by Margaret Kimberley, published on Black Agenda Report, December 16, 2020
Joe Biden’s arrogant, racist tone is a bizarre reflection of systemic racism in our society and especially among those in leadership positions. Sadly, I am quite certain he doesn’t hear it himself.[jb]
The civil rights groups’ rather basic requests for voting rights protections and the need for federal intervention to address police brutality were minimized and dismissed by the president-elect.
“Politicians love to use a beat down of black people as a signal to white people.”
Joe Biden is nothing if not consistent. He has always been an unreconstructed racist and a crass mediocrity. Barack Obama had to admit that he chose Joe Biden as his running mate despite knowing that he is “not always self-aware.”
Biden certainly wasn’t aware or didn’t care about either his demeanor or the substance of his discussions with people referred to as civil rights leaders recently. He and Kamala Harris met with Derrick Johnson, Vanita Gupta, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sherrilyn Ifill, Melanie Campbell, Marc Morial, Kristen Clarke, and Cedric Richmond. The supposedly confidential meeting was leaked to the media and can now be seen on youtube.
No one ever steps forward and admits to leaking anything as important as a recording with a president elect, but someone did just that. There is conjecture that Biden did the deed himself, so as to accomplish what Bill Clinton did with his Sister Souljah moment used to embarrass Jesse Jackson. It is also akin to Barack Obama’s continued finger wagging and demeaning of black people. Politicians love to use a beat down of black people as a signal to white people. They are then reassured that black people will not receive any consideration they consider worthwhile or threatening to their interests.
“It is akin to Barack Obama’s continued finger wagging and demeaning of black people.”
Regardless of the identity of the leaker, it is very important that the meeting was made public. We saw in real time the problematic nature of what passes for leadership. They began with platitudes crediting Biden with being a supporter of civil rights, which he never was, to advocating for Covid vaccine usage without acknowledging the complexities which make black people cautious about taking it. The group’s rather basic requests for voting rights protections and the need for federal intervention to address police brutality were minimized and dismissed by the man that millions of black people helped to win the presidency.
Biden exhibited his usual cringe worthiness during the meeting. “White Europeans will be in the minority by 2040. You all will have to learn to work with Hispanics. Who make up a larger percentage of the population than you do.”During his campaign Biden at one point spoke of Latinos as being more “diverse” than blacks and one would assume more worthy of his attention. Not content to tell black people that they mattered less than another group, he added his own Bidenesque bizarre commentary such as an assertion that “biracial commercials,” his words, were proof of progress.
“You all will have to learn to work with Hispanics. Who make up a larger percentage of the population than you do.”
In a loud voice and in the manner of a bullying boss Biden dashed any hopes that he would use executive orders to enact policies that he can’t get passed because of Republican congressional opposition. He accused Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, of not reading his policy paper because she disagreed with him. He was vehement about not using the power of executive orders to thwart congressional Republicans and claimed concerns about constitutionality as an excuse for doing as little as he possibly can.
Biden didn’t call anyone a “dog faced pony soldier” or advocate that police aim to shoot in the legs. Nor did he resurrect Corn Pop. We must be thankful for small favors. But Biden is still the bigot who warned of a “racial jungle.”
In a hectoring tone Biden claimed that the assembled group shouldn’t expect him to do very much at all. Even their meager demand of black cabinet officials was met with insult, “If it doesn’t count for y’all to hell with y’all,”said the man that the black political class supported and defended. Al Sharpton helped by praising Cedric Richmond, who Biden promised to have at “every meeting,” and vouched for Biden and Harris as being substantive people. Sharpton played his role of scoundrel, making the case that black people should not only get jobs but ought to be held to the same weak ethical standards as crooked white people. In case there was any question about where his loyalties lie, he added, “I will never embarrass you.” We can translate that to mean that Sharpton is on board with anything that Master Biden should want. Such a pledge would not be uttered by anyone who wants to make real change.
“If it doesn’t count for y’all to hell with y’all.”
No canard was left untouched either. Biden promised to do little in the way of reforming the police. “That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we’re talking about defunding the police.” Democrats do everything they can to marginalize the left but when they lose, blame the very people whom they have excluded to explain away their own failures.
Biden came across as a plantation owner telling the field hands that they have a good life and ought to be grateful. That is who Biden has been ever since he was elected to the Senate in the early 1970s. As for dismissing demands from black people, he honed those skills as Obama’s vice president.
There will be no salvation for black people with a Biden administration. Neo-liberalism and vague efforts on what passes for civil rights are all that can be expected. We heard it straight from the plantation master’s mouth.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. Her new book, Prejudential, looks at the history of US Presidents treatment of people of color. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. She is a member of the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Movement. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.