Two Politico writers accused President Joe Biden of having “white privilege” in the outlet’s Monday edition of Transition Playbook.
The article, written by Alex Thompson and Theodoric Meyer, begins by talking about how Biden has talked more about race during his first few weeks in office “than any president in recent memory.”
It’s true – the president signed an executive order resurrecting the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in order to combat systematic racism (among other things), mentioned white supremacy during his inauguration speech and rescinded the President Donald Trump administration’s 1776 Commission report on “patriotic education” as part of Biden’s first-day executive order aimed at advancing “racial equity.”
We’ve never fully lived up to the founding principles of this nation, but our Administration is committed to finishing the work left undone. It’s long past time to confront deep racial inequities and systemic racism and fulfill the promise of America for all. #BlackHistoryMonth
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 2, 2021
Thompson and Meyer say that it makes sense for Biden to talk so bluntly about race and racism because the country has been having more conversations about racial justice in recent years. That includes the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd and the recent discussions about anti-Asian hate crimes. (RELATED: Joe Biden’s History On Race Looms As He Weighs Presidential Bid)
“But it’s also less risky for Biden to condemn racism because — let’s be blunt about it — he’s white,” the authors wrote. “When Biden’s then boss, Barack Obama, was confronting similar issues a decade ago, he often felt constrained in discussing racism — fearful that his involvement would only inflame matters and turn off white voters.”
When Attorney General Eric Holder said in 2009 that “in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Obama responded in the New York Times by saying that “if I had been advising my attorney general, we would have used different language.”
Obama walked back remarks he made criticizing the Cambridge police over the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Originally, Obama said that the police had “acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.”
“You would have thought that in the press conference I had donned a dashiki and cussed out the police myself,” Obama said in his book, referring to the backlash he received for his comments about the police.
“While some Republicans and conservative commentators have accused Biden of playing the race card and suggested he and Democrats are discriminating against white people, the political backlash does not appear nearly as severe,” Thompson and Meyer wrote. “Polls show 55 percent of the country still approves of Biden’s handling of issues around race.”