I admit that I am still using the old, original, can’t-be-adjusted-to-fit-anyone-or anything-you-want-to-smear definition of “racism”: “the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics, abilities, or qualities, especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.”
That’s one reason that I know that the attacks on President Trump as a racist comprise a Big Lie. No, criticizing a single Black individual, even nastily or unfairly, isn’t racism. Not favoring policies that confer advantages because of race isn’r racism. Even referring to third world countries with primarily black populations as “shit holes’—just to pick a hypothetical—isn’t racism. However, what Joe Biden said yesterday, during an interview with black and Latino journalists,
“Most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community, with incredibly different attitudes about different things.”
That’s racism, flat-out, no doubt about it, no spin possible. Not only that, it’s old school racism, like “them darkies just love their watermelon, and are happy pickin’ cotton in the fields!” In sexist terms, it is like saying that women are too emotional to hold leadership position. In a homophobia context, it is like saying that gay men are potential child molesters. The idea that blacks are monolithic and basically all alike was a Jim Crow staple, and like all racist tropes, is, or should be, nonsense on its face.
What Joe Biden said wasn’t a “gaffe.” His statement was clear and unequivocal; indeed it was one of the most coherent things he has uttered in public for a long time. It wasn’t a “gaffe,” except if you use the cynical Washington, D.C. definition of that word, which is “a politician saying in public what he really thinks.” Back in 1988, when Ross Perot was scaring both parties with his third party run for the President, the NAACP tarred him as a racist because at one point in his address to the group he referred to them as “you people.” Imagine if he had said, “you people are all the same.” Yet that is exactly what Joe Biden said yesterday.
The implication of what Biden said was so obvious that his campaign almost immediately began the clean-up on Aisle Dumb, with Joe, or his ventriloquist, writing on Twitter:
“Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify. In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith — not by identity, not on issues, not at all, Throughout my career I’ve witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community. It’s this diversity that makes our workplaces, communities, and country a better place,.My commitment to you is this: I will always listen, I will never stop fighting for the African American community and I will never stop fighting for a more equitable future.”
Translation: I did not mean to suggest, when I said that African Americans were unlike Hispanic-Americans in that the latter have varying beliefs and opinions, that African Americans are unlike Hispanic-Americans in that the latter have varying beliefs and opinions.
Why did he say what he said then, if that’s not what he thinks? That’s the convenient thing about written denial that you said what you said: nobody can ask, “Huh?”
Joe Biden has There are dozens of photographs of Joe Biden sexually harassing or assaulting women of all ages while Vice President. He has a #MeToo accuser who is far more credible than than the high school accuser who prompted Democrats to call a judge with an impeccable personal and professional life a “rapist.” Yet even activists who insisted that accusations of sexual misconduct made by women must be presumed true have said they were still supporting Joe.
Now he has made a public statement that, unlike the comments by Donald Trump that were immediately assailed as proof of his racism, really is signature significance for a racist bigot. For example, I know Black Lives Matter is a racist organization because its leaders and spokespersons say that all whites are alike—you know, racists.
Yet if the pattern holds, Biden will be allowed to escape any consequences of letting the mask drop.