Black bourgeois misleaders like James Clyburn, Barack Obama, Al Sharpton and Joy Reid should be ashamed of themselves for promoting the racist corporate and imperial clown Joe Biden as the answer to Donald Trump.
During Biden’s first failed White House bid in the 1980s, he bragged about receiving an award from vicious white segregationist George Wallace while campaigning in the South. He even gave a campaign speech in Alabama in which he said “we (Delawareans) were on the South’s side in the Civil War.”
Biden helped author, and worked to pass, the racist federal mass incarceration Three Strikes crime bill of 1994.
During his second failed presidential campaign in 2007, he offered creepy racialized praise for presidential candidate Barack Obama by calling him “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
As a presidential candidate in the current election cycle, Biden has boasted of his ability to work with segregationists as a US senator in the 1970s, when he said that federal desegregation efforts threatened to make his children “grow up in a racial jungle.”
He boasts about his ability to work with racist Republicans today.
2020 candidate Biden has said that “poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
He has defended his past Congressional alliance with racist Jim Crow US Senator James O Eastland by saying that Eastland “never called me ‘boy’” – as if he would have used that word to describe a white congressman.
He has tried to endear himself to black voters by telling a bizarre story about an alleged past teenage swimming pool confrontation with a young black tough named “Corn Pop.”
In an odd performance at the Poor People’s Campaign in June 2019, Biden invaded Joy Reid’s personal space and charged her with believing that “there’s nothing you can do” and wanting to “start a real physical revolution” simply because she asked him whether it was realistic to think that a Democratic president could get progressive things done with the racist Republican Party.
Some of this absurdity is about Biden’s obvious mental deterioration. But the white-hot racial cluelessness and condescension of the man is clear as day.
Last September, during the third Democratic presidential debate, a black female ABC moderator asked Biden the following question about segregated schools, the legacy of slavery, and his past dismissal of the notion of reparations for slavery:
“Mr Vice President, I want to come to you and talk to you about inequality in schools and race. In a conversation about how to deal with segregation in schools back in 1975, you told a reporter, ‘I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather… and I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago…’ You said that some 40 years ago. But as you stand here tonight, what responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?”
Then came Sleepy White Joe’s pathetic, jumbled, evasive, and raving response:
“Well, they have to deal with the – look, there’s institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Red-lining banks, making sure that we are in a position where – look, you talk about education… make sure that we bring in to help the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home, we need – we have one school psychologist for every 1,500 kids in America today. It’s crazy. The teachers are – I’m married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. We have – make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school. School. Not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t – they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television – excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the – the – make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school – a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.”
The whole answer was hopelessly absurd. It was not true that Biden’s “deceased wife is a teacher.” (How could she have been decades after her death?) Biden’s current wife was/is not an inner-city teacher: she was an English professor teaching mostly white college students.
Biden’s “record player” line was widely and justly mocked at a comedic level. Late-night television hosts wondered whether Biden simply hadn’t heard about CDs and DVDs yet. A better question: had he never heard of books, and of parents reading to their children?
Did Biden propose, I asked at the time, to initiate a federal program to distribute phonographs to poor families – a “Vinyl New Deal”?
But here were the two main things take critical note of in Biden’s record-player rant:
1) His complete evasion of the main question the ABC moderator asked him – about his 1975 dismissal of the notion that white America owes black America anything for centuries of slavery and Jim Crow.
2) The single most coherent thread in Biden’s response: victim blaming. Consistent with his failure to seriously address segregation (a critical lynchpin of racial inequality, since where one lives is intimately related to the social resources and opportunity one can access) and his total dodging of the reparations question, Biden reflexively defaulted to a vicious neoliberal narrative that placed the blame for black poverty not on institutions, not on the un-addressed and far-reaching and living reach of the slave system and the racist terror regimes that succeeded that system, but on black parents who don’t know how to raise their kids the right way.
The writer Anand Giridharadas got it right. “Is this not one of the most explicitly racist moments of all time in a Democratic primary debate?” Giridharadas tweeted.
“Asked about his past comments denying responsibility, as a white man, for America’s sins,” Giridharadas wrote “he gives an answer insinuating that Black parents don’t know how to raise kids….Joe Biden’s answer on how to address the legacy of slavery was appalling…It ended in a sermon implying that black parents don’t know how to raise their own children.”
All this happened well before Obama worked behind the scenes and James Clyburn acted with his powerful South Carolina endorsement to make sure that the clearly demented Biden, and not the social-democratish single-payer health insurance advocate Bernie Sanders, was this year’s Democratic presidential nominee.
Subsequent to securing the nomination, Biden has disgraced himself by telling popular black radio host Charlamagne tha God that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you are for me or for Trump then you ain’t Black if you aren’t voting for me.”
As HipHollywood kindly explained, “the comment may have been directed just at Charlamagne, but it plays into the false notion that Democrats own the black vote and don’t have to earn the black vote. Furthermore, a privileged white man does not get to dictate what is and isn’t black.”
Then Biden took historical racial idiocy to a new level by opining that Trump is the United States’ “first racist president” – a truly bizarre thing to say in the longtime land of chattel slavery and Jim Crow.
This insanely ignorant and offensive comment elicited the following understandable response from Charlamagne: “I really wish Joe Biden would shut the F up forever ….because as soon as he opens his mouth and makes noise he gets us all killed.”
And now Biden has insulted black America yet again by telling a convention of non-white journalists that the nation’s black population differs from the nation’s diverse Latinx population by being monolithic.
“As most people don’t know,” Biden said, “unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”
Another reason for American progressives to say “gee, thanks, Obama.” Biden is still a presence on the national historical stage in this perilous time thanks to Obama no less than Sarah Palin ever became a presence because of John McCain.
Seen against his broader, long-standing record of racial misstatement, it’s hard to take Biden’s apology for this absurd comment very seriously.
The black-bourgeois mis-leadership class has its hands full trying to sell enthusiasm for Joe Biden to black voters.
By Paul Street, the author of numerous books, including They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Routledge, 2014) and The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power (Routledge, 2011). Paul Street’s latest book is Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and the Politics of Appeasement (CounterPunch Books, September 2020).
First published by RT.com
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.