Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is mulling a run in the 2020 Democratic primaries, is coming under fire for his old views on desegregation. Back in the 1970s, desegregation was being rolled out across much of the United States, leading to tensions within communities.
Then Delaware Senator Joe Biden was one of the leading voices against “busing.” Through busing, some black students were taken to predominately white districts, while some white students were taken to predominately black districts. The policy was supposed to speed up desegregation but drew controversy, especially from white communities.
Joe Biden emerged as one of the strongest critics of busing. In 1975, Biden made a comment to a Delaware newspaper that might come back to haunt him: “I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers. In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race.’ I don’t buy that.”
Meanwhile, reparations are emerging as a hot topic in the 2020 Presidential race. Many Democratic candidates have expressed support for some form of reparations. Back in 1975, Biden had this to say: “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather. I feel responsible for what the situation is today, for the sins of my own generation. And I’ll be damned if I feel responsible to pay for what happened 300 years ago.”
While the comments were made decades ago, Biden will likely have to answer for them in today’s charged political environment. Biden’s views then seem to be out of step with today’s increasingly progressive Democratic Party.