Former Vice President Joe Biden claimed Saturday that he was a desegregationist, despite the fact that he opposed mandatory busing and seemed to embrace segregation in 1975.
During a Delaware Democratic Party fundraising dinner, Biden spoke about the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, stating, “I played a very big part in the civil rights movement in this state, on the east side, being engaged in early desegregation efforts and the like. But I thought five years ago I would … never see anything like what happened in one of the historic cities in America.”
Biden’s own comments from the 1970s, however, seem to dispute the notion that he was working to end segregation.
The Washington Examiner reported in January that Biden once argued to NPR that school segregation benefited black people and allowed them retain the integrity of their communities.
“I think the concept of busing … that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest, is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride,” Biden said, also stating that desegregation was “a rejection of the entire black awareness concept, where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied; and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity, their own individuality.”
Biden made similar remarks during a 1975 interview with U.S. News & World Report, indicating that he believed federal mandates to bus black students to majority white schools were more harmful than they were beneficial. (RELATED: Joe Biden’s History On Race Looms As He Weighs Presidential Run)
“Common sense says to the average American: ‘The idea that you make me part of a racial percentage instead of a person in a classroom is asinine,'” Biden argued. “In addition, busing also is damaging because it spends on transportation money that could be better spent on new textbooks and other educational improvements.”
On segregation, Biden suggested efforts to desegregate could backfire by resulting in “heightened racial tension.”
“You get whites saying: ‘I know why it’s happening. It’s those goddarned civil-rights people. It’s those damn liberals.’ Then, after there’s turmoil, with school days missed, teachers not showing up, it degenerates into: ‘It’s those blacks,'” Biden claimed.