An End and a Beginning?
Race Relations in the United States: The Trump Legacy and the Biden Presidency
The inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on 20 January marks the end of a long and bitterly contested election campaign. An inauguration also reflects the hopes and aspirations of an incoming President. It provides an opportunity for them to present their vision of a better future in the years to come, not just for their fellow Americans but for peoples around the world.
In 2009 the inauguration of Barack Obama was met with optimism, both at home and abroad, as he pledged to ‘begin again the work of remaking America’. His taking office as the nation’s first African American President encouraged the hope of a post-racial America. Eight years later, in his farewell address, the outgoing President acknowledged that ‘such a vision, however well intended, was never realistic’ and that race remained a ‘potent and often divisive force’ in American society.
In January 2017 President Trump’s ‘American Carnage’ inaugural address offered pessimistic, dystopian, images of U.S. society that reminded Kim Darroch, the watching British ambassador to the United States, of ‘zombie movies reincarnated’. Racial conflicts and inequalities became one of the hallmarks of his presidency, as reflected in the re-emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of white supremacist organizations. At times tensions were fuelled by the President’s controversial remarks on immigration and his reluctance to condemn race hate groups, such as at Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
This online discussion forum, with three leading authorities from the United States, will examine the legacy of the Trump administration on race. It will assess the extent to which the Biden Presidency provides opportunities for change, and the lessons that might be learnt from the United States for race relations in Britain and Europe. View our speakers here
Organised by Institute for Social Responsibility and the International Centre for Racism at Edge Hill University, this event takes place online (a secure link will be distributed following registration).