By Averi Harper
Amid the fallout from comments by former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden about a lack of diversity of thought and heritage within the African American community, some worry that a pattern of blunders could impact support within the Black community.
Biden drew criticism on Thursday when he compared the diversity of African American and Latino communities at a pretaped virtual talk with the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
“What you all know, but most people don’t know. Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things,” Biden said. “You go to Florida you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona. So it’s a very different, a very diverse community.”
Just hours after the taped remarks, during a live discussion with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Biden reiterated similar comments: “We can build a new administration that reflects the full diversity of our nation, the full diversity of Latino communities. And when I mean full diversity, unlike the African American community and many other communities, you’re from everywhere. From Europe, from the tip of South America, all the way to our border and Mexico, and in the Caribbean.”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said it’s important to acknowledge that Black Americans, including those with roots in the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America and the American South have cultures that should be celebrated.
“To diminish those cultures and the richness of those cultures is such a wildly ignorant thing to do and insulting on so many levels,” said Williams, who is the son of immigrants from Grenada. “But I wish I was surprised.”