Former Vice President Joe Biden drew the ire of the Black community and others when he made what many have called “distasteful” comments about Black parenting during the third round of Democratic debates.
Biden, 76, a Democratic front-runner in the race for the White House, was speaking on the inequality African-American children face at school when he made his latest verbal gaffe. ABC News debate moderator Lindsey Davis brought up the presidential hopeful’s past remark on segregation in schools and asked “What responsibility do you think that Americans need to take to repair the legacy of slavery in our country?”
Biden seemed caught off guard by the question and struggled with his response, bringing up his track record on discriminatory policies then abruptly shifting to talking about social workers and record players.
“Look, there’s institutional segregation in this country,” he started. “And from the time I got involved, I started dealing with that. Redlining, banks making sure that we are in a position where — look, talk about education. I proposed that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title I schools, triple the amount of money we spend.”
Biden added that teachers also need help dealing with the issues students bring from home because they have “every problem coming to them.”
He continued: “We have to make sure that every single child does, in fact, have 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds go to school — to school, not day care, school. We bring social workers into homes and parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help. They don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio. Make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night.”
The former VP’s comments didn’t go over well with viewers who said Biden seemed to insinuate that Black folks do not know how to take care of their own children.
“So many problems with this,” comedienne Ashley Nicole Black wrote on Twitter. “He repeated a racist stereotype (using a debunked study). He still has a record player … But the pettiest problem … Does Joe Biden think black parents don’t play their kids music?? Has he MET black people?”
“He chose to use that stage to proselytize about record players in the homes of poor families of color who need the teachers to raise their kids for them, SiriusXM host Jess McIntosh chimed in. “Who chooses to do that in a party that needs black voters to win?
One user joked, “Joe Biden thinks Black families communicate with each other by grunt.”
CNN political analyst Angela Rye was equally bothered by Biden’s remarks and chided him for side-stepping the question.
“The fact that Joe Biden response would go to the same type of victim-blaming from conservatives for decades is sad,” she told host Jake Tapper in a recent interview. “I think it’s highly problematic that Joe Biden has not yet dealt with whether or not he has a black agenda.”
“When we talk about racism in this country, it is not about parents not knowing how to raise their children,” she continued. “And then for him to say that, on the stage at Texas Southern University, which is a historically black college which — shameless plug, I did the commencement speech this spring — I am just — I just don’t know if he’s not listening to his black advisers, because he has them.”
This isn’t the first time Biden has flubbed a question on the matter of race. Earlier this year, he faced backlash after boasting about his work with “proud” segregationists. The presidential candidate stuck his foot in his mouth yet again in August when he argued that “poor kids are just as smart” as white children.