The moment President Biden said, “I may be a white boy, but I’m not stupid” during a Black History Month celebration on Monday in the East Room of the White House, right-wingers had fresh fodder to assail him, and Fox News was quickly out of the chute with comments from conservative lawmakers, declaring the president was both a white boy and stupid.
Biden’s remarks came as he was speaking about the power of the Divine Nine, a group of Black fraternities and sororities. His attempt at a racial joke was laughed at by those in attendance, including the presidents of Divine Nine. “I know where the power is,” he added. “You think I’m joking. I learned a long time ago about the Divine Nine.”
These words followed what appeared to be a slap at Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and his recent action to cancel an AP history course from the College Board and remove Black progressive writers and intellectuals from the curriculum. “It’s important to say from the White House for the entire country to hear: History matters. History matters and Black history matters. I can’t just choose to learn what we want to know,” Biden said.
“We learn what we should know,” the president continued. “We have to learn everything—the good, the bad, the truth, and who we are as a nation.”
Perhaps one of the things Biden has to learn is keep his comments free of being misconstrued, although even his scripted best intentions are ammunition for his adversaries. Two weeks ago, the word “boy” was part of his comment in reference to Maryland’s Black governor, Wes Moore.
Once he officially declares for reelection, we are certain to hear his opponents recount a litany of his gaffes and off-the-cuff remarks. He can counter some of these attacks by noting the many good things his administration has achieved—none more approved and applauded by Black voters than hosting a White House screening of the film “Till.”