It isn’t just African-American Republicans who are outraged at Vice-President Joe Biden’s “they're going to put y'all back in chains” remarks; now Douglas Wilder, a Democrat who was the first elected African-American governor in the United states, is angry as well. Wilder, a grandson of slaves, stated that “without question” Biden’s remarks in Danville, Virginia “were appeals to race”.
Wilder followed that comment with this:
“The important thing I got out of this was Biden separated himself from what he accused the people of doing. As a matter of fact, what he said is they are going to do something to y’all, not to me. Not us. So he was still involved with that separate American … What the president needs to do is disassociate himself from trying to show anybody that division is what this administration is about; as some may have said, ‘cool it, back up’.”
Wilder’s comments were accompanied by African-American Republicans. Artur Davis, an African-American former democratic congressman who was a strong supporter of Barack Obama in 2008 but is now a Republican, strongly condemned Biden:
“I know what Joe Biden was doing. Every black person in that room knew who the ‘y'all’ was. They knew what the chains were. They knew what the metaphor was about.”
Ron Christie, a African-American former advisor to George W. Bush, echoed that sentiment:
“It’s not just that he said what he said yesterday; it’s the manner in which he said it; he was talking and he had a normal cadence, and then in front of an African American audience, or at least 50-50 or so, he starts preaching like he’s in the pulpit on Sunday as if all African-Americans are going to relate to being in church when they hear from a white politician. It’s a demeaning, a degrading, an insulting manner in which the Vice-President acted. This fits a pattern in which he said then-Senator Obama was fresh and clean and well-spoken, of him saying you can’t go into a 7-11 without finding someone with an Indian dialect.”
African-American Republican congressman Tim Scott (R-S.C.), advisor for Mitt Romney, was also furious:
“These are outrageous comments and it simply plays to the same narrative of the Obama Administration, which is simply divide and conquer, rage and division … it fans the flames of a cultural war.”
African-Americans are almost completely in the Barack Obama camp, but Biden’s remarks have crossed the political divide. Will that awaken the African-American community as to which side is truly racist?