By Oscar H. Blayton

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaking in his “aw shucks, I’m just Joe” style has set off a firestorm within the ranks of the Democratic presidential contenders.

During a June 18th fundraiser with wealthy potential donors, he lamented the lack of civility in government. To make his point, Biden recalled how well he got along with Southern segregationists in Congress, such as former Sens. James O. Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia. – This struck a sour note with many progressive and left-leaning Democrats.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey issued a statement calling for Biden to apologize for his insensitivity. Biden responded by demanding that Booker apologize to him for inferring that he is a racist.

New York City mayor and presidential candidate Bill de Blasio also weighed in, pointing out that the segregationists with whom Biden had a civil relationship thought that his multiracial family was illegal and that his children should not exist.

As quickly as criticism was raised against Biden, defenders came to his aid.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, an African American Democrat from S.C., argued that you have to work with people with whom you disagree in order to get things done.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi gave a more careful statement about Biden: and said: “If he was able to work with Eastland, he’s a great person.”

Several of the hosts of the television show, The View, jumped to the former vice president’s defense and resolutely declared that Biden is not a racist. But the issue here is not that Biden is a racist, and Booker did not call him a racist. What gives so many people concern about Biden is that he can be comfortable with racists without realizing that he is normalizing their hateful views.

The most glaring example of the tone-deafness of some of the advocates joining this debate is a statement made by T.V. host Joe Scarborough during the MSNBC show, Morning Joe.

Scarborough likened Joe Biden to former President Franklin D. Roosevelt when he said Roosevelt “had to deal with the same segregationists as we moved toward World War II to defeat Hitler.” But let’s take a moment to think about that statement.

President Roosevelt was willing to work with segregationists for the sake of the war effort. But Roosevelt, unlike the African American soldiers stationed in Southern states, was not humiliated and disrespected because of the color of his skin. Black G.I.s suffered the indignity of watching Nazi prisoners of war they were guarding sit down and eat meals in restaurants where the Black soldiers themselves were barred by law. Neither Roosevelt nor Joe Biden nor Joe Scarborough had a relative treated with less respect than the enemies fighting to destroy our country – a country that African Americans were giving their lives to defend.

People like Franklin Roosevelt, Joe Biden and Joe Scarborough can survive in the depths of a racist nation because they, like the segregationists they “work with,” are configured for survival. They are “Creatures of the Deep.” They live and thrive in a racist America that is like the bottom of a deep ocean – an environment where such great pressure is exerted, only those equipped with protective shells can survive. And while that protective cover may be the hard exoskeleton of a lobster at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, in America, that protective cover is white skin.

If Joe Scarborough gave an ounce of consideration to this issue, would he conclude that all Americans were setting aside their differences and prejudices in order to defeat Hitler during World War II?

Of course, Joe Biden could be civil with Sens. Eastland and Talmadge – because Joe Biden is white. But if Biden gave the slightest bit of thought to the matter, would he really believe those staunch segregationists would have shown the same civility and respect to a Black senator?

Mayor de Blasio put it very clearly when he said that Biden’s comments show he’s “out of step with the values of the modern Democratic Party.”

The criticism of Joe Biden is not that he is a racist, but that he is a creature of the deep, blithely swimming around without noticing that others are being crushed by the enormous weight of racism. And if he does not have enough empathy to recognize human suffering, why should anyone think that he deserves to lead a nation as diverse as America?

Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia.

Photo credit:

Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top