Not the time for healing

Opinion writer Ozioma Mgbahurike argues Biden’s message of healing is wishful thinking if we don’t face the cold hard truths of racism in this country.

The election is over. Our nation has elected Joseph R. Biden as the 46th president of the United States of America. President-elect Biden and a few media outlets began signaling that Biden's role as president will be that of the uniter and healer our country needs. As great as that sounds, we need to realize that our country's wounds need to heal from years of unacknowledged racism fueled by President Donald Trump. There must be confession and repair for America to heal completely.

Biden's win was a sigh of relief because it shows our country believes an incumbent president running on white supremacy should be a one-term president. However, I am still upset and disappointed that nearly half of our nation thought Trump deserves a second term in the White House. Like many Americans, I would love to believe Biden will be this great uniter that reaches to the other side and finds common ground. However, this country isn't remotely close to being in a state of healing. After four years of blatant corruption and bigotry, over 70 million Americans thought Trump’s administration deserved a second term. Biden and millions of Americans will have to face the hard truth that this "other side" was willing to elect someone who brought white supremacy back into the White House. We can't heal something if we can’t state what the issue is in the first place. America will have to be clear that the problem that's dividing us is racism.

One of the main issues I have with this idea of healing is that I believe it isn't for everyone. Tricia Rose, an American sociologist, put it beautifully in her podcast, "The Tight Rope," that the ones asking for healing right now are "asking for the peace of a liberal, peaceful white supremacy on the backs of Black suffering." After the moral reckoning over racial disparities that happened this summer, Biden must stop America's long history of putting white comfort before the safety of those in marginalized communities. Asking for healing now creates the false equivalency that the problem arises from the disruption of both white supremacy and the struggle for racial equity. This call for healing assumes there will be peace once we equally silence both sides. The equivalency fuels the nostalgia to go back to a time when the struggle for racial justice wasn't always at the forefront of every debate.

America's need for those nostalgic memories is hazardous because it puts the people fighting for justice on an equal wavelength with people resurrecting the likeness of Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. All for what? To pretend like everything was fine before Trump came into office and America was some utopia? To ask for healing at this moment is to ask for quietness from those who are suffering the most so the rest of America can go back into their mode of denial.

Biden's presidency, at minimum, has to set an agenda that addresses past and present racism. It's the least he could do to the people who saved him in the primaries and the general election. This agenda should end the myth that racial equality for all somehow disrupts white people's economic mobility. Andre M. Perry, a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, acknowledged that "If Biden is to heal a divided country truly, he should not coddle white racial anxieties rooted in a perceived loss of status and privilege." We shouldn’t cast the ones who lost the most under the Trump Administration aside for peace and calmness. Biden must stop the centering of white rage built on some nonsense idea of supremacy.

Biden has to be a president to all Americans, which means dismantling any institution that promotes white supremacy. Racism and bigotry aren't issues you reach across to the side to debate. Biden has to destroy it in all its forms. The Trump Administration was the mirror America needed to break its fantasy of exceptionalism. America revealed itself again in this election.

The talk of healing is understandable due to the amount of divisiveness in this country right now. However, we should be upfront about what the recent calls for unity are. These are calls for collective amnesia of the past four years from all Americans in exchange for calmness. Those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it. I don't have to tell you about America's pattern of rewriting its most shameful chapters of history. America must not forget how close we came to becoming a complete fascist state. If we can't face the hard truths about this country, any hope for reconciliation and healing is just wishful thinking.

Ozioma Mgbahurike is an electrical engineering sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

(8) comments

ltassinary

Great piece. I would only add that Biden and Harris are between the proverbial rock and hard place. 70 million people voted for an unrepentant narcissist whose sole motivation is to maintain power, who appears to thrive on sowing division. We need to forgive but never forget if we are to not only heal but rebuild our democracy. I can't help but recall Pozner's 1938 chronicle "The Disunited States." Ironically, it somehow gives me hope.

Austin Aggie

It seems that the first thing liberals want to do is hurl unsubstantiated insults. Itassinary clearly demonstrates immaturity in the comment posted. However, he/she is not alone as this seems to be a common young liberal trait.

Rich Hansen '69

A terrible piece of propaganda. Calling Trump a racist is making a statement without any factual basis. After almost 4 years in office take a look at the economy, black unemployment numbers, foreign policy accomplishments and many other metrics that demonstrate a successful administration. And, he accomplished this while dealing with the false accusations of Russian collusion and then there was the infamous Ukrainian phone call. My, my, my. I hope that our country does not sink into socialism and communism as it seems many on the left would like. Look at the history of countries that have lived that system and answer the question, do I want to live that way.

jmhartzer

Trump took it upon himself to call for 5 teens of color to receive the death penalty, even after then had been found innocent. He claimed a judge was biased because "he's a Mexican." The Justice Department sued his company ― twice ― for not renting to black people. He questioned, without evidence, whether President Obama was born in the United States. He uses dog whistles to make suburban whites fear of their neighborhoods diversifying. There is lots of evidence he is a racist. The fantastic economy he inherited from the Obama administration continued to perform well under him, expect his policies through this pandemic have destroyed all progress made for minorities.

The Muller investigation led to 34 indictments, so there was evidence of wrongdoing. I'd recommend you actually read the report yourself.

If you think what even the progressives are suggesting is anything close to socialism or communism (which are starkly different things), then you either don't know what those systems actually entail, or you are ignorant of the actual policies advocated by the Democrats. What the left continues to suggest are policies that have shown to be both economically and socially productive in many different countries in Europe. It would be really nice if we could live more like the Scandanavian countries that progressives are using as their models.

Wilburn Sprayberry

There was overwhelming evidence that the "5 teens of color" did brutally assault & rape Trisha Meili in New York City's Central Park in 1989. They were "exonerated" by what is obviously a fake confession from an incarcerated felon who has since (conveniently) died. The death penalty was until fairly recently a frequent penalty for rape (especially one so incredibly vicious as this, which left Trisha Meili with a caved in skull & severe brain damage), so there's nothing racist or even unusual in Trump calling for the death penalty - lots of other outraged people were calling for it, too.

Trump may very well have been right about the judge, so it's not racism.

That Trump did not want to rent to people who are statistically less likely to pay rent on time and keep up the property is not racism - it's good business, Justice Department lawsuits notwithstanding.

Nothing Trump said about suburban neighborhoods is racist; it IS factually true, however.

"There is lots of evidence he [Trump] is racist." Like the Platinum II plan, the biggest pro-black plan since the 13th Amendment?

Trump did inherit a good economy from Obama, which Trump then made better. The economic problems since COVID are pretty much beyond the power of any politician or leader - Democrat or Republican - to quickly solve. But if you want to incorrectly blame Trump, like Democrats blamed Hoover for the Great Depression, go ahead.

The Mueller investigation was part of an attempted coup d'etat, with the cooperation of leftist, SJW prosecutors & judges, which failed.

The birther issue is silly, not racist. You want to call it racism, go ahead - that doesn't make it so.

You cite Scandinavian countries as the models for American progressives. You either don't know what those systems entail, or you are ignorant of the actual social & economic policies of Scandinavia, which invented the term, "cradle to grave socialism."

Kerrden

This is the biggest bunch of croc I have heard yet. Where is the Trump corruption? You want corruption, look at Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Hunter Biden and the Biden family. Jesse Jackson, Al,Sharpton, and other black leaders never thought Trump was a racist before he was president, in fact they were friends. Only when he became a REPUBLICAN President did the racial insults start. The left wants to heal now, but they spent 4 years trying to run a coup on Trump to remove him from office. There is nothing a Democrat wouldn’t do to see Trump out of the White House, illegal or not. To a Democrat, the ends justify the means. And if you are waiting for some confession and contrition from conservatives you will be severely disappointed. You seem to overlook Biden’s racist years of legislation and comments.

jmhartzer

To name some examples, Trump never divested from his own businesses and is profiting off of the presidency by the record setting number of golf visits he has taken to his own courses. Not to mention that foreign officials have spent large sums of money at his properties while has been president. More than 164 former lobbyists work in the Trump administration, a clear example of the swamp he had claimed to want to drain. Moreover, the number of Trump's family that works in the White House is clearly nepotism and has no place in a Democracy.

You cite Hillary Clinton, but fail to recognize that she has been subject to more politically motivated investigations than almost any other politician. Despite all of this, she has sat through every probe and hearing and has never been found to been in the wrong, let alone convicted of anything. This is much more than the top Trump campaign can say, which has had 7 arrests in the past four years.

If Trump hadn't tried to illegally coerce a foreign government into investigating the family of a political rival, he would not have been impeached. It was not a coup. It was a legal process to punish the actions that were not befitting of a president.

Biden has a troubled past, but I am happy to know that he has the capacity to change. He has renounced his past comments, and is currently trying to fix their effects. This is much more than Trump could say.

Wilburn Sprayberry

Your allegations of Trump corruption are either incorrect or simplifications of ambiguous situations.

"...profiting off of the presidency by the record setting number of golf visits he has taken to his own course." - This doesn't even make sense. Foreign officials spending money on his properties is not corruption. Lots of former lobbyists work in every administration - Democratic & Republican - bc that's the system now, & it's system corruption, not Trump. President Kennedy (beloved by liberals) appointed his brother as Attorney General. Nepotism is easy to charge, but unless you are a simple-minded, all is black & white kind of person, hard to prove as corruption if you don't have solid evidence beyond the ipso-facto.

The difference between Hillary escaping arrest and the arrests of Trump campaign figures is the result of the left-wing politicization of the justice system, where left-wing prosecutors & judges do the bidding of the Establishment - Deep State (a very close friend of Hillary & her husband). The Republicans tried to do the same thing to Hillary as the Democrats did to Trump, but they didn't have the FBI on their side, & Republican appointees have shown more objectivity in these cases than Democrat appointees. Trump - definitely an outsider & no friend to the Deep State - was a much more vulnerable target.

Trump was found not guilty of trying to "illegally" coerce a foreign government by the United States Senate.

About the only things Biden ever got right were his opposition to busing, & his efforts to get "super-predators" (Hillary's phrase) off the streets. Trump's criticism of Biden on these points is ridiculous, cheap & stupid politics, but Biden's "capacity to change" is equally so.

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