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Tipsheet

Biden Raises Eyebrows for Racial Comment During Black History Month Event

Jacquelyn Martin, Pool

President Biden raised some eyebrows on Monday after making an awkward racial remark at the White House for a Black History event.

While highlighting the influence of the Divine Nine—the group of historically black fraternities and sororities—Biden said, “I may be a white boy, but I’m not stupid. I know where the power is … you think I’m joking. I learned a long time ago about the Divine Nine.”

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The comments came as he was introducing civil rights and business leaders. 

And, by the way, I’ve worked a long time with the presidents of my home state HBCU, Delaware State.  (Applause.)  Now, I — by the way, you said you played basketball.  I want to introduce you to an All-American.  Come here, pal.  (Laughter.)

(The President invites Ted Blunt to the stage.)

 See this guy here?  (Applause.)  He’s better than Tiny Archibald.  This guy is — first-team, all- — — not a joke.  Not a joke.  He would have been playing pro ball, except his feet got flatter when he got older.  (Laughter.)

His one daughter ran my office in Delaware for a long time.  The reason I’m here.  And his second daughter here happens to be the Congressman from the state of Delaware.  (Applause.)

 But this guy — not only can he play ball, the reason his daughters have this kind of, I don’t know, spark to change the world is because he did that too.  So, anyway, I wanted to —

 MR. BLUNT:  Thank you, sir.

 THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, pal.  Good to see you.  (Applause.)

You know, I know — I know real power when I see it: the Divine Nine.  (Applause.)  We’re honored to have presidents — all the presidents here tonight.  I want to thank you for the — and, by the way, you know I’m not — I may be a white boy, but I’m not stupid.  (Laughter.)  I know where the power is.  I know where the po- — you think I’m joking.  I learned a long time ago about the Divine Nine.  (Laughter.)  And that’s why I spent so much time at Delaware State, campaigning and organizing my campaign in Delaware. 

But all the presidents are here.  I think we’re — I know — I don’t think, I know we are the first administration in history to not only ha- — and to have all the presidents here at one time, but we have a permanent officer here for the Divine Nine.  (Applause.) (White House)

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The line is just the latest in a series of questionable racial remarks, which notably include him telling African Americans they "ain't black" if they didn't case their vote for him in the 2020 election, once calling Barack Obama the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” repeatedly referring to various black people as “boy,” and the list goes on. 


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