Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) criticized Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s candidate for associate attorney general, for remarks she made in the past accusing all Americans of implicit bigotry and cultural bias.

Cotton reminded Gupta of the conversation last summer when she appeared before the committee and Gupta said ,”Yes” when asked by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is she believed that all Americans are racist. she added that she thought everyone has “implicit biases and racial biases.” He asked in response which race specifically does she “harbor against.” 

Gupta answered Cotton she was implying that implicit bias may be held in every individual. 

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In a much similar conversation with Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) during Judge Garland’s hearing, Gupta expressed that we all have unconscious bias. According to Gupta, this does not necessarily have to be translated that we are racists; these are “unconscious perceptions and stereotypes,” which can be created. She also recalled they were debating institutional prejudice and implicit bias during that summer’s conversation with Cornyn, and her response was that everyone has implicit biases.

For this, Cotton emphasized the word “all” in Gupta’s accusation that every single American has racial and unconscious bias. He noted his immense curiosity upon which races might she hold racial prejudice against. 

Gupta said that there are stereotypes that she is very well aware of and that she must manage, this she believes issued from the culture she’s living in. According to Gupta, one of the reasons is that we can all handle unconscious bias if we can recognize our own, and she addressed that she is not above anyone else in that regard. Implicit bias is an unavoidable part of the human condition, Gupta argues. 

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However, Gupta also said in response to a query about structural racism that there is not an institution in this country that isn’t suffering from institutional racism, Cotton pressed then asked whether there is any systemic bias in the Biden White House. 

Gupta indirectly replied to his question by reminding the U.S.’s memory of Jim Crow and the slavery period. She claims that it is the organizations that we are a part of which require all to work together to combat racial discrimination in all of its types.

Hence, Gupta asserted, one of the reasons why, if verified, she would be proud to return to the Justice Department as that the department was created with the goal of ensuring equal justice under the law. And one of the main duties of the Justice Department is to uphold federal civil rights legislation and combat injustice where it exists for all Americans, as passed by Congress through the sacrifice and loss of life of black Americans and Americans in general.

This answer of course could not convince Cotton. 

He remarked that with such allegations as Gupta throws around, she has put herself at risk of all kinds of questions since she criticizes all Americans. These comments, as Cotton would say, were “beyond the pale” for anyone to put their trust in. “Ridiculous” is the adjective he coins them. 

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