Biden's inconvenient Democratic truth: 'You ain't black'
Why did Joe Biden feel the need to offer contrition after his "you ain't black" comments directed at black voters who might dare vote for President Donald Trump? Wasn't he just telling the Democratic Party's inconvenient truth on matters of race and identity politics?
The former vice president and presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential candidate did make noises that sounded like some sort of apology. He said he was too "cavalier" and acted like a "wiseguy." But it wasn't a real apology.
Still, he had to at least make those sounds of contrition, after telling African-American voters that if they don't support him "then you ain't black."
You ain't black? Yes, it's racist. But no more racist than Biden using that same ridiculous fake Southern accent of his to tell black voters that Republican Mitt Romney would enslave them.
"Put y'all back in chains," Biden said in 2012.
He's not alone in using accents when talking down to people. Hillary Clinton did the same.
There's nothing quite like an old white liberal telling black people what to think and how to behave.
Many on the left condemned Biden's remarks. But not all. Some pundits who write exclusively about race and nothing else seemed to avoid it. And others just reached for another steaming platter of Orange Man Bad rather than deal with Biden's "you ain't black." It's natural for humans to avoid pain.
The lesson from all of this is that what came from Biden's witless lips is the Democratic Party's most inconvenient truth: Minorities must think and vote the way they're told by the Democratic Party. And if they don't, they're demeaned, ridiculed as traitors to their race or ethnicity or their gender. There is nothing new about this. It's been going on for years. Women who don't support abortion, or who might support the appointment of a conservative Supreme Court justice, are demeaned.
The distinguished economist Thomas Sowell was also demeaned as was Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas Jr. for daring to think freely. Black conservative talk radio host Larry Elder has also been demeaned for decades, although now I just can't wait to see his documentary, "Uncle Tom."
Biden reveals the Democratic Party lash, which separates Americans into herdable groups for votes, based on skin pigment or gender. The lash is there to shame the old and teach the young a lesson about pain to come.
Years ago, I knew a young African American politician from Chicago who was campaigning for a South Side congressional seat against a do-nothing hack. The young candidate was well-spoken. He was progressive, he studied law at Harvard, and on paper he should have won. But he was stained by repeated accusations that he just wasn't black enough.
White Democrats didn't do this to him. Black Democrats did it. Barack Obama never forgot it.
"There's no one way to be black. Take it from somebody who's seen both sides of debate about whether I'm black enough," said President Obama in a 2016 commencement address at Howard University.
Biden made his comments while a guest on the popular radio show "The Breakfast Club" hosted by Charlamagne tha God. Biden was pressed about daring to consider Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar as his running mate when other African-American politicians were available. Biden was in his basement, doing a remote.
"If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black," Biden said.
Watching, Biden's handlers must have been shouting as Biden revealed himself to Charlamagne tha God, "turn it off...turn it off!!!"
But it was too late. You can't unhear it.
They tried to spin their way out of it, with some saying it was in "jest." And Trump jumped on it with both feet, his campaign issuing #youain'tblack T-shirts to black political volunteers. Liberal heads exploded.
Black Republicans grabbed the issue to pound Biden. And black Democrats seized it to leverage their African-American candidates for Biden's running mate.
Somewhere, I imagine Klobuchar crying over Biden's remarks. But if indeed she wept, whether they were tears of relief, or not, who can say?
John Kass is a columnist for the Tribune Content Agency.