Joe Biden made a curious statement Thursday at a campaign stop in Iowa. Making the case that Advanced Placement courses should be offered in all schools, the former veep said: “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”
The media pounced on what they saw as another gaffe from a gaffe machine. But did Biden make a gaffe — in the sense of an embarrassing error — or did he clumsily state what many liberals believe?
Serious people used to acknowledge that barriers to progress are socio-economic and affect people of all races. Campaigning in 1968 on a platform of ameliorating poverty, Bobby Kennedy drew attention to the plight of Appalachia, visiting poor white families in eastern Kentucky as well as inner-city Detroit and Indian reservations in New Mexico.
In his 1984 bid for the Democratic nomination, Jesse Jackson spoke to rural white farmers in Arkansas, preaching that “we’ve got to move from a racial battleground — playing skin games — to economic common ground.”
But today’s Democrats trip over themselves to pretend that all today’s problems are rooted in the refusal of white people — all white people — to acknowledge and reject their unearned privilege.
Seth Barron is associate editor of City Journal and director of the NYC Initiative at the Manhattan Institute.
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