Biden: Racism in U.S. is institutional, ‘white man’s problem’
Washington – Racism in America is an institutional “white man’s problem visited on people of color,” Vice President Joe Biden said, arguing that the way to attack the issue is to defeat President Donald Trump and hold him responsible for deepening the nation’s racial divide.
Taking aim at incendiary racial appeals by Trump, Biden said in an interview with a small group of reporters on Tuesday that a president’s words can “appeal to the worst damn instincts of human nature,” just as they can move markets or take a nation into war.
Biden is leading his Democratic challengers for the presidential nomination in almost all polls, largely because of the support of black voters. He has made appealing to them central to his candidacy and vowed to make maximizing black and Latino turnout an “overwhelming focus” of his effort. The interview, more than an hour long, focused largely on racial issues.
“White folks are the reason we have institutional racism,” Biden said. “There has always been racism in America. White supremacists have always existed, they still exist.” He added later that in his administration, it would “not be tolerated.”
By highlighting the nation’s racial tensions and placing blame on Trump, Biden is showing that he, too, is willing to make race a core campaign issue, but from the opposite perspective of the Republican president. Turnout and enthusiasm among black voters will be critical for the Democratic nominee, notably to try to reclaim states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. He also emphasized a crossover appeal to both black voters and non-college-educated white voters.
To accentuate his appeal to black voters, Biden said that he will advertise in black publications and engage with cultural institutions like the black church, black fraternities and sororities, and historically black colleges.
Biden was also asked whether he would select a woman or person of color as his running mate should he become the nominee. He said that while he would “preferably” do so, he is ultimately seeking a partner on the ticket who is “simpatico with what I stand for and what I want to get done.”