African American figures slam Biden on ‘you ain’t black’ comments
Former Vice President Joe Biden came under scrutiny from both ends of the political spectrum Friday for saying that if you support President Trump “then you ain’t black.”
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee made the remark to host Charlamagne Tha God on the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club” earlier in the day.
Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign and leader of its Black Voices for Trump group, was one of the first to weigh in.
“White liberal elitists have continuously dictated which black Americans are allowed to come to the table and have a voice,” she said.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican in the Senate, noted that 1.3 million black people voted for Trump in the 2016 general election.
“This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we ‘ain’t black,’ ” Scott tweeted. “I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree.”
1.3 million black Americans already voted for Trump in 2016. This morning, Joe Biden told every single one of us we “ain’t black.” I’d say I’m surprised, but it’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree.
— Tim Scott (@SenatorTimScott) May 22, 2020
GOP Senate candidate John James blasted the remark as “pathetic” and “hurtful,” saying in a video posted on Twitter: “You’re embarrassing yourself, Mr. Vice President.”
Vice President @JoeBiden ‘s latest quote is both pathetic & hurtful. Challenging millions on their blackness is condescending. The GOP was started to oppose slavery. I have the right to think and vote for myself along with all other Americans, including black Americans. pic.twitter.com/RRURX1eMbY
— John James (@JohnJamesMI) May 22, 2020
Biden later said he regretted making the comment.
“I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier,” he said on call with black business leaders.
In a statement to Mediate, Charlamagne pointed to a response he gave Biden during the interview, where he said: “It don’t have nothing to do with Trump. It has to do with the fact that I want something for my community.”
Biden polls well among black voters, much like other Democratic presidential nominees in previous elections, and the interview on “The Breakfast Club” included a discussion about whether the Democratic Party was taking that support for granted, especially since many younger black voters voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the presidential primary before he dropped out.
Some progressives seized on Biden’s remarks, saying establishment Democrats have a tendency to expect support from minority voters but don’t fight for the issues they care about.
“This is the natural consequence of the reductive view of race & politics being pushed by the ‘identity is destiny’ crowd,” tweeted Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’s former campaign press secretary and staunch critic of Biden.
I see Biden has picked up on establishment media talking points.
This is the natural consequence of the reductive view of race & politics being pushed by the “identity is destiny” crowd.
— Briahna Joy Gray (@briebriejoy) May 22, 2020
Biden adviser Symone Sanders, who said the former vice president’s comments were made in “jest,” sparked criticism from writer Roxane Gay.
“He doesn’t get to ‘jest’ like that,” Gay tweeted. “It wasn’t funny. It played into the long standing notion that the black vote is uncritical and guaranteed and the notion that blackness is mutable and defined by whiteness.”
Ma’am. What? He doesn’t get to “jest” like that. It wasn’t funny. It played into the long standing notion that the black vote is uncritical and guaranteed and the notion that blackness is mutable and defined by whiteness. https://t.co/wk1uWA5bzM
— roxane gay (@rgay) May 22, 2020
Biden’s comments even drew ire from the likes of rapper Diddy, who said black voters are not guaranteed to turn out on Nov. 3 in support of Biden.
“Aye bruh @JoeBiden I already told you the #BlackVoteAintFree,” he tweeted.
— Diddy (@Diddy) May 22, 2020
Updated at 4:53 p.m.
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