About a week ago, Joe Biden caused quite a stir with a statement he made on nationally syndicated hip-hop radio show, The Breakfast Club.
While essentially being asked why Black Americans should choose him over President Donald Trump in November, Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee and former vice president said, “Well, I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for Trump or me, then you ain’t Black.”
And the backlash was swift. We get it, of course. How dare a rich White man question the Blackness of any Black American for any reason, especially whilst vying for and in desperate need of Black people’s votes? Biden should have used the opportunity to detail his plans for addressing the serious issues that beset our communities. It was no time for fast, flip talk.
Members of his team have since attempted to clarify his statement.
“The comments made at the end of the Breakfast Club interview were in jest, but let’s be clear about what the VP was saying: He was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African American community up against Trump’s any day. Period,” Biden’s senior advisor Symone D. Sanders wrote on Twitter.
Here’s what we say: If the worst thing folks have to discuss about Joe Biden is that statement, however ill-conceived, made on The Breakfast Club, then they haven’t been paying much attention at all. There are many reasons Black America ought to be giving Biden the side-eye glance. That statement is the least of them.
Just in case you didn’t know, Joe Biden was a 60 percent rating by the ACLU for his civil rights record. That might have something to do with the fact that, in 1976, the Democratic nominee actually opposed school busing as a way to end segregation in public education. By contrast, Bernie Sanders has a 93 percent rating. Yet somehow, many of us have been convinced that Joe Biden is the best hope for our neighborhoods, our health, our economic well being, our futures and our children’s futures.
So if Biden’s poor attempt at talking hip on a morning radio show is what bothers you most, then, well . . . maybe y’all aint Black.
If you are not seriously questioning why we must be resigned to the fact that Joe Biden is the party’s nominee while the Democratic leadership all but bullied Sanders out of the race, then maybe you ain’t Black.
If the unemployment disparities, the wealth gap, the disparities in healthcare, income, homeownership, incarceration are not reason enough for Black America to side-eye the entire Democratic Party and to demand better outcomes in direct exchange for the decades of devotion we have rendered, then maybe, just maybe Joe is right, and you ain’t . . . well, you know.
Look, we have made no secret about what we think as it relates to the Democratic Party’s failure to deliver sustained and tangible results (in other words, progress) for Black America, despite our dedication to the party. And yes, we think Joe Biden is a shining example of a Democratic Party establishment that, along with many of our own leaders, continues to admonish us “to be patient” and “do what we have to do”, which is code for “vote the party line no matter what because while we might not help you much at least we won’t hurt you as badly as the other guy.”
We have made no secret that we aren’t happy with the choice the Democrats have forced on us. Of course, Sen. Sanders exited the race several weeks ago, and Joe Biden will face Trump in November. Still many Of Sanders’ supporters have not completely warmed up to the idea of a middle-of-the road, moderate leader of a party that has consistently benefitted from our support without producing results for our communities once again landing the party’s nomination.
For his part, Biden has offered a plan—for what it’s worth—for Black America. We have read it. You should too. Go to LIFT EVERY VOICE: THE BIDEN PLAN FOR BLACK AMERICA – Joe Biden for President to read it for yourself.
The plan seems promising. But we need more than promises.
So instead of getting worked up by what Joe Biden says, how about we watch what he does should he emerge victorious on Nov. 3. How about we deliver our own agenda for our own communities, businesses and families to him and his administration and then demand that they delivers results to us.
What we’re saying is that if we keep allowing the Democratic Party to use us for our votes and then abandon us in every way that actually matters, then may Joe Biden is right . . . we ain’t Black. Or maybe it’s time to show Biden and the rest of the Democrats just how Black we are by forcing them to address the challenges that impact our communities.