I am keeping my thoughts regarding former Vice President and presumptive Democrat Party presidential nominee Joe Biden’s recent comments on the Black radio show The Breakfast Club pithy.
For those who did not hear about Biden’s comments made at the end of the program’s broadcast, Biden said to listeners, “you ain’t black if you are having trouble deciding whether to vote for me or (President Donald) Trump”.
You can view the interview in its entirety below:
Let me preface what I am about to say in this post by saying that Biden’s comment, in my humble opinion, lends considerable insight into his political thinking and cultural conditioning.
While I am not disappointed by his words, as I do not have a high opinion of Joe Biden to begin with, I absolutely lament that this country is consistently elevating people of low deportment and morality to high office and neither party is immune to this.
My mission on this blog is to give my rational and logical (as opposed to an emotional or sensational) perspective on the issues of the day, so while I understand and I am completely unsurprised by the typical reactions coming from either side of the ideological aisle regarding Biden’s comment, let us say that I do not find either side’s reaction particularly rational.
I proffer three (rational) thoughts on Biden’s comment:
Firstly, Joe Biden is a known gaffe machine. He is not the most artful or articulate public speaker in politics. I find it ironic that he uttered the words “he’s clean and articulate” about his former boss, former President Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. He (Biden) is easily the most inarticulate of politicians.
Additionally, Biden is 77 years old, which means he comes from a time well before the Civil Rights Movement when even well-meaning whites held strong stereotypical opinions of black people and other ethnic minorities.
While not an excuse for making insensitive comments about ethnic minorities in this day and age, even in an innocuous context, Biden’s comment nonetheless likely reflects the cultural conditioning of his more youthful years.
Secondly, Biden is very clearly pandering to black voters in much the same way President Trump panders to black voters and to his base, often using less-than-coded language and even uses black voters as the subject of his speeches and press conferences attempting to highlight that his policies are directly benefiting black people (his policies should benefit everyone in this country).
Remember these gems…?
While Trump’s words are not nearly as offensive as what Biden said, it does come from the same place, both politically and from a cultural conditioning perspective. After all, Trump is 73 years old, which means he comes from the same generation as Biden. I might add that President Trump is not exactly a paragon of artful oratory either.
Bottom line: politicians pander to their bases and play on our collective penchant for identity politics. Sometimes in the most offensive ways, though I do not think that either Trump or Biden are expressing malice towards black people. Shameless and archaic pandering perhaps, but not malice.
Lastly, this is not likely to hurt Biden as presidential elections almost always come down to one of two things, if not both: personality and pocketbooks. The electorate will respond to the perceptions they individually hold concerning each candidate’s personalities and economic policy positions.
Considering Biden made his comment on a black radio show and the host, Charlamagne tha God, did not seem offended, most black voters will still support Biden over Trump. Context always trumps content (no pun intended), rightly or wrongly.
However, that Biden felt comfortable enough to make that comment speaks to the fact that perhaps Biden and the Democrats are once again taking the black vote for granted, and that is food for thought and introspection.
UPDATE: It appears that President Trump is doubling down on pandering to black voters with the #YouAintBlack T-shirts he is selling for $30 each.
Again, the shameless and cheap pandering on both sides is quite obvious.
-The Rational Ram