President Joe Biden’s speech at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland to own the “successes” of Bidenomics did not go as planned. The bumbler-in-chief proudly stood before the gathered audience and proclaimed, “We’ve seen record lows in unemployment particularly – and I’ve focused on this my whole career – particularly for African Americans and Hispanic workers and veterans, you know, the workers without high school diplomas.”
This would be a good time to note that Prince George’s Community College boasts a Black student population of 76% and that Maryland Governor Wes Moore, himself Black, was hosting the president’s appearance at the time. Oops, indeed.
The White House claims that Biden misspoke, omitting the “and” before “the workers without high school diplomas.” While some critics see the mistake as symbolic of the president’s declining mental acuity, others are quick to point out that it is just the latest “verbal misstep” in an ongoing series of racially focused “verbal missteps” throughout his career.
In June of 2019, Biden boasted about his ability to “get things done” with Democratic Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. Eastland and Talmadge were senior members in the Senate when Biden took office in 1973, and Biden seems to have forgotten both were vocally against desegregation. To add insult to injury, Eastland was a plantation owner while Talmadge rabidly opposed civil rights.
The year 2019 was not a good one for Biden. In June of that year, he made the bizarre observation that “We’ve got to recognize that the kid wearing a hoodie may very well be the next poet laureate and not a gangbanger.” He went on a few months later to note that “poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids.”
In 2006, Biden told a man of South Asian Indian heritage, “You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” Shortly after, while on the campaign trail with former President Barack Obama in 2007, Biden praised the candidate by saying he was “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean.”
Also in 2007, Biden blamed Washington D.C.’s bad schools on race when comparing them to Iowa’s schools. “There’s less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There are probably less than four of five percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So, look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you’re dealing with,” he said, before adding that Black children come from dysfunctional homes with no books and mothers who do not talk to them.
August 2012 saw then-Vice President Biden telling a predominantly audience in Virginia that his opponent’s lift of financial regulations would “put y’all back in chains.” During that speech, he noted that social workers were brought into Black homes to “help them deal with how to raise their children” because “they don’t know quite what to do.”
In May of 2020, Biden notably told “The Breakfast Club” host Charlamagne tha God, “I tell you if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.” The Breakfast Club is a talk show widely enjoyed by Black audiences across the nation.
In September of that same year, he was caught in a video clip stating that the reason Americans were able to quarantine was “because some Black woman was able to stack the grocery shelf.” A month prior, he noted that “Unlike the African American community,” the Latino community holds “incredibly diverse attitudes about different things.”
But actions speak louder than words. Biden’s Senate record shows him opposing busing and school integration. In 1975, he claimed that the problem with busing is “taking people who are good citizens, who believe in equal education and opportunity” and “stunting their children’s intellectual growth” by “busing them to inferior schools.”
Then-Biden’s stance on reparations is vastly different than his current platform. In the ‘70s, he noted that he did not agree with the concept that “we have suppressed the black man for 300 years and…in order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start or even hold the white man back.”
The fawning media calls Biden’s repeated racist slip-ups “gaffes,” but the word “gaffes” implies a humorous “aw, shucks” quality that his verbal missteps do not have. Instead, look at them for what they are – unintentional revelations of deeply rooted racism.