US President Joe Biden has said he does not think the American people are racist, but maintained the country has a history of racism that must be confronted.
Biden pointed in particular to Black Americans, who he said, have been “left in a position where they are so far behind the eight ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity.”
“I don’t think America is racist, but I think the overhang from all of the Jim Crow, and before that slavery, has had a cost, and we have to deal with it,” he said during an interview with NBC News on Thursday.
Jim Crow refers to a series of laws enacted after the abolition of slavery intended to maintain racial segregation.
The comments come after congressman Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the House of Representatives, maintained the US is not a racist country in a rebuttal to the president’s first address to a joint session of Congress.
Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman to hold the office, said that while she does not think America is a racist nation the nation does “have to speak truth about the history of racism in our country and its existence today.”
“I applaud the President for always having the ability and the courage, frankly, to speak the truth about it,” Harris said during a Thursday morning interview.
Biden during his congressional address maintained he would not turn a blind eye to what he said US intelligence agencies have determined to be the pre-eminent threat to the homeland: white supremacist terrorism, which former President Donald Trump repeatedly downplayed.
“We’re not going to ignore that either,” Biden said.