Years ago, my grandfather, a staunch conservative Democrat, told me that he hated to hear U.S. Presidents say “my fellow Americans” because he felt they were not talking about him based on his experiences growing up ostracized in the Jim Crow South.
I never understood what he felt until Joe Biden’s dark and divisive attack on all unvaccinated Americans. So, let’s examine who he was lecturing when he decreed his latest round of draconian mandates. Mr. Biden devoted an entire speech to lecture and demonize minorities about COVID-19.
Unvaccinated Americans are disproportionately: Black, Hispanic, Independent, those without college degrees, the young, rural Americans, and lower-income workers. Only 43% of Black Americans and 48% of Hispanic Americans have taken the vaccine, compared with 52% of White Americans.
Mr. Biden talked with such contempt about minorities — who make up a disproportionate amount of unvaccinated Americans — when he said, “the vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing. Nearly three-quarters of the eligible have gotten at least one shot, but one quarter has not gotten any. That’s nearly 80 million Americans not vaccinated. And in a country as large as ours, that’s 25 percent minority. That 25 percent can cause a lot of damage — and they are.”
By forcing all unvaccinated federal workers and contractors to take the vaccine to remain employed, Mr. Biden is forcing them to make an unfair choice: get the shot or get fired. According to the most recent government data, more than 364,000 civilian federal workers are Black. That represents nearly one in five federal workers.
The scope of forced vaccinations does not stop at federal employees. Mr. Biden declared that almost all private employers are now subject to a new Department of Labor rule requiring every one of their workers to get the vaccine, or they will have to require weekly mandatory testing at the expense of the employee or employer.
For years there was a push to “ban the box” from preventing employers from discriminating against applicants who checked that they were convicted of a past felony, a practice that disproportionately hurt minority workers. For years there was a successful push to ban discriminatory housing practices that prevented minorities from owning homes. For years there was a push to end measures that would force Black Americans from passing a ridiculous — and in many instances unpassable —test to vote.
Mr. Biden‘s new rule is deliberate and targeted discrimination, a clear barrier to entry for new employment, and a deterrent to return to work.
Despite polls showing that the majority of Black Americans support election integrity efforts like showing an ID to protect their vote, Joe Biden and the Democrats have been against it, calling it racist. Now, Mr. Biden is pressuring large entertainment, concert, and sporting venues to use a vaccine passport or test people for COVID-19 to enter.
Allowing people to take a test to enter an establishment is just as problematic because there is no doubt that, like the private employer, that cost will be passed on to the unvaccinated patron or worker. “More than half of unvaccinated Americans” come from households with incomes of less than $50,000, according to Census Bureau data. Americans with household income under $40,000 are the least likely to be vaccinated, according to Kaiser Family Foundation data.
These demands are void of exceptions and ignore natural immunity. They do not take into legitimate consideration those with compromised immune disorders that the CDC says should not take the vaccine. Mr. Biden‘s rules ignore that some have religious objections and simply do not trust the federal government forcing minorities to take a vaccine given the past experiences with forced sterilizations and the Tuskegee Experiment.
Joe Biden ran for president as an uniter. His angry and blame-filled speech will only further divide our country and stoke fear in Americans who already have become frustrated, confused, and worried about the future of our country. President Biden has violated the Constitution, and I am proud the RNC has already committed to suing this Administration on behalf of the freedoms of millions of minorities in America.
In his speech, Joe Biden made it clear he has no qualms with discriminating against Black Americans using his ever-expanding power and authority as president.
Who would have thought that in 2021, the Democrats would be back to their old tricks with Mr. Biden now telling Black people that if you want to work in the public or private sector, you must take the vaccine? The Biden-Harris administration knows but does not care about how their new national forced vaccination plan will impact Americans.
Like my grandfather felt years ago about past leaders, I feel that President Biden attacked my community, infringed on our rights, freedoms, and publicly made so many minorities feel like second-class citizens.
• Paris Dennard is the National Spokesperson and Director of Black Media Affairs for the Republican National Committee (RNC). Follow him on Twitter: @PARISDENNARD.