I am writing in support of Dr. Michael Poulson’s April 27 op-ed, “Biden’s infrastructure plan must curb structural racism.” Poulson makes clear that, although President Biden expresses great concern about structural racism, the infrastructure bill currently making its way through Congress contains no specific measures to attack the problem at its roots.
The bill is a golden opportunity to precipitate significant change at a moment when our country is gaining widespread awareness of the racist policies and practices at its core and recent research has documented the underlying causes of the racial wealth gap, health disparities, and differences in educational attainment. (See Heather McGee’s brilliant book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together,” for examples.)
It would be a continuation of this nation’s tragic legacy for the infrastructure bill to omit targeted actions such as providing more affordable housing with an eye toward homeownership; cultivating a healthy environment in impoverished neighborhoods to include green spaces, adequate public transportation, and access to nutritious food; and increasing per-pupil allotments for underperforming schools. I urge Congress not to waste this chance to embark on the road toward racial justice before it’s too late.
Susan L. Perry
The writer is a retired social worker.