Biden seeks to define presidency by early emphasis on equity

“Racial equity is not a silo in and of itself,” said Cecilia Rouse, Mr. Biden’s nominee to lead his Council of Economic Advisers, who would be the first Black economist to oversee the council if confirmed by the Senate. “It is woven in all of these policy efforts.”

The actions reflect the political coalition backing Mr. Biden, who was lifted by Black voters to his party’s nomination and who won the White House in part on the strength of Black turnout and support from women in the suburbs and elsewhere. They also reflect what historians see as a unique opening for Mr. Biden to directly address issues of inequality — in contrast to President Barack Obama, under whom Mr. Biden served as vice president.

Mr. Obama, the nation’s first Black president, took pains to be seen as a president for “all Americans,” as opposed to Black Americans, said Nicole Hemmer, a Columbia University historian and associate research scholar with the Obama Presidency Oral History project.

“You got less of that overt racial equity language from Barack Obama than you get from Joe Biden,” Ms. Hemmer said. “The challenge to Biden is how he makes clear the universal benefits of focusing on racial and gender equity. He is going to face real pushback on this.”