At a breakfast Monday morning in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, former Vice President Joe Biden stood in front of a crowd of black people and told them “white America has to admit there is systemic racism.”
The breakfast was hosted by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, HuffPost reports, and it was attended by a mostly black audience.
Biden, who many believe may make a run for the presidency in 2020, said that “we have a lot to root out, but most of all the systematic racism that most of us whites don’t like to acknowledge even exists.” He then went on to give a very basic, anecdotal example: Two men with the same qualifications apply for a job. One is named Jim, and the other is named Jamal. Jim gets the job.
Biden said “there is something we have to admit―not you, we, white America has to admit: There is still systematic racism.”
“It goes almost unnoticed by so many of us. When all that is surrounding us, is it any wonder that there is still a spirit of restlessness out there? How do we ensure that every American can live a life of dignity?” he then asked.
He went on to say that the last two years have shown us “it doesn’t take much to awaken hate,” and he blamed “President” Donald Trump for helping to facilitate it.
“I never thought I would live to see ... a president of the United States make a moral equivalence between those who were spreading the hate and those who were opposing it, saying there were ‘very fine people on both sides.’ No president since the Civil War had ever, ever uttered words like that,” he said, referencing Trump’s statements after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., where Heather Heyer was killed.
Trump infamously said “You have people who are very fine people on both sides” when asked about the violence, refusing to condemn the white supremacists who incited violence against counter-protesters.
I suppose this is the part where we are supposed to seal clap for Biden and praise him for being “woke,” but color me unimpressed.
Black people don’t need to hear this speech. We see what is happening and we speak out against it every single day.
When we do, we are told that we are the real racists, we are playing victim, we don’t take responsibility for our own situation and any number of things white people will throw at us to deny the simple fact that racism is alive and well in the 21st century. It never went away. We are not post-racial. Things have gotten worse.
If the events over the weekend with the boys from Covington Catholic don’t reaffirm that for you, then you are turning a blind eye to what is going on in this country.
It is always funny to me when white people feel like they are really doing something by making these statements to black people. We don’t need you to tell us this. We already know. We need you to gather your whites.
Give these big speeches to white people. They need to hear them. They need to hear them from other white people, because obviously black people repeatedly saying it day in and day out is not enough. Our voices fall on deaf ears.
So yes, Joe Biden did make a valid point. It’s a point that needs to be repeated over and over again.
It’s unfortunate that he chose to preach to the choir.
I will be more impressed when he gets out there and starts saying it to white people—in their faces.