Joe Biden said in an interview the other day that:
Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly diverse attitudes about different things. You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration than you do in Arizona. So it’s a very diverse community.
This generated a lot of American coverage, although significantly less than it would have had such pearls dropped from the lips of the incumbent.
A senior Biden campaign adviser, Symone Sanders, tried to smooth things over by explaining in a statement that:
If you look at the full video and transcript, it’s clear that Vice President Biden was referring to diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries. The video that is circulating is conveniently cut to make this about racial diversity but that’s not the case.
I don’t think Sanders did Biden any favors with that statement, because it doesn’t make sense.
Sanders tells us that the veep was talking about a diversity of attitudes among Latinos from different Latin American countries. I’ll make the charitable assumption that Sanders intended to at least imply that Biden was talking about the diversity of attitudes about American politics among legal American immigrants (and their descendants) from different Latin American countries. That is: an American immigrant from Cuba will likely have a different political outlook than an American immigrant from Ecuador, for example. That’s reasonable.
But only moments after his campaign responded to POLITICO on his interview, Biden again contrasted Latino and Black Americans — this time explicitly on the topic of national and cultural origin.
“We can build a new administration that reflects the full diversity of our nation. The full diversity of the Latino communities,” Biden said. “Now when I mean full diversity, unlike African American community, many other communities, you’re from everywhere. From Europe. From the tip of South America, all the way to our border and Mexico and in the Caribbean. And different backgrounds, different ethnicities, but all Latinos.”
Because Africa’s just one little country, y’all, from the Cape of Good Hope to the shores of Tripoli.
Still later Biden would dial that back both of those statements in a Tweet thread that included the statement: “In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith — not by identity, not on issues, not at all.”
Twice the man said that unlike the black community, the Latino community was diverse. The “unlike” had to mean something, so saying that he didn’t mean to imply the black or African American community (he uses both terms) is monolithic “at all” just doesn’t fit the statements he actually made.
He also seems to imply that the Latino communities are diverse because they come from a lot of different countries, as though black Americans lack geographical diversity. As though the differences between Liberia and South Africa, or Mauritania and Ethiopia, were less than the differences between Chile and San Salvador, or Argentina and Nicaragua. Or as though blacks in Florida are interchangeable with blacks in Arizona.
This comes not long after his having said in an interview that if you don’t know whether to vote for him or Trump, “you ain’t black.” Which generated some pushback, but also some support.
And he got some surprising support for this most recent bungle:
I’m with the conservative Hodge twins on this. In fact, I agree with everything they say in that video (although I wish they’d addressed the weird geographic assumptions built into Joe’s statements and retractions). So much so that I have nothing further to add.
Because the purpose of this blog compels me to note that these recent stumbles by Biden haven’t been covered at all on Danish media.
That’s editorial discretion. Fine. But do you think they’d have been as quiet if Donald Trump had said “If you don’t know whether to vote for me or Biden, you ain’t [blank],” regardless of the adjective filling in that blank? Or if he’d said, verbatim, exactly what Biden had said about the relative diversity of Latinos and blacks?
If you answered yes, you ain’t payin’ attention.