In an address to Howard University graduates, President Joe Biden warned, “The most dangerous threat to our homeland is white supremacy.”
“And I’m not saying that because I’m on black HBCU,” he said from Capitol One Arena in Washington, DC, adding, “I say it wherever I go.”
In his address, Biden painted a sobering picture of the national political landscape, addressing the threats to American democracy, threats to suppress black history, and threats of violence — including the recent bombings of HBCUs, historically black colleges and universities.
“I thought when I graduated that we could conquer the hate,” Biden said. (He graduated from Syracuse with a law degree in 1968.) “But it never goes away. It just hides under the rocks.”
He added: “And if he’s given oxygen, he’ll come out from under that rock. That is why we also know this truth: silence is complicity.”
Biden then reiterated a phrase he’d uttered many times in previous speeches, that America is “the only country built on an idea,” though “we’ve never fully lived up to that idea.”
He urged graduates to “fight for the soul of our nation” – a key theme of his last presidential campaign and his current.
“We know that American history has not always been a fairy tale. From the start, it’s been a constant back-and-forth for more than 240 years between the best of us, the American idea that we are all created equal, and the worst of us, the harsh reality that racism has long since torn us apart ‘ Biden said.
“It’s a struggle that’s never really over, but on our best days, enough of us have the courage and heart to stand up for the best in ourselves, to choose love over hate, unity over discord, progress over retreat, to fight against it to stand up.” the poison of white supremacy.”
This isn’t the first time Biden has called white supremacy by its name; He has done so on several other occasions, including the racist mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, almost to the day. The man who shot 10 people in the store received a life sentence in February.
In recent years, the FBI and other federal officials have repeatedly warned of the threat posed by racist right-wing extremists in the United States.
According to the school, Biden is the seventh incumbent president to deliver the keynote address at Howard’s inauguration ceremony.
Vice President Kamala Harris is a graduate student; Biden received an honorary degree from the Howard Doctor of Letters.