a sign that referred to the murder of 30-year-old Jordan Neely on a subway in New York. Another sign read: “Stand up, fight back, black people are under attack.”