Politics

‘Explicitly Racist’ — Joe Biden Is Getting Heat Over His Answer To Reparations Question

Justin Caruso Contributor

Former Vice President Joe Biden is being criticized by some members of the pundit class after he gave an  allegedly racist answer to a question about reparations during the Democratic debate this week.

During the debate Thursday, ABC’s Linsey Davis asked Biden a question about reparations for African-Americans, to which the Delaware politician gave a long, meandering answer, at one point appearing to tell black parents to play the “record player” for their children.

“We bring social workers into homes, parents to help them deal with how to raise their children,” Biden suggested.

He continued:

It’s not want 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, the phone, make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school – a very poor background will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time we get there.

While some simply poked fun at Biden’s strange use of “record player,” other pundits found that answer to be condescending towards African Americans.

TIME Magazine editor and MSNBC analyst Anand Giridharadas went after Biden for that answer in a tweet thread, accusing him of racism.

“Joe Biden’s answer on how to address the legacy of slavery was appalling — and disqualifying. It ended in a sermon implying that black parents don’t know how to raise their own children. This cannot go on,” Giridharadas said. The commentator also tweeted, “Is this not one of the most explicitly racist moments of all time in a Democratic primary debate?”

“It is a whole new level of racism to say that the way to repair the legacy of slavery is for black people to stop refusing to give music to their kids,” he said.

Jamil Smith, a writer for Rolling Stone, published a column calling for Biden to drop out of the race due to his rhetoric on race.

“Yes, I’m serious. We have a racist president with racist policies, and Democrats need an antiracist nominee. @JoeBiden keeps showing us that he isn’t up to the task. His debate meltdown proved that once again. He should step aside. The stakes are too high,” Smith said in a tweet.

CNN’s Angela Rye called the answer “victim-blaming.”

“I think it also is highly problematic that Joe Biden has not yet dealt with whether or not he has a black agenda,” she added.

Other commentators jumped on Biden as well.

“Post debate narrative seems to be about how Castro is a meanie, meanwhile, Biden had a meltdown on stage,” New York Times writer Jamelle Bouie said in a tweet.

“If you’re more upset about Julián’s tone towards VP Biden and not the content of Biden’s answer on slavery and Black families you’re probably white. So let’s try something. Pretend you’re Black. Now go read what Biden said about Black families. Now try the analysis again…” MSNBC’s Zerlina Maxwell tweeted.

“Watched hours of old Biden tape talking about race for our crime bill/busing stories. He has largely eradicated his language from that era in favor of rhetoric about institutional racism and injustice. But last night, in this answer, you basically saw new and old Biden back to back,” New York Times writer Astead Wesley said.

“Biden repeats a commonly cited claim that poor kids grow up hearing fewer words than more affluent kids. You’ve probably heard this, I’ve heard it. I wasn’t aware of the history until today. Read about why it’s flawed and widely disputed,” CNN’s Abby Phillip said.

The 76-year-old has faced a number of questions about his record on racial issues.

While Biden enjoys high support from many black voters, there are still concerns about his past support for the 1994 Crime Bill and his celebration of his work with segregationist politicians. (RELATED: Joe Biden’s History On Race Looms As He Weighs Presidential Bid)