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Joe Biden is notorious for awkward moments and unfortunate comments since he arrived at the White House. Whether for appearing disoriented, mistaking Kamala Harris for the president, or simply reading the teleprompter verbatim, the president often stars in such episodes when speaking in public. This time, he made a bizarre statement about race.
With Black History Month coming to an end on March 1, Biden held an event to honor African American history in the U.S., which was attended by VP Harris, community leaders and even featured a musical performance by Anthony Brown and Group TherAPY.
The first to speak was young Dwayne Portage Jr. a high school student in Chicago, who was invited by the White House. “For me, black history isn´t just about the past, it’s about what we all do in big or small ways to build the future we all want for our communities and our country,” he said in his speech.
Then came the turn of Kamala Harris, who subsequently gave the floor to the President. Indeed, this is where Joe Biden’s unfortunate phrase, which would quickly become magnified on social media, took place. “We hosted a screening because it’s important to say from the White House, for the entire country to hear that history matters. History matters, and black history matters,” the president began, referring to the film Till, shown at the White House in early February.
“We can’t just choose to learn what we want to know. We learn what we should know, to learn everything, the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation. That’s what great nations do, and we are a great nation,” he added.
Moments later, he referred to a group of African-American sororities called Divine Nine and slipped in a controversial sound bite. “I may be a white boy, but I’m not stupid,” Biden asserted.
Joe Biden and a history of unfortunate statements about race
This is not the first time the president has made bizarre comments about race. When he was still a candidate, he uttered a few remarks that quickly set off the alarms.
One of the most memorable took place in August 2019, while Biden was participating in a campaign rally in Iowa. “We should challenge these students, we should challenge students in these schools and have advance placement programs in these schools,” Biden said. “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids,” he said at the time.
Another similar one came months later, already in 2020 and having the coronavirus intervening in the presidential election. Wanting to separate himself from Donald Trump, he loudly stated that “if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: [email protected] // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: [email protected]