After his inauguration today, President-elect Joe Biden will begin the arduous process of undoing much of the racist mess put in place by his predecessor—and top of his list is rescinding the racist 1776 Commission.
As you’ll remember, the Trump administration kept up its racism until the bitter (though sweet for us) end by releasing a report from the 1776 Commission—on MLK Jr. Day, no less—that paints American slavery as not that bad, justifies the Three-fifths compromise, and attacks the Civil Rights movement.
The commission itself was established by former President Trump as a so-called “patriotic” refutation to Nikole Hannah-Jones’ award-winning 1619 Project, after conservatives took offense to the New York Times special for acknowledging the depth of the contributions Black people have made to America even in the face of slavery, racist violence, and continuing systemic barriers to advancement.
The New York Times reports that Biden will cancel the commission by executive order on Wednesday afternoon after he is officially inaugurated. That action will end Larry Arnn’s reign as chair of the commission, and in case you weren’t convinced that the body made to reject the centering of Black people in American history was racist, get this: Arnn, who is president of the conservative Larry Arnn, said in 2013 that state officials had criticized his school for not having enough “dark ones” (his words) enrolled.
Arnn and the other members of the commission also notably did not cite any sources in their report, which was billed as an offering of “genuine civic education” for America’s children.
In a valiant effort to begin reversing the many bigoted and downright stupid policies of his predecessor, Biden is also expected to sign several other executive orders later today. Among them are an order requiring all federal agencies to make equity and the elimination of systemic discrimination a core factor of their work, an EO rescinding a Trump Administration rule that allowed the federal government to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, another that will repeal the notorious Muslim travel ban, an order implementing a national mask mandate, and two orders extending protections for undocumented immigrants (like Dreamers) already in the U.S.
A new day is dawning. It’s hard not to feel a little hopeful.