President Biden likened the threat of modern white supremacists to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, during a speech commemorating the massacre on Tuesday.
During the massacre, mobs of white residents of Tulsa attacked black residents of the city’s Greenwood district, killing 39, injuring hundreds, and leaving thousands homeless. Biden referred to the massacre as “an act of hate and domestic terrorism.”
“I thought after you guys pushed through the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, I thought we had made tremendous progress and I was so proud to be just a little part of it,” Biden said to Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was sitting in the audience. “But what I didn’t realize is that hate is never defeated, it only hides. It hides. And given a little bit of oxygen by its readers it comes out from under the rock as if it never went away.”
Biden added that “according to the [U.S.] intelligence community, terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today. Not ISIS, not al-Qaeda: white supremacists.”
The president touted a number of initiatives intended to combat racism and its effects, including the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which aims to make data on hate crimes more accessible to the public and to make reporting such crimes easier. Biden also announced a plan to shrink the black-white wealth gap by directing $100 billion to “disadvantaged businesses.”