Biden’s Words Spark Controversy

Comments on diversity in Black, Latino communities draw fire

By Akayla Gardner

Former Vice President Joe Biden was pressed by a group of four reporters in a headline-making conversation during the joint virtual convention of the  National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists on Thursday.

Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, faced backlash for his comments on diversity in political attitudes within Black and Latino communities.

“Unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about certain different things,” Biden said. “You go to Florida you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do then when you’re in Arizona.”

His comments came in response to a line of questioning by NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Biden’s plans to engage with Cuba and Latino voters, especially those in Florida, on the issue of providing Cuban migrants temporary protection status. 

Senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders told Politico in a statement that the video circling online was “conveniently cut to make this about racial diversity but that’s not the case.”

Sanders said Biden was referring to diversity in opinion among Latin American countries.

Biden tweeted out a clarification, stating, “In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all.”

According to the Pew Research Center, 26% of Latinos and 6% of Black people voted for President Trump in 2016.

Biden, the right-hand of the nation’s first Black president Barack Obama, found himself apologizing to the Black community in May after he said in a Breakfast Club interview, “if you have a problem figuring out if you’re for me or for Trump, you ain’t black.”

While some saw the comment as a joke, others felt the comment exposed that Biden takes the Black vote for granted—a community credited with reviving his campaign with a primary win in South Carolina ahead of Super Tuesday.

“What I think is true is that Biden and the Democratic Party takes for granted that the overwhelming majority of Black Americans will vote their way,” Steven Woods, a Texas voter, wrote on Twitter.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden stopped by the convention for a chat with some of the best journalists from both NABJ and NAHJ. With less than ninety days until the November election, Biden was pressed by reporters about his race for the white house. Here are a few clips from that 54-minute interview.

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