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.