Former Vice President and presidential contender Joe Biden is getting a new wave of backlash after doubling down on a racist trope about Black parents.
In a New York Times interview, Biden claimed Black parents are unwilling to support their children's education because they did not receive one themselves.
Biden made the suggestion, one he sourced to his wife who works in education, that poorer parents wouldn't want to show the level of necessary support due to embarrassment.
"[They] don’t show up because they’re embarrassed," Biden said. "They’re embarrassed the teacher’s going to say — and it’s hard to say, ‘Well, I can’t read.’”
The editorial board conducting the interview attempted to give Biden a way to walk back his seemingly problematic statements, responding that minority parents may instead just be working second jobs to make ends meet. Biden, however, continued down the path of arguing to the merits of the absentee parent.
“Well, that’s true, but there’s also a good deal of it, and check with the educators," Biden said. "There’s a good deal they just don’t know what to say, many of them. They don’t show up.”
The information used by Biden goes against research from Rice University showing Black and Latino parents were more likely to emphasize the importance of postsecondary education.
“The survey provides no evidence whatsoever to support the belief that [Black or Latino people] do not value education as much as [Anglo-Saxon] and [Asian people] do,” said survey Author Stephen Klineberg, Kinder Institute co-director and Rice professor of sociology. “The educational disparities have much more to do with resources and income inequalities than with any presumed differences in aspirations or values.”
The mistake harkens back to a moment during the third Democratic debate where Biden argued the way to address the legacy of enslavement and segregation was to "play the record player" and to “make sure kids hear words.”