President Joe Biden recently appeared to have called his senior advisor Cedric Richmond “boy” when introducing him during an Aug. 30 virtual briefing on Hurricane Ida held by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Richmond is Black, and the term “boy” is obviously offensive and considered racist.
“We’re waiting for a few more people to get on, but we’re going to get started if that’s OK with you all,” Biden said. “I’m here with my senior adviser and, uh, boy who knows Louisiana very well, man. And New Orleans. Cedric Richmond,” Biden said, according to a Mediate report.
“I still can’t believe he called a grown Black man a boy…and that grown Black man gave up his power for that. We gotta do better with accepting invitations from White Supremacy my people” Marley K @MarleyK20 tweeted her shock.
If Biden did use the term “boy” to refer to Richmond, it wouldn’t have been the first time he used the term to the outrage of many in Black America.
At a 2019 fundraiser in New York City, Biden described working with segregationists in the Senate in the 1970s and 1980s. During that era, “at least there was some civility,” Biden said, according to a CNN report.
“I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden said, referring to the notoriously racist Mississippi Democrat. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’”
Biden later apologized for using the term.
“I do understand the consequence of the word ‘boy,’” Biden admitted to MSNBC’s Al Sharpton. “But it wasn’t said in any of that context at all.”
Biden went on to explain that Sen. Eastland and other senior senators didn’t take younger members of the chamber seriously, including the late Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, who Biden said Eastland had called “boy.”
“He said I’m not even qualified to be in the Senate,” said Biden, who was 29 when elected to the Senate in 1972. “I’m not old enough. I’m a kid. I’m a kid.”
Biden said he did not mean to use the word “boy” in a derogatory context aimed at Black men.
“To the extent that anybody thought that I meant something different, that is not what I intended it,” Biden said. “It’d be wrong for anybody to intend that.”
Explanation or not, Biden has racked up a slew of other remarks deemed racist, leading many to say he himself is racist.
“President Joe Biden is a racist, not because he thinks one race is better than another but because he said, ‘If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.’ That is the definition of racism,” reader Harriet Borgerhoff wrote in a letter to the editor of The Conway Daily Sun newspaper. The letter referred to Biden’s remark to Charlamagne tha God during a 2020 interview on The Breakfast Club prior to the election.
There have been many other racial gaffes made by Biden.
During the 2008 presidential election, Biden gave fellow Democratic candidate Barack Obama a backhanded racist compliment. He said of Obama, “You got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”
Marley K @MarleyK20 tweeted, “Among other things, like saying Obama was ‘articulate and clean’ prior to being made his VP.”
Biden stirred up controversy during the election by claiming people were able to quarantine during the coronavirus crisis because “some Black woman was able to stack the grocery shelf,” Fox News reported.
During one 2020 presidential debate, Biden called into question Black parenting abilities when he was asked about the legacy of slavery. In his meandering reply, Biden pivoted to argue that schools need more money, teachers and parents need more help, and that poor parents need to change how they raise their children.
“Biden’s answer was staggeringly incoherent, obscuring, to his own benefit, what was, underneath, a horrifyingly racist answer,” The Intercept reported.
“Is this not one of the most explicitly racist moments of all time in a Democratic primary debate?” asked journalist and political pundit Anand Giridharadas. “Asked about his past comments denying responsibility, as a white man, for America’s sins, he gives an answer insinuating that black parents don’t know how to raise kids.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the journalist behind the New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project” on the legacy of 400 years of slavery and its aftermath in America, noted, “He talked about poverty, social workers needing to help families raise their kids and debunked science on vocab deficits,” she said. “He assumed we’d all understand he meant black folks even without saying — as if black is synonymous with poverty/dysfunction.”
Biden’s racial slip-ups go way back. In 2012, then-Vice President Biden told a Virginia audience that then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s financial regulation lifts would “put y’all back in chains,” Fox News reported.
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“He said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules,” Biden said. “Unchain Wall Street! They’re gonna put y’all back in chains.”
“Joe Biden has a long history of these (racial gaffes),” Harmeet Dhillon, the former vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party, told Fox Business News in 2020. She mentioned how in 1977, Biden was against school integration, saying integrating schools would create “a racial jungle” and he did not want his children to grow up in a “racial jungle.”
“He’s been saying stuff like this his entire political career,” Dhillon said.