Much attention has been rightfully devoted to bigoted comments former Vice President Joe Biden made during his Friday interview with “The Breakfast Club” when he had the audacity to say "Well I tell you what, If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black."
As a black man who voted for Donald J. Trump for president in 2016, and plans to do so in 2020, no 77-year-old white man from Delaware has the right, authority or rationale to question my blackness or the blackness of millions of Americans exercising our God-given right to be free and exercise our constitutionally granted power to vote for whomever we want, even if they are Republican.
If you only watch the sound bites of the interview, you miss his full-throated support and defense of the 1994 crime bill. Biden literally tried to convince black America that our communities weren't destroyed, black families weren't ripped apart, and black wealth was not stifled for generations because of a bill he designed.
Even the host from “The Breakfast Club” agrees. After the interview, host Charlamagne tha God said, “He really was one of the people on the front lines when it came to the war on drugs, and mass incarceration. If he wants to be president, he needs to fix that."
Joe Biden's record is a shame
The black community is well aware of the real impact of his signature legislation. The Center for American Progress sums it up: “The crime bill also expanded the school-to-prison pipeline and increased racial disparities in juvenile justice involvement by creating draconian penalties for so-called super predators — low-income children of color, especially black children, who are convicted of multiple crimes.”
Thanks to President Trump’s courageous leadership pushing for historic criminal justice reform and signing the First Step Act into law, he helped reverse the pain and suffering many black men and women experienced because of Biden’s bill.
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If Biden felt any remorse over what he helped do to the black community, he could have spent his next decades of service to Delaware to undo the damage, but he didn’t. If Biden was so connected, concerned, and passionate about helping and uplifting the black community he would have publicly pushed President Barack Obama to get criminal justice reform over the finish line, but he was silent.
Biden and the Democratic National Committee seem to look at black Americans just as votes and not as actual people, with brains, feelings and families. Liberal policies have not made it easier for black business owners to navigate fewer regulations, pay less in taxes, and be lifted out of poverty. Liberal policies were not responsible for historic low black unemployment, and the creation of opportunity zones. But the Trump administration did. So, Biden should not be asking black America to compare his record to that of Trump's.
Democrats try to scare black voters
What this entire episode shows us is Biden and his team are running scared of the continued black engagement efforts of the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign’s Black Voices for Trump Coalition, which are doing the work to build the relationships and amplify the record of achievement of this current administration. Biden is threatened. So, his latest voter intimidation tactic is to scare black voters into submission by attempting to take away our cultural identity if we do not vote for him.
Curiously, we have not heard from former President Obama, or from several of the black women who are rumored to be on Biden’s shortlist for vice president. So far, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, Florida Rep. Val Demings, and former Ambassador Susan Rice are keeping mum or giving him a pass. Why let bigoted comments get in the way of their own political interests?
Thankfully, Black Entertainment Television (BET) co-founder Bob Johnson called him out saying in part “This proves unequivocally that the Democratic nominee believes that black people owe him their vote without question; even though we as black people know it is exactly the opposite. He should spend the rest of his campaign apologizing to every black person he meets.”
Yes, Biden issued an apology, not for being a bigot, or offensive, rude or arrogant, but he only said, “I shouldn’t have been such a wise guy. I shouldn’t have been so cavalier.” A lackluster response to match his lackluster record of fighting for the black community.
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Add it to the list of racist things he has said as an elected official, like saying of his political opponents "They're gonna put y'all back in chains;" and talking about Obama as "the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy;" and "In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."
This is Joe Biden. These are not gaffes. His horrible record matches his horrible rhetoric. The contrast between him and President Trump on the issues of jobs, justice, the economy, historically black colleges and universities, and even pandemic management is one that Biden is not prepared to have, especially as he insults black Americans in the process.
Paris Dennard is a senior communications adviser for black media affairs at the Republican National Committee and the former White House director of black outreach for George W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter: @PARISDENNARD
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joe Biden’s 'you ain't black' comment is voter intimidation