What youth are saying about the inauguration
CRISTINA JOHN | 1/28/2021, midnight
President Joe Biden is now the 46th president of the United States, ending a riotous four-year administration under Donald Trump. On Jan. 20, America enjoyed a moment of celebration for their country, momentarily coming back from the attack that happened on the Capitol two weeks ago, the tumultuous year America suffered from with the virus taking away 400,000 Americans, and many individuals out of jobs. This event marked the first time in what would seem like a long time where there was a sense of conviction.
“We come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power, as we have for more than two centuries,” President Joe Biden said as he addressed America in his inaugural speech.
America filled with hope as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris officially took their positions in front of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. There was a sense of relief and conflicted emotions from the Black youth who have been more active around the social injustices that took place last year regarding the Black Lives Matter protests. The need for a new president was paramount to their cause, but there was a sense of unsurety and skepticism in the two candidates left in this past election: Donald Trump and President Biden. Now, Biden is the president of the United States, and a lack of investment in the election and inauguration persisted because of interest and uneasiness.
“I didn’t care too much for [the inauguration] because I wasn’t too invested on who the two successors would be,” Asar John, a junior at York College, says in a phone interview when speaking about President Biden and Vice President Harris.
While being able to understand the political stances of those that are running for office is important, some individuals were also worried about the candidates’ ages.
“From the beginning of Biden’s campaign, I’ve felt uneasy about his political stances, political tenure and frankly his age,” E.A, a 22-year-old individual, stated when asked about how she felt as she watched the inauguration.
She believes that there should be an age limit within all political offices.
However, John looks to President Biden to keep the promises he mentioned in his inaugural speech, as many other people are hoping for.
“I really want to make sure that the things he mentioned and says he’s going to do in his speech are actually carried out, so we do have a better United States,” John says.
President Joe Biden’s uplifting speech was filled with unity, trust and peace, something that America has been deprived of under the administration that came before. As President Biden continued with his speech, he mentioned one thing that instilled a feeling of promise in Black Americans.
“Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice, some 400 years in the making, moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer,” President Biden stated.
E.A isn’t convinced regarding President Joe Biden’s inaugural speech. He mentioned that he is going to fight for “all Americans” and that America has never failed when we act together, but where does that leave Black Americans? E.A has found President Biden’s statements to be problematic because, to her, they were generalizations that are not realistic.
“His statements do not account for the specific reasons why America is, was, and will continue to be a divided country,” she says. “The statements do not account for growing economic, social, and political issues that cannot be fixed under ‘unity’ nor do they acknowledge that there are many Americans who continue to believe he is illegitimate.”
In his first few days in office, President Biden has signed many executive orders to restore what the Trump administration had overturned. He signed the executive order to revoke the Keystone Pipeline, halted the continuation of the border wall, but some of these actions are not enough for some individuals.
“There was really not enough talk or discussion about police reform, defunding the police, bringing racial justice to communities of color or anything that has to do with the racial aspect with Black people, although it was Black people that helped [President Joe Biden] secure the votes in swing states like Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania,” John says.
John didn’t hear a lot of discussion about what President Biden is going to do specifically for the Black community, which creates a sense of doubt for him because he remembers President Biden stating that Black Americans got him the vote.
The racial injustices that Black Americans endured for a long time and suffered from to a great amount last year left many families and citizens heartbroken. People took to the streets to protest the Black lives that were lost and the justice that some of the fallen did not properly receive. Some of these protests ended with Black people injured, in jail, and with a degrading outlook on what other races saw Black Americans as.
As the phone interview progressed with college junior Asar John, there was a sense of calm and relief, but underneath it all, there was also skepticism in terms of race. The transition of power has been peaceful, but how long will that last?
The protest that happened Jan. 6 in front of the Capitol looked very different from some of the Black Lives Matter protests that were portrayed on social media and television last year. The protestors that led an uproar and stormed into the building and vandalized property were treated with little force, and there were no deaths caused by the polices’ guns.
John applauded the fact that the inauguration was filled with the amount of security they had and that the government were taking white supremacy seriously. However, it saddened him that it took this long for the government to take action.
“They only had this amount of protection because these were big, rich, important white people at risk. But it was also good to know that [at the inauguration] they had all this security to make sure that the events of Jan. 6 didn’t occur again,” John says.
But we now have our first female Black vice president in office. While many Americans are celebrating the chance to see someone that looks like them standing in a position of power, some are mostly hoping that there are major changes.”
E.A, a “cynic,” as she calls herself, understands that there is a need to see Black Americans represented in such a way, but it takes more than just one Black woman to change the state of the country socially and politically.
“I don’t subscribe to political representation in regards to identity, but I understand how influential it can be for young Black and South Asian girls to see Kamala Harris hold the office of vice president,” E.A says. “Harris will have to operate within the confines of the current socio-political and economic strongholds specifically under Biden’s leadership. Due to these limitations, I don’t believe systemic changes will originate from her office. [However], I would love to be proven wrong.”