Joe Biden Says Racism In America is a White Man's Problem

Former Vice President Joe Biden told reporters institutional racism in America is a “white man’s problem.”

During an August 27 interview with reporters at his campaign office in downtown Washington, DC, Biden said that white supremacy and racism have always been around in America, Politico reported.

“It’s real,” Biden told reporters. “It’s there, and the only way — from the founding of this country to today — you deal with it is you attack it. You expose it. You embarrass it. You put people in jail when they engage in things that are illegal when they’re doing it — you call them out. And most of all, you call it out to our children.”

“Silence is complicity,” he noted.

Biden criticized President Donald Trump for his racist rhetoric, saying institutional racism in the US is "overwhelmingly a white man's problem visited on people of color,” USA Today reported.

“What presidents say matter. Words matter,” Biden told reporters. “They can make markets rise and fall, they can send people to war, they can, in fact, enliven a nation, they can enrich a nation, they can, in fact, also appeal to the worst damn instincts in human nature.

To appeal to Black voters, Biden said he will advertise in Black publications and engage himself in the Black community by attending Black churches and historically Black colleges and universities, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

“The bad news is I have a long record. The good news is I have a long record,” Biden said when asked about his support of Black voters, according to the AP. “People know me — at least they think they know me. I think after all this time, I think they have a sense of what my character is, who I am.”

“I’ve never, ever, ever in my entire life been in a circumstance where I’ve ever felt uncomfortable being in the Black community,” he continued.

Biden has faced criticisms in the presidential race regarding his past. Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, Democratic contenders in the 2020 election, have called out Biden for issues like his remarks on public school busing and integration, The New York Times previously reported.

Other Democratic presidential candidates have detailed proposals to end white supremacy and racism. In August, Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro unveiled a new plan to combat white supremacy and end gun violence. The plan, titled the “People First Plan to Disarm Hate,” was released just a few days after 31 people were killed in two back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

“This horrific tragedy is not an isolated incident. White nationalism is on the rise while military-grade firearms are more easily available than ever,” Castro wrote in his proposal. “The gun violence epidemic is devastating families and communities in big cities and small towns, and an entire generation is growing up afraid for their safety no matter where they live.” The former Housing and Urban Development secretary’s plan invests in cross-cultural exchanges with communities so people can have an opportunity to better understand people from different cultures, CBS News previously reported.

“I think that we can catch it sooner, before it actually turns into violence,” he said. “I think, when we’re talking about changing the hearts and the minds of people that are headed down the road of white nationalism, that means that we have to be better about ensuring that people are exposed to different ideas and different types of people in our country.”

Castro’s plan proposes to establish a White House Initiative on Disarming Hate, to “coordinate programs between the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Education, Health and Human Services, State, the intelligence community and other agencies with dedicated funding of at least $100 million a year and staff for a composite approach that centers civil liberties, privacy, transparency, and positive outreach to communities.”

The proposal also commits the US to work with international partners in combating the spread of violent extremism, which includes joining the Christchurch Call international agreement. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern first launched the Christchurch Call after the mass shooting at two Christchurch mosques in March killed over 50 people, NPR previously reported.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.