The shady racist past of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Why is nobody talking about Biden’s KKK relationships and Harris complicity in racism in California?

“If you have trouble finding out whether you belong to me or to Trump, then you are not black!”

On May 22, while the Democratic Party’s primary elections were still ongoing, current President of the United States, Joe Biden, afforded himself a benchmark in an interview with The Breakfast Club, a YouTube channel that is a reference for the African American community; this quote represents another one of his sensational faux pas. Not bad for someone who was seen as the most attractive candidate for the black electorate in the early stages of the campaign.

Ironically, the former vice-president of the first black president in US history has a rather controversial attitude towards race. And the blunder of the interview with The Breakfast Club, even if it didn’t jeopardize Joe Biden’s chances for the Democratic nomination or, four months later, for the White House, in a way reveals certain skeletons in his closet.

The shadow of racism

A year before she became Biden’s running mate, the then Senator and now Vice President Kamala Harris had made serious allegations against the former Senator from Delaware. On June 27, 2019, during the first confrontation between the Democratic candidates, eight months before the start of the primaries, the future Vice President had accused Biden of having fought for the maintenance of racial segregation on American school buses. In fact, Biden, then a two-term senator, had supported a 1975 bill against public funding of racial integration in schools. Harris made it almost personal: “[In the 1970s] there was a little girl in California who was in second grade who took the bus to an integrated school every day. That child was me.”  Biden tried to defend himself, claiming that his opposition concerned only federal funds, not state or local government funds. But Harris didn’t want to take a step back and accused her future boss of having had a few “dangerous friendships” in the past: one with James Eastland (1904-1986) and one with Herman Talmadge (1913-2002). Eastland, Democratic Senator from Mississippi from 1943 to 1978, defined blacks as an “inferior race” and branded those he called “negroes” as physically, morally, and mentally unfit for war during World War II (1939-1945).  

As for Talmadge, he was governor from 1948 to 1955, then Senator of Georgia from 1957 to 1981. When Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, which ended racial segregation for blacks, Talmadge boycotted the Democratic Party conference in protest. Biden’s closeness to the two deceased segregationist senators was also heavily criticized by another candidate in the recent Democratic primaries: African-American Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey. Of course, Biden denied the allegations, but did admit that Eastland affectionately called him “son”. However, the not-so-conservative newspaper The Washington Post revealed that members of Biden’s staff always advised him never to mention Eastland’s name publicly.

Biden certainly had a milder relationship with Talmadge, and today he remembers him less fondly. The Georgia senator was indeed an alcoholic, and Biden once had the opportunity to describe him as “one of the meanest men in the Senate” with whom he “never agreed on anything”. Nevertheless, there was a civil relationship between the two, so much so that they “did things together”. In particular, reports the (always unconservative) magazine The Atlantic , Talmadge is said to have helped set up the Federal Food Stamps (government grants for American families in great difficulty or with no income at all) and also to have supported the investigation into the so-called “Watergate scandal”.

Relations with the KKK

However, there is another obscure connection between President Biden and another segregationist Democratic senator. On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, Biden, then a vice-presidential candidate with Obama, was photographed alongside Robert Byrd (1917-2010) during a rally in Charleston, West Virginia. At Byrd’s funeral on July 2, 2010, Biden delivered an eulogy for the deceased, whom he referred to as “the custodian of the institution of the Senate,” if not the “institution itself,” saying that for Byrd, “the Senate Chamber is his cathedral and west Virginia was his paradise.”

Well, Byrd was a Senator from West Virginia from 1959 to 2010, making him the second-longest-serving Congressman in the United States. In his youth, Byrd was active in the Ku Klux Klan (of which he was never a Grand Wizard, as some falsely claim) and opposed President Harry Truman’s (1884-1972) decision to admit blacks to the military. “I’d rather die a thousand times and see Old Glory [the US flag] trampled in the mud and never be able to rise again than to see our beloved land being degraded by people of the bastard race,” he wrote in 1945. In the 1950s, Byrd distanced himself from the Ku Klux Klan, but not from the ideology of racial segregation, and opposed both the Civil Rights Actof 1964 (which he filibustered for 14 hours) and against the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which punished racial discrimination in the right to vote. It wasn’t until 1968 that Byrd gave up white supremacism completely.

Harris is complicit in racism

Well, if it’s true that three clues provide evidence, Biden’s ties to Eastland, Talmadge, and Byrd are complete and, in at least one case, never-denied. Kamala Harris should be unaffected by these prior burdens. But she, too, who was born 56 years ago in California to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, has a painful relationship with the Afro-American community. Although she supported Biden-Harris’ presidential ticket in the election campaign, Angela Davis, the long-time Black Panthers activist, until 1991 activist of the Communist Party of the United States , vegan and lesbian, is not enthusiastic about the new number two in white House.

“You can’t forget that [Harris] was not against the death penalty, and you can’t forget some really big issues related to her tenure as attorney general” in California as attorney general for that state from 2011 to 2017, Davis said to Reuters and also hopes that Harris “can also do justice to the radically progressive pressure that we could exert on her in the future.” After all, the new Vice President has worked at the top of the California judicial system and before that as a judge in San Francisco where she earned a vigilante reputation by defending police brutality and refusing to reopen investigations into unarmed citizens killed by officers.

Lawyer Nnennaya Amuchie, a Black Lives Matter activist, “LGBT + rights” activist, abortion advocate, communist and lesbian, is also not squeamish: “For years she has had the opportunity to apologize and repair the damage that the poor black communities,” Amuchie said in late 2019, shortly after Harris pulled out of the Democratic primary. Indeed, according to the activist, Harris’s role as chief police officer in California would be “incompatible with a post-Obama / Black Lives Matter era in which young people are now deeply educated and informed about systemic racism and the way black lives don’t matter to white supremacists.  Politicians like her are complicit in this.”

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