President Biden in a video released told the class of 2021 they are graduating at an “inflection point” in history and described systemic racism as one of “the great crises of our time.”
In the remarks, tweeted out under his @POTUS address, Biden said that shortly after he graduated, his generation faced an inflection point — with the Vietnam War splitting the nation and great fights for civil rights, women’s rights and environmental rights.
“And now you face another inflection point,” he said. “As we put this pandemic behind us, rebuild our economy, root out systemic racism and tackle climate change, we’re addressing the great crises of our time with a greater sense of purpose than before.
“And because of you, your generation, I’ve never been more optimistic about the future than I am today,” he added.
Biden has emphasized his belief in systemic racism in the past, while also saying that he thinks that most Americans themselves are not racist.
“No, I don’t think the American people are racist, but I think after 400 years, African-Americans have been left in a position where they are so far behind the eight-ball in terms of education, health, in terms of opportunity,” Biden said in April.
The description of the current moment as an inflection point has been a regular theme for Biden. Speaking at the Coast Guard Academy’s campus in New London, Connecticut last month, Biden told graduates there that “the world is changing. We’re at a significant inflection point,” as he spotlighted “disruptive nations” such as China and Russia as a top challenge facing the U.S.
He stressed his optimism in his address on Saturday as he described the graduates as representing “one of the most gifted and talented and well-educated generation in American history.”
“And you’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than we saw in the last 50 years — but it’s going to be up to you to translate that unprecedented change into a greater measure of happiness and prosperity not only for you and our nation but for the world around you, and I know you will.”