• Donald V. Watkins

Biden Failing Black America

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on June 10, 2021


There is no doubt that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential race because he was the beneficiary of an extremely large turnout of the African American vote in swing states like Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Biden assumed office on January 20, 2021. His first 100 days in office and honeymoon with Congress are now over.


To date, Biden has failed black America. Here is my list of the Biden administration's top ten failures to black America:


1. Biden has failed to track down and root out known white racists who were part of the Trump administration's Justice Department. These racists have burrowed their way into the Department as career prosecutors. They continue to wage a modern-day version of the FBI's COINTELPRO counterintelligence program that is designed to persecute and prosecute innocent African American social activists and political dissidents of color. In Birmingham, Alabama, for example, Biden's Justice Department continues to employ First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples (2017 to 2021) as a federal prosecutor, despite Peeples' (and his family's) well-documented history of hostility towards African Americans dating all the way back to his childhood days.


2. Biden's Justice Department has failed to investigate and/or prosecute the four-star general Kevin P. Byrnes (ret.) for murdering Army Private LaVena Johnson in 2005 on a U.S. military base in Balad, Iraq. This is true even though General Byrnes, who resides and works in Huntsville, Alabama, was prepared to surrender to federal law enforcement authorities in Birmingham in 2016, rather than face the possibility of a publicly announced citizens' arrest in Huntsville, Alabama (which is permitted under Alabama law). Even though Private Johnson's murder is the earliest known and highest profiled "Black Lives Matter" case, the Pentagon's "Top Secret" file on Private Johnson's murder remains classified 16 years after her death and can only be released to the public with the personal approval of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Biden has failed to order the declassification of Private Johnson's murder file. Private Johnson was a 19-year-old black soldier who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gen. Byrnes, who is white, was one of her commanding officers.


3. Biden has failed to take action to remove J. Edgar Hoover's name from the FBI Building in Washington. Hoover, the longest-serving FBI Director (1924 to 1972), was a notorious white racist. He was also the architect of the FBI's centralized COINTELPRO program from 1956 to 1971, which was aimed at discrediting and destroying civil rights activists and political dissidents. Hoover personally oversaw the FBI's failed effort to force Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., into committing suicide in 1963. This clandestine FBI effort was unsuccessful. Yet, Hoover is honored in Washington today with his name on the FBI's national headquarters building.


4. While Biden's Justice Department is investigating state and local police departments in Louisiana, Milwaukee, and Louisville regarding their policing practices, he has completely ignored the ongoing brutality and abuse of inmates in federal custody. These inmates are disproportionately African American, Hispanic, Native American, and Asian. One of the worst incidents of inmate abuse occurred at the federal correctional institution at Manchester, Kentucky in 2020 when inmate James Summers (Reg. No. 51863-074) was stripped naked, and strapped down while prison guards sprayed his genitals with pepper-spray to produce excruciating pain and agony.


5. The Biden administration continues to house federal inmates who are subject to Series 100 disciplinary action in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) "Special Housing Units" (SHU). These SHU are small cells that were originally designed for single-inmate occupancy, but now house two inmates who are locked down 23 hours per day for up to 13 months. This form of imprisonment is inhumane under any reasonable and objective humanitarian standard. Sadly, federal (and state) penal "slavery" is expressly authorized in the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This is one of the primary reasons why countries like Russia and China ignore U.S. Presidents when they chastise them for the inhumane treatment of their prisoners. The United States' hypocrisy in the treatment of federal prisoners is glaring and embarrassing. To make matters worse, the Biden administration continues the employment of Trump-appointed BOP Director Michael Carvajal, whose greatest attributes as the top BOP official are his ability to (a) hoodwink and mislead Congress about inhumane conditions inside many of America's 122 federal prisons and (b) protect the sole-source vendor contracts of the Republican Party-leaning North Carolina-based Bob Barker company. Individuals affiliated with the Bob Barker Company funnel money derived from the company's plethora of prison contracts to GOP candidates for the Presidency and Congress.


6. The Biden administration has failed to take decisive action to dismantle unconstitutional "at-large" voting schemes that result in all-white appellate courts (e.g., Alabama Supreme Court, Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, etc.) in southern states where 26.8% or more of the population is African American. Far more black people utilize the appellate court systems in these southern states than the relatively small number of unarmed blacks who are wrongfully killed by police officers in those states. Yet, the Biden administration has failed to protect and vindicate the fundamental voting right of African Americans in southern states to have a fair chance to elect candidates of their choice to these all-white courts.


7. The Biden administration has failed to take the necessary executive action to ensure that African American contractors receive their fair share of the trillions of dollars in non-bid federal contracts issued by the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, Justice, Energy, Commerce, Transportation, and Health and Human Services. This executive action requires no Congressional approval, but it does require strong executive leadership.


8. The Biden administration has failed to include substantial urban renewal and development for communities of color in its $2 trillion infrastructure proposal. This failure of leadership threatens to trap low-income urban blacks in a hopeless cycle of dilapidated and substandard infrastructure for many decades to come.


9. The Biden administration has failed to allocate federal grant money to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) on an equitable basis with the federal government's traditional grants of federal funds to hundreds of historically white colleges and universities. HBCUs have always been underfunded by federal and state grant-awarding agencies.


10. The Biden administration has failed to award ambassadorships and executive foreign service positions to black presidential appointees beyond select countries in the Caribbean and Africa where the indigenous populations are peoples of color. Prestigious ambassadorships and executive foreign service positions for fully developed countries where the indigenous populations are predominantly white and/or Asian appear to be reserved for white diplomats and foreign service executives.


It is too early to tell whether the President Biden administration has the courage or political will to correct these early failures of leadership. It appears that Biden's commitments to the black community are little more than lip-service and token gestures for public relations purposes. Biden can and should do much more for African Americans, who constitute his most loyal base of voters.


With the possible exception of renaming the FBI headquarters in Washington, none of the items on this list of executive failures requires Congressional approval. All of them are doable and would assure the nation's African American community that Biden is very grateful for their political support.



PHOTO: President Biden meeting with members of George Floyd's family.

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