Joe Biden has spoken out about racism in modern-day America saying, “white America has to admit there’s still a systematic racism,” at an event to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Biden was speaking at a breakfast event held in Washington, D.C., according to the Daily Mail. He also took the opportunity to apologize for his role in the 1994 Crime Bill, which many now blame for the large-scale incarceration of a generation of African-Americans.
Biden was the head of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee when the Crime Bill was approved and signed into law.
“It was a big mistake that was made,” he admitted yesterday. “It’s trapped an entire generation.”
He went on to cite sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenses as just one example of racial injustice in the U.S. and added that such injustices go “almost unnoticed by so many of us.”
Biden was not the only prospective Democratic presidential candidate to speak out on issues relating to racism on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gave an impassioned speech in Harlem, New York, alongside the Reverand Al Sharpton.
She said, “we have to have an honest conversation about systemic, institutional and daily individual acts of racism in our country that hold people and families back for generations,” before going on to launch a furious attack on President Donald Trump accusing him of inspiring “hate and darkness.”
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders lavished praise on King’s campaign to end racial inequality along with his opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
“Racial equality must be central to combatting economic inequality, if we are going to create a government that works for all of us, and not just the 1 percent,” said Sanders.
He too took the opportunity to condemn President Trump, saying he was “a racist” who was trying “to divide us up by the color of our skin, by our gender, by the country we came from, by our religion.”
While Sanders’ presence in South Carolina strongly hints at another presidential run, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren chose to stay in home territory in Boston. She used her speech to criticize systematic attacks on black people’s right to vote.
“People of color have been systematically denied the most basic of human rights: the right to vote,” she declared before calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would guarantee the right to vote for every American, regardless of race.