Merrick Garland, US President Joe Biden's pick for leading the US Department of Justice, was asked to address sensitive yet important subjects which concern the political system of the country. During the first day of his Senate hearing on Monday, he was asked about implicit bias and systemic racism while his bold statements showed a clear contrast of opinion from his predecessor, according to US media reports.
"I think it is plain to me that there is discrimination and widespread disparate treatment of communities of color and other ethnic minorities in this country. They have disproportionately lower employment, disproportionately lower home-ownership rates, disproportionately lower ability to accumulate wealth," he said when asked to define systematic racism.
While Garland's top priority, if and when confirmed as the Attorney General, will to sentence those who were responsible for the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, his answers provide clarity on the way he is going to perform his duties in the office. He is expected to expansively work towards addressing civil rights issues in the US while paying special attention to systematic racism.
Further in his hearing, Republican Senator John Kennedy asked Garland to explain the concept of implicit bias, to which he said, "Implicit bias just means that every human being has biases. That's part of what it means to be a human being."
He added, "And the point of examining our implicit biases is to bring our conscious mind up to our unconscious mind and to know when we're behaving in a stereotyped way. Everybody has stereotypes. It's not possible to go through life without working through stereotypes. And implicit biases are the ones that we don't recognize our behavior. That doesn't make you racist, no."
A stark change is expected in the way the Justice Department used to work with former US President Donald Trump in the office, whose pick for the position of Attorney General, William Barr, stood in front of the House Judiciary Committee and completely denied the existence of any systematic racism in the police departments.