Joe Biden embraced segregation in 1975, claiming it was a matter of 'black pride'

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  badfish-hd-h-u  •  3 years ago  •  63 comments

Joe Biden embraced segregation in 1975, claiming it was a matter of 'black pride'

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



J oe Biden, weighing a 2020 White House bid, once advocated continued school segregation in the United States, arguing that it benefited minorities and that integration would prevent black people from embracing “their own identity.”

Biden was speaking in 1975, when he opposed the federally mandated busing policy designed to end segregation in schools. In the past few decades, he has claimed he wanted desegregation but believed the policy of busing would not achieve it. Last year, he stated he had voted heroically to protect busing.

In 2008, after being chosen as Barack Obama's vice-presidential running mate   he said : "The struggle for civil rights was the animating political element of my life." He appears poised to make his civil rights record a centerpiece of any campaign, telling an audience in Fort Lauderdale this week that "I came out of the civil rights movement. He added that he first became aware of what an "awful thing" segregation was as a third grader, when he asked his mother why a bus was taking black children to a school away from where they lived.

But 44 years ago, facing a backlash against busing from white voters, the future vice president voiced concerns not just about the policy of busing, which he had supported when first seeking election in 1972, but about the impact of desegregation on American society. He argued that segregation was good for blacks and was what they wanted.

“I think the concept of busing … that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest, is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride,” said Biden. Desegregation, he argued, was “a rejection of the entire black awareness concept, where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied; and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity, their own individuality.”

Questioning whether he might be a racist, Biden said he had asked "the blacks on my staff" whether he harbored something "in me that’s deep-seated that I don’t know."

Biden's comments were made in an NPR interview discovered in congressional archives by the   Washington Examiner . They underline the perils of Biden, 76, mounting a 2020 campaign after a career spanning 36 years in the Senate and eight years as vice president, during which he gained a reputation for being rambling and verbose.

He mounted unsuccessful presidential bids in 1988 and 2008, never threatening to break away from the ranks of the also-rans, but if he runs this time, he will start as one of the favorites to win the Democratic nomination and face fierce scrutiny.

A spokesperson for Biden did not respond to requests for comment. This story will be updated if a response is received.  

Ronnie Dunn, an urban studies professor at the University of Cleveland and author of the book on northern segregation   Boycotts, Busing, & Beyond , said Biden was making a case in favor of maintaining segregation. “That’s how I interpret that argument,” Dunn told the   Washington Examiner . "That was an argument against desegregation.”

Dunn said opposition to busing was largely motivated by racism and that without the court-ordered policy “we likely would not have had a black president.” Had Biden's arguments prevailed, he might well not have become vice president in 2009. “What I find ironic is that [Biden] was the vice president under a president who, if it hadn’t been for the social interaction that occurred during the era of busing, I argue we likely would not have seen the election of Barack Obama," said Dunn.

He said Biden must address the issue if he runs for president. “People have to be held accountable," said Dunn. "We all evolve in our thinking and grow, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have to answer for our positions we held.”

Biden's Senate career began in 1973 when he was 30, the youngest age allowed by the Constitution. It was a different era. All 100 senators were men and the sole black senator, Edward Brooke, was a Republican. If Biden opts to run, he will face an African-American woman, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and a Samoan-American woman, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, as well as perhaps two black men, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Attorney General Eric Holder, and three white women, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

The NPR interview provides new insight into a little-explored chapter of Biden’s political career: His curious role as a leading opponent of a liberal cause celebre: federal school integration efforts in the decades following the Supreme Court’s   Brown v. Board of Education   ruling.

Biden said in the interview, during which he was speaking with Brooke, the African-American Republican senator, that "busing doesn’t work," but he went on to say he had a philosophical as well as a practical objection to it: Busing would lead to "a totally homogeneous society" that would be to the detriment of black people.

“There are those of we social planners who think somehow that if we just subrogate [sic] man’s individual characteristics and traits by making sure that a presently heterogeneous society becomes a totally homogeneous society, that somehow we’re going to solve our social ills," he said. “And quite to the contrary.”  

Biden's conclusion on busing, according to his own account, was not arrived at lightly. He claimed he spent “close to 300 hours” studying the issue before staking out a position against it.

He said he met with black members of his staff and asked if they thought he harbored hidden racial prejudices. "I give you my word as a Biden, I put in over 100 hours, by far — I would say close to 300 hours — on just torturing this [anti-busing concept]. Calling my staff together, and the blacks on my staff together, saying ‘Look, this is what I think. Do you think I am [racist]? Is there something in me that’s deep-seated that I don’t know?'"

The future vice president also claimed he had been an attorney for a member of the Black Panther Party. “It really is a hard, hard thing,” Biden said. “In law school I was considered a raging liberal. As a lawyer, I’m considered, gee, I must be wacky — who’d represent a member of the Black Panthers?” The   Washington Examiner   was unable to confirm whether Biden ever served as a lawyer for a member of the Black Panthers, a claim he has not made in recent decades.

Balick & Balick, a Wilmington, Del., law firm where Biden worked before joining the Senate, said it doesn’t have “any way to confirm this” because none of the current attorneys at the firm worked there during that era and it has not kept records from that time. Biden also served briefly as a public defender before entering politics.

Brooke was bemused by Biden's stance, saying, "I don’t think it’s a new liberalism to say that, you know, you can’t support busing." He added: "Actually, more than 40 percent ride buses to school every day. If it is used, he’s not against it for consolidation of schools, obviously he’s against it for the desegregation of schools."

When Biden ran for the Senate in 1972, he supported busing. But once elected, by a margin of just 1.4 percent, busing became a major political controversy as northern cities were forced to grapple with attempts to end segregation. In 1974 and 1975 there were riots in Boston and Louisville, Ky.

In 1974, a court-ordered integration plan thrust Wilmington into the maelstrom. Biden’s white constituents formed an angry anti-busing lobby. White parents shouted Biden down during a July 1974 meeting of the anti-busing New Castle County Neighborhood School Association, demanding to know what the senator was going to do to prevent their children from being reassigned to schools that had been majority black.

African-Americans comprised 14.3 percent of the population of Delaware in 1970,   according to U.S. Census Bureau data   — less than two-thirds what it is today. White voters in the state, on whom Biden's re-election in 1978 depended, overwhelmingly opposed busing.

Biden shifted his position to oppose busing while insisting he was in favor of desegregation.

"It enabled Biden to choose votes over principles, while acting as if he was not doing so,"   wrote University of New Hampshire professor Jacob Sokol . This sleight of hand paid dividends for Biden. He was re-elected by a whopping 16 percent of the vote in 1978. That same year, Brooke, who had never bowed to the anti-busing clamor from white voters in Massachusetts, lost the seat he had held since 1967.  

In September 1975, Biden supported an anti-busing amendment to a federal bill. It was proposed by Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, a segregationist until at least the 1960s and regarded by most to be a racist. Delighted by Biden's shift, Helms welcomed him "to the ranks of the enlightened."

That same month, Biden trumpeted his credentials with the African-American community in his state. “I still walk down the street in the black side of town,” he   told the Washington Post . “Mousey and Chops and all the boys at 13th, and — I can walk in those pool halls, and quite frankly don’t know another white man involved in Delaware politics who can do that kind of thing.”

Dunn, the urban studies professor, said: "I was really taken aback to find that he had actually introduced legislation with Jesse Helms. I was really struck by that. So he’s going to have to answer for his position on this matter on the campaign trail if he does in fact seek the presidency."

Biden also supported an anti-busing amendment by Sen. Robert Byrd, a senator from West Virginia and a Democrat who had renounced his racist past, which included being a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan and rising to the title of kleagle and exalted cyclops of his local chapter.

Tom Atkins, a Boston NAACP leader,   said in March 1975   that opposing busing was racist: "An anti-busing amendment is an anti-desegregation amendment, and an anti-desegregation amendment is an anti-black amendment."

Gary Orfield, a University of California, Los Angeles, political scientist and author of the 1978 book    Must We Bus: Segregated Schools and National Policy , told the   Washington Examiner that Biden’s comments about "black pride" and African-Americans wanting their "own identity" were common arguments against desegregation at the time. “This is one of the traditional conservative ways to oppose integration," said Orfield. “All of the surveys of African-Americans show virtually no preference for segregation. ... They favor integration," he said.

Biden had emerged as the first of a small group of liberal Democratic senators to support anti-busing laws in the 1970s and 1980s. He sponsored legislation on the issue, promised to fight for a constitutional amendment against the policy, and was profiled in the Washington Post as the “liberal who fights busing.”

Orfield, a Brookings Institute researcher in the 1970s and a prominent figure in the busing debate, argued that busing was the only realistic option to integrate schools and recalled trying to talk to Biden about the issue at the time. “[Biden] started talking about how this is like Vietnam, or something like that. Some dramatic statement,” said Orfield. “It’s sad, I think [Biden] has a real failure on this,” he added. “His was a sad loss of courage that many of the other liberals in the Senate did not experience.”  


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Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
1  seeder  Release The Kraken    3 years ago

The article is long, click on the link to read the rest.

So here is my question. Is this too long ago to cost Biden the nomination, or does it still matter? Is he a racist forever or did he grow as a man?

When is too long a go to matter, too long ago?

At what point do we move on and judge a person by who they are today? And can we judge them for who they are today?

 
 
 
arkpdx
PhD Participates
1.1  arkpdx  replied to  Release The Kraken @1    3 years ago

Depends of who you are. If you are conservative and/or a Republican, I anything you or any of your ancestors did it fair game to be used in condemnation regardless of how long in the past. If you are a luberal/progressive/democrat anything done was just a slight misjudgement and easily dismissed. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Release The Kraken @1    3 years ago
Is this too long ago to cost Biden the nomination, or does it still matter?

I will have to answer all the questions with the first one you asked. Joe Biden has not announced his candidacy yet and this very issue may be the reason why. You see the democratic party is ready to denounce and discard all of their fellow democrats who are in this position so that they can clear the decks and not be called out when they launch their 2020 Presidential campaign and use the slanderous charge of racism against President Trump as their main tactic. It is that simple

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3  Tessylo  replied to  Release The Kraken @1    3 years ago

Have you filled your quota of articles yet on the subject that everyone is a racist on the Democrat side and there are no racists on the Republicans side, yet?

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.2  Tessylo  replied to    3 years ago

I didn't ask you.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
1.3.3  Ender  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    3 years ago

512

According to people on the right, this was done thirty years ago so it shouldn't matter.

Yet what Biden said does matter....

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.4  Tessylo  replied to  Ender @1.3.3    3 years ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
1.3.6  seeder  Release The Kraken  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    3 years ago

Please comment on the topic and refrain from meta on this article.

 
 
 
Studiusbagus
Sophomore Participates
1.3.8  Studiusbagus  replied to  Tessylo @1.3    3 years ago

No. Two more and "ya get a toaster!"

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.9  Tessylo  replied to  Studiusbagus @1.3.8    3 years ago

deleted

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.11  Tessylo  replied to    3 years ago

???????????

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.3.12  Tessylo  replied to  Release The Kraken @1.3.6    3 years ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Studiusbagus
Sophomore Participates
1.4  Studiusbagus  replied to  Release The Kraken @1    3 years ago

If you're asking a serious set of questions I have about the same answers as I did with the other Biden thread.

Biden has great intentions, he's not a racist but we can see the right standing with a paint brush.

Biden's problem, and it will keep him from being president is that in his head he has good ideas, good intentions, a good heart.

Somewhere in the switches when it arrives at his mouth it's one more "Fucking big deal" gaffe.

I understood what he was saying at the time he said it. 

This was part of a much larger discussion at the time, so the convenience of taking this out of the hugely larger context has got to be just too tempting. With proper feeding to those who love dog whistles who knows? This could be the start of a whole new manufactured scandal.

In the context during that time was "Are we doing harm to the black community by blending to a loss of culture?"

The answers were "Yes, and No"..

I won't go in to the details but to come out swinging at Biden for participating in the discussion and seeing a side where culture has a part when you force blending. These details were obviously not discussed when busing started. The education leveled out and we are much more homogeneous society because of busing.

But it was a question of "did we do wrong by trying to do right?

Go ahead and wail away, he won't be the nominee, but if it gets you in practive, have at it.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Senior Guide
1.4.2  Snuffy  replied to  Studiusbagus @1.4    3 years ago

Biden's problem, and it will keep him from being president is that in his head he has good ideas, good intentions, a good heart.

Somewhere in the switches when it arrives at his mouth it's one more "Fucking big deal" gaffe.

So we're supposed to take him at what he does, not what he says?   Just want to be clear...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.4.3  JBB  replied to  Studiusbagus @1.4    3 years ago

By all accounts Joe Biden is an all around nice guy and a good egg.

So, the damn gop is determined to hate him. They're allergic to that.

 
 
 
Studiusbagus
Sophomore Participates
1.4.4  Studiusbagus  replied to  Snuffy @1.4.2    3 years ago
So we're supposed to take him at what he does, not what he says?   Just want to be clear...

No, not even close to clear.

Bidens words are correct, but taken way out of context to the discussion of the period.

And this question came like all reletively new situations. Did we do more harm than good by forcing integration?

Biden is certainly not the first or last of this discussion. But to take a ponderance and try to turn it in to a lifestyle while ignoring the factual history is just made and packaged for the synapsis denied folks.

 
 
 
Jasper2529
PhD Participates
1.5  Jasper2529  replied to  Release The Kraken @1    3 years ago
At what point do we move on and judge a person by who they are today? And can we judge them for who they are today?

Good questiions. Although the racism Biden expressed happened in the 1970s and 1980s, he also expressed racism toward Indians (7Eleven) and blacks (Obama being "sorta clean"; "gonna put y'all back in chains") on the Obama/Biden campaign trail. So, it doesn't seem that the young, racist Biden evolved into a tolerant, non-racist middle aged Biden over those years. 

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
2  pat wilson    3 years ago

This was 44 years ago.

In 1972 he lost his wife and baby girl in car accident. His two sons survived. In May of 2015 he lost one of his sons, Beau to brain cancer. 

Ask yourself if "he grew as a man".

 
 
 
Jasper2529
PhD Participates
2.2  Jasper2529  replied to  pat wilson @2    3 years ago

How do the deaths of his children and first wife relate to all of Biden's racist statements?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    3 years ago

Another pointless article on NT.

Is it the position of the consrvatives and libertarians on Newstalkers that if one opposes "busing" , or opposed busing, that person is a racist?  

Ooh, that stance might come back to bite some of y'all.

If Biden feels the need to address this story I am sure he will. In 1975 some people did promote black self expression etc , and the article says Biden may have done legal work for the Black Panthers, who probably opposed busing themselves.

This is , once again, much ado about nothing. It makes one wonder what all this race tinged bombardment on NT is about?  On the face of it seems like right wingers and libertarians and anarchists trying to rile up a lot of meaningless outrage.

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
3.2  seeder  Release The Kraken  replied to  JohnRussell @3    3 years ago

First of all John this was brought up originally by a left leaning site looking to discredit the more moderate Democrat.

The far left candidates want Biden out so it's going to be a campaign issue. Biden polling shows he beats Trump easy in the general election.

It's a legitimate conversation for 2020 whether you like it or not.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.3  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @3    3 years ago
'This is , once again, much ado about nothing. It makes one wonder what all this race tinged bombardment on NT is about?  On the face of it seems like right wingers and libertarians and anarchists trying to rile up a lot of meaningless outrage.'

That's it exactly.  It's all they have.  

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4  Ender    3 years ago

I like Biden but I have to say, every time I see that picture, it reminds me of this one,

512

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
6  CB     3 years ago

This is petty. Something is wrong with some of us.

  1. Context matters.
  2. Context matters.
  3. Context matters.
  4. If the only position is: "I will fight for fighting sake." We all lose, when life drains away from us.
  5. I lived through the era of busing (most of you did too). People in the 70's were saying a great many thinks - in and off - American television. Hell, Remember the quintessential American—Archie Bunker. In the seventies, Archie Bunker, George and "Weezi," J. J. Walker (Good Times), and on and on were consciousness dramas and consciousness songs pulling the hearts and minds of men and women, politicians too, into focus. 
  6. The operative word is, 'anachronism." Judge rightly or be an unfit judge!

So why are we going through politician's 'drawers' looking for stupid stuff to throw out on the floor? We used to reserve this kind of activity for the really lousy people in society. And, for the record, there were black families who did not approve of busing as a solution to the problem either.

I guess we have too much peace in this country. You think? Seems war or fear of war is the only think that can make some of us drop our rocks.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
7  Tessylo    3 years ago

'Got any facts?'

THAT'S HILARIOUS!

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
8  Texan1211    3 years ago

Hilarious because no one can produce them.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
9  Tessylo    3 years ago

Says the poster who provides facts, never.  

HIlarious!

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
10  Texan1211    3 years ago

Someone's upset that one of their heroes seems to be as racist as others.

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
12  seeder  Release The Kraken    3 years ago

Supporting segregation is racist as fuck. Good luck with that one.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
13  Tessylo    3 years ago

Joe Biden is no racist.  

 
 

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