RICHMOND, VA — Vice President Joe Biden rolled out today his comprehensive plan to build back better and achieve racial equity across the American economy. The plan includes methods to leverage billions in new capital for small businesses that have been excluded for generations; make bold investments in homeownership and access to affordable housing for Black, Brown, and Native families; boost retirement security and financial wealth for these communities; promote diversity and accountability in leadership across all federal agencies; and so much more.
Vice President Biden’s plan addresses the many areas needed to achieve racial equity. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s racism, broken promises, and disastrous record continue to harm people of color in Virginia.
"The president’s dog whistles to racists, proliferation of structural inequity, and blatant lies have cost Black and Brown Virginians immensely during his administration.
This election is about more than returning to the status quo. It is about fixing harm and making tangible progress. Donald Trump has only divided America further, and fanned the flames of racism. Joe Biden will commit to investing in our communities and make racial justice a key component of his policy agenda,” said Delegate Lamont Bagby, representing Virginia’s 74th District in the House of Delegates and Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.
At rallies across the Commonwealth, Trump promised to help communities of color. In Fredericksburg, he said his goal was to “provide every African American child in our country with access to the ladder of American success” including “the credit they need to start a small business.” In Virginia Beach, he said “to the African American and Hispanic voters, I say, ‘what do you have to lose? Vote for Donald Trump. I will fix it, it can’t get worse.” Turns out it could get worse. And it did.
From his time in real estate to his presidency, we’ve seen Trump uphold racial inequities at every turn. We’ve narrowed the unending list to just the following 5 ways the Trump administration has failed Black and Brown people in Virginia:
- Charlottesville: After white supremacists came to Charlottesville to terrorize communities of color, and killed Heather Heyer, Donald Trump famously said “there were good people on both sides.” This is just one of the blatant examples of Donald Trump’s thinly veiled dog whistles to racists in America.
- Coronavirus: Trump’s botched COVID-19 response made the fallout worse, particularly in communities of color where the virus already had a disproportionate impact. Nationwide, Black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans. In Virginia, Black folks made up 25% of deaths despite only being 19% of the population, and his administration has undermined legislative efforts to combat these disparities. Due to Trump’s ineffective response to coronavirus, Black workers faced disproportionately high unemployment, Black-owned businesses were disproportionately left out of the Paycheck Protection Program, and profit-seeking banks unfettered by the Trump administration were more likely to deprioritize Black business owners.
- Racial Wealth Gap: Trump’s 2018 tax law disproportionately left out Black and Latino households. Black households on average received tax cuts less than a third the size that white households did. They received only 5% of the benefits from Trump’s tax law despite having lower median household income and making up about 19% of Virginian households. Trump also touted his “opportunity zones” as his great achievement in uplifting underserved communities, but those tax breaks went to wealthy investors, including the Trump family and its associates, without any guarantee the people living in these zones would benefit. The White House also promised to veto a minimum wage increase, and targeted labor protections intended to ensure workers of color are treated fairly in federal contracting and earning equal wages. To add one last injury, Trump’s budgets have called for steep cuts to, or the full elimination of, the Minority Business Development Agency.
- Housing Equity: The administration’s proposal to roll back “disparate impact” claims will make it harder to fight housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. He proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act that would make it easier for banks to discriminate against people of color. The administration failed to enforce laws against lending discrimination, despite promises to do so, and under Trump, HUD revoked an Obama-era rule aimed to fight racial bias in housing and allow the suburbs to diversify. His administration also repeatedly called for cuts to affordable housing programs which would disproportionately impact communities of color. In Virginia, the white homeownership rate sits at 72%, in contrast to 48% for Black Americans. HUD also called for both a 60% reduction in public housing funding, and an increase in the proportion of income assistance recipients were required to devote to rent, further decimating strapped budgets.
- Education: Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have repeatedly undermined efforts to reduce racial disparities in education. In higher education, Black students have nearly double the student loan default rate of white students. Trump’s budgets only made college less affordable, despite his promises to do otherwise, with its proposed elimination of subsidized federal student loans and cuts to programs that help students pay tuition, including Federal Work-Study. His administration also reinvigorated the predatory for-profit education industry and rolled back protections for students caught in their web. The administration rolled back Obama-era guidance on school discipline aimed at protecting Black students from being punished more severely than their classmates in school, falsely claiming it discouraged schools to remove “dangerous students” in response to Parkland. DeVos illegally delayed implementing regulations to identify racial disparities in special needs programs, and claimed to be unfamiliar with the affirmative action guidance her agency scrapped.