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‘Black Elected Officials Sitting There Quiet’: Dr. Umar Johnson Demands Black Leaders Hold Biden Accountable to Help Protect Black People from Police Violence

School psychologist Dr. Umar Johnson directed harsh criticism at President Joe Biden during an interview on “The Breakfast Club” that aired on Monday morning, alleging Biden hasn’t taken explicit action to protect Black Americans from “police genocide,” even after Black voters propelled him to victory in the 2020 election. Johnson didn’t hold back punches against Black elected officials and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Johnson, the self-styled “Prince of Pan-Africanism,” said during an interview with Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy that Biden has made members of the transgender community and Asian Americans priorities during his first 100 days in office, while failing to act to protect Black Americans

“President Biden, your first day in office you signed an executive order to protect the life and safety of transgenders. I have no problem with that,” Johnson said.

School psychologist Umar Johnson directed harsh criticism at President Joe Biden during an interview on “The Breakfast Club” this week. (Photo: The Breakfast Club/YouTube screenshot)

On his first day in office, Biden issued an executive order that outlines an interpretation of a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that gay and transgender employees are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination on the basis of sex. The act provides for civil penalties for those who discriminate against the classes enumerated in the statute.

“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the executive order says.

“But he sat up here with you, Charlamagne,” Johnson said in reference to Biden, “and told Black people that if you don’t vote for me, you ain’t Black. So if you went out of your way begging Black people to vote for you, why haven’t we got an executive order or any other activity coming out of the Oval Office from President Biden to protect Black people from police?”

Biden told Charlamagne during a May 2020 appearance on the show, “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black,” before walking back the comments hours later, saying he may have been “much too cavalier.”

Johnson pointed out that police-involved killings of Black people have made national headlines recently.

In just the week since former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, news of several police-involved shootings, including that of Ma’Khia Bryant, Anthony Thompson Jr., and Andrew Brown Jr., have sparked outrage. 

Johnson then noted that Biden has also taken explicit action to protect Asian Americans from a recent an uptick in hate crimes against them.

“Look what he’s doing with the anti-Asian hate,” Johnson said. “He signed an executive order that is exclusive to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. I don’t have a problem with that. But if you can protect the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from violence, why can’t you do the same thing for Black people?”

A memorandum signed by Biden in January condemned violence against Asian and Pacific Islanders in particular, although it is not clear in what sense the president’s stroke of a pen “protects” them.

“The Federal Government should combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and should work to ensure that all members of AAPI communities — no matter their background, the language they speak, or their religious beliefs — are treated with dignity and equity,” the statement said.

“They’ve been dealing with violence for one year,” Johnson said. “Black people have been catching hell for 400 years. And we have yet to get an executive order to protect us from the police.”

Johnson perhaps was discounting recent Biden administration actions such as Attorney General Merrick Garland’s announcement this month that the Department of Justice is revoking the Trump-era moves to limit consent decrees governing police departments under DOJ scrutiny because of sustained misconduct allegations.

Johnson also noted that the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act to protect Asian Americans from hate passed in the Senate last Thursday with little opposition, while hundreds of anti-lynching bills introduced in Congress have not become laws.

“But the first-ever Asian bill goes through on the first try,” Johnson said. “Look at the racism. Look at the discrimination. Look at the bias, look at the inequity there.”

On social media, users responded to the interview and many agreed with Johnson’s message.

While Johnson pointed out that Biden has not issued any executive orders specifically for the protection of Black people against police violence, the president has taken executive action as it related to issues that impact Black people, including private prisons, housing policies and voters’ access to elections.

A memorandum signed by Biden on January 26 is aimed at protecting citizens against racially discriminatory housing policies.

“Diverse and inclusive communities strengthen our democracy,” the memorandum says, adding that discriminatory polices have “inhibited equal opportunity and the chance to build wealth for Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native American families, and other underserved communities.”

Johnson also criticized the Congressional Black Caucus for what he described as a failure to take significant legislation action to protect Black people from police brutality.

“Why hasn’t the Congressional Black Caucus demanded that Joe Biden issue an executive order against police genocide of Black people like he did for the transgenders and the Asians? Why are our Black elected officials sitting there quiet on Capitol Hill watching our people get assassinated like this when they’re right down the street from the president?” Johnson asked. At one point, Johnson calls for the CBC to be dissolved.

Last year, the House passed an anti-lynching law after more than a century of attempts before being held up in the Senate.

“God, if this bill passed today, what that would mean for America,” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said on the Senate floor in June, “Let us pass this legislation today of all days. Let us give a headline tomorrow or something that will give hope to this country that we can get it right.”

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