US President Joe Biden has asserted that white supremacy, all forms of hate fuelled by violence have no place in America, amidst a spurt in hate-related incidents across the country, including those against the Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.
“Regardless of our backgrounds, our beliefs, we have to stand united against hate-fuelled violence, which you know than anyone, that forever an attack on one group of us is literally an attack on all of us,” Biden said in his address to the “United We Stand” summit organised by the White House on Thursday.
Addressing the participants who had gathered from across the country in the East Room of the White House, Biden said he decided to run for president after such incidents
“I had no intention of running. I give you my word. I was teaching and I thought that was the best thing for me to do, as Chris knows, my colleague from Delaware. But Charlottesville changed everything because I believed our story is to unite as people of one nation and one America,” he said.
“When those folks came out of those — that field carrying torches, the United States of America, carrying torches, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile that was chanted in Germany in the early ’30s, accompanied by white supremacists holding Nazi flags, and I thought to myself, my God, this is the United States of America, said how could that happen?” said the president.
U.S. President Joe Biden called on Americans to combat racism and extremism during a summit at the White House focused on combating hate-fueled violence https://t.co/soZGby3aoh pic.twitter.com/ErI2GBeAsQ
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 15, 2022
In 2020, hate crimes in the US were the highest in more than a decade, and the Justice Department has pledged to increase efforts to counter it.
The idea of America, he observed, guarantees everyone, everyone is treated with dignity and equality, an idea that ensures an inclusive, multiracial democracy, an idea that we give no safe harbour, none, to hate.
“While we’ve never, as I said, fully lived up to the idea, we’ve never walked away from it before. Look, on the — Kamala (Harris) and I travelled to Atlanta to grieve with Asian-American residents, the violence against the community grew during the pandemic, too many people fearful just walking the streets of America,” he said.
Noting that the summit is being joined by presidents of historic black colleges and universities, who should be able to focus on providing the best experience possible for their students, he said instead, they’re having to worry about more bomb threats against their institutions. Too often Native Americans, disabled Americans face harassment, discrimination, and violence and victimisation.
“Unfortunately, such hate-fuelled violence and threats are not new to America. There is a through the line of hate, from massacres of indigenous people to the original sin of slavery, the terror of the Klan, anti-immigration violence against the Irish, Italians, Chinese, Mexicans, so many of those laced through our history,” he said.
“There’s a through the line of violence against religious groups, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-Mormon, anti-Muslim, anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh. Look, folks, that line of hate never fully goes away. It only hides,” Biden said.
Hate, he observed, can be defeated. “It only hides. When you give it any oxygen, it comes out from under the rocks. And the last few years it’s been given much too much oxygen in our politics, in our media, and on the Internet, too much hate all for power and profit,” he said.
Joe Biden: “In the last few years, [hate] has been given much too much oxygen in politics, in our media, and on the internet” pic.twitter.com/IETDquSkdr
— Media Research Center (@theMRC) September 15, 2022
“You need to say clearly and forcefully white supremacy, all forms of hate fuelled by violence, have no place in America. A barrier called out is complicity, my dad would say. If your silence is complicity, we can’t remain silent,” he said.
Biden said his administration will use every federal resource available to help communities counter hate-fuelled violence, build resilience, and foster greater national unity.
For example, training on identifying, reporting and combating hate-fuelled violence from local law enforcement agencies, workplaces and houses of worship. Partnerships with schools that help them address bullying and harassment. “And I’m calling for a new era of national service to organizations like AmeriCorps, to foster stronger communities and bridge divides in our society,” he said.
Biden called on Congress to do its part, and raise the living allowance for national service positions to include USD15 an hour. This would make national service an accessible pathway to success for more Americans of all backgrounds. “Pass my budget and increase funding to protect nonprofits and houses of worship from hate-fuelled violence,” he said.
“Hold social media platforms accountable for spreading hate and fuelling violence. I’m calling on congress to get rid of special immunity for social media companies and impose much stronger transparency for crime on all of them,” said the president.
Recently, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said that she has been receiving abusive and hate messages over the phone from a male caller who even asked her to go back to India.
Jayapal, 55, is the first-ever Indian-American Congresswoman who represents Seattle in the US House of Representatives.
Typically, political figures don’t show their vulnerability. I chose to do so here because we cannot accept violence as our new norm. We also cannot accept the racism and sexism that underlies and propels so much of this violence, Jayapal, from the Democratic Party, said in a tweet.
There have been hate-related incidents against the Indian-American community also in the US.
On September 1, an Indian-American man has been racially abused by a compatriot in California who hurled racist slurs that he is a “dirty Hindu” and a “disgusting dog”, days after another hate crime was reported against four women from the community in Texas.
Krishnan Jayaraman was verbally attacked by 37-year-old Singh Tejinder in the Taco Bell at Grimmer Boulevard in Fremont, California on August 21, NBC News reported.
On August 26, four Indian-American women were racially abused and smacked by a Mexican-American woman in Texas who hurled racist slurs at them that they are “ruining” America and should “go back to India”.
The incident took place in a parking lot in Dallas, Texas. The woman, identified as Esmeralda Upton, has been arrested.