When Joe Biden Said ‘Poor Kids’ Are Just As Bright As ‘White Kids’
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a prominent contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, faced scrutiny once upon a time for remarks he made on the campaign trail. During a speech to the Asian and Latino Coalition group in Des Moines, Iowa, Biden made a huge blunder that raised eyebrows. He commented, “We should challenge students in these schools… We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” After a brief pause, he corrected himself, “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids – no, I really mean it, but think how we think about it.”
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This comment accumulated criticism from all directions, comprising of both political allies and rivals Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City and a fellow Democratic candidate for the presidency, expressed his concerns via Twitter, stating, “'Poor' kids are just as bright and talented as white kids? To quickly dismiss @JoeBiden’s words as a mere 'slip of the tongue' is as concerning as what he said. We need to have a real conversation about the racism and sexism behind 'electability'.” Biden talked about the discrimination faced by people with low income during his speech in Iowa, which focused on highlighting the problems faced by poor people. However, the shocking part was his choice of words led to a problematic moment when he said that poor kids are as bright as white kids. As per The New York Times, he clarified asserting, “Wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids,” which pointed out that he did not do that on purpose.
According to The Guardian, at that time, Trump's campaign benefitted from his blunder and claimed it as part of a larger pattern of racist insensitive remarks by Biden. Trump, who was President at that time responded to that incident, indicating that Biden was not suitable for the post of president and claimed his comments as incoherent. Biden’s team tried to clear his statement, with Kate Bedingfield, his deputy campaign manager, asserting he clearly “misspoke and immediately corrected himself”. Trump, she added, was “desperate to change the subject from his atrocious record of using racism to divide this country”. This is not the first instance of Joe Biden's verbal gaffes. Earlier on the same day, he mistakenly referred to Theresa May as “Margaret Thatcher,” confusing two former British Prime Ministers. During the recent Democratic primary debates, he directed viewers to visit a non-existent website.
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As per NBC, while these verbal missteps can often be taken lightly, issues surrounding race are more complex and sensitive. Biden's past statements, including his description of President Barack Obama as the “first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean,” have been scrutinized. His historical positions on topics like school busing and criminal justice have also faced criticism, although he remains popular among older African-American voters. Biden's statement, although met with applause from the audience he was addressing, was quickly picked up by the Trump campaign, leading to a heated exchange between the two camps. The incident underscores the importance of language and messaging in a highly charged political landscape, where every word and phrase is dissected and debated.
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