Joe Biden slammed for 'racist' comments suggesting Black people are all the same

Joe Biden slammed for 'racist' comments suggesting Black people are all the same

Democratic hopeful Joe Biden sometimes seems to have a case of foot-in-mouth.

In May, he told prominent Black radio host Charlamagne tha God, that if Black Americans chose not to vote for him, they “[weren’t] Black”.

Now Biden has had to apologise for another offensive remark, which seemed to pit the Black American community against the Latinx one.

What did Joe Biden say?

Speaking in an interview during the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference, Biden appeared to suggest that America’s Latinx community was more “diverse” than the Black American one.

He said:

What you all know, but 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.

The remark caused immediate shock and outrage, with some Black people even changing their social media screen names to 'Notable Black Exception' in protest.

His comments were also labelled 'racist', for obvious reasons.

But why was Biden’s comment so offensive?

Biden’s statement plays into a dangerous trope that implies Blackness is a monolith, with Black people seen as a homogenous mass rather than individual actors with their own agency, opinions and agendas.

It also pitted two marginalised communities against each other and, as one person pointed out, using the term ‘African American’ can other the Black American community by implying they are not ‘wholly’ American.

Plus, there are of course Black Latinx people. But Biden seemed to momentarily forget that intersections between these communities exist and also that making sweeping generalisations about them is probably not the best tactic to win votes.

Biden has historically been enormously popular with Black voters in the US; his political ‘resurrection’ in the race to be Democratic nominee was ‘powered’ by Black voters in South Carolina.

But in recent weeks Trump has gained the support of more Black voters, closing the gap between them with that demographic to only an 8 per cent margin.

This latest gaffe comes at a precarious time.

What has Joe Biden said since?

Biden quickly apologised for the remark, saying that in “no way” did he mean to “suggest the African American community is a monolith – not by identity, not on issues, not at all”.

However he provided no explanation for why he had made the offending comments in the first place.

For his part, Trump has seized on the remarks, saying Biden “totally disparaged and insulted the Black community”.

Katrina Pierson, Trump’s campaign senior advisor also dubbed Biden’s words an example of “liberal white racism”.

Another low moment in this election season.

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