On the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, President Biden took steps this week to reduce the racial wealth gap and economic divide in the U.S. While a great occasion and place to talk about economic development, Virginia Tech’s race and politics expert Brandy Faulkner says it was an important space to name the causes of the disparities that we continue to see.  

“The Greenwood community was destroyed because of racism, and Black communities are still being destroyed because of racism,” says Faulkner. “Symbolism aside, Biden unequivocally named white supremacy as a threat to our community survival.”   

President Biden outlined plans in his remarks to eradicate systemic racism and to help rebuild communities nationwide. Faulkner points to a couple of key components in his plan.  

“Biden is concerned about infrastructure and making sure neglected communities have better access to transportation and small business development opportunities. Another key component is better enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, especially in housing. It has been notoriously difficult to identify and end housing discrimination despite laws that forbid it,” says Faulkner.

Faulkner however questions if his plan and policies will go far enough to reduce the Black-White wealth gap.

“From what I've seen, Biden's plan will mostly benefit those who are already middle class and have at least some economic stability,” says Faulkner. “I'm concerned about his lack of attention to the poorer people in the community. Focusing on cross-racial economic disparities for the middle class is an easier route to take. Hopefully we'll see more plans to help those who are at the bottom.”

About Faulkner

Brandy Faulkner, a professor of Black Studies and an assistant professor of political science at Virginia Tech, can discuss race and politics. Her areas of specialization include constitutional and administrative law, race and public policy, and critical organization theory.


To secure an interview, please contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at sandrea@vt.edu or 703-399-9494.  

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