Today finds Democrats in and out of the media trying to mop up the mess Joe Biden made yesterday with his “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black” remark.
Part of the problem with the offhand comment is that it insults on so manly levels. There is the insinuation that black voters are low-intelligence. (“If y’all can’t read, just look for the jackass symbol on the ballot.”) Then there is the use of the black “vernacular.” (All blacks say ain’t and use double negatives.)
Among the rationalizations the Left is offering up include the popular fallback “Joe was just being Joe” or, as his campaign offered up shortly after the story caught fire, he was “joking.”
But one novel approach was hazarded last night by the New York Times’s “1619 Project,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, who posited a distinction between being “politically black and being racially black.” Hannah-Jones, who tweets using the handle Ida Bae Wells, wrote:
The post was deleted but not before a number of respondents, some of them black, asked her to explain. All were greeted with the same variant of the snobbish advice that if you have to ask how much something costs, you can’t afford it. (RELATED: The upside of the New York Times’s ‘1619 Project’)
The last answer raises more questions than it answers. For example, what does it mean to be “designated” a certain race, and who does the “designating”? Does being “politically black” carry a responsibility to vote for Democrats, who supposedly have blacks’ best interests at heart? If so, doesn’t that just reinforce the notion that blacks who think for themselves are deserters or turncoats? And if “racial blackness” entails merely designating yourself black, then was Rachel Dolezal unfairly lambasted for claiming to be black?
Finally, do “racial” and “political” distinctions inhere in other ethnic or religious groups? Inquiring minds want to know.