Shelby Steele: ‘Biden Is Committing the Great American Sin — Using Race as a Means to Power’
With the vacancy on the Supreme Court a part of presidential politics in the late stages of the 2020 election cycle, former Vice President Joe Biden’s pledge to put a Black female on the high court back in February is being revisited. Author and Hoover Institution senior fellow Shelby Steele says that pledge from Biden broke his heart, given it cheapens the work of those involved in the civil rights struggle to use race in a political campaign to achieve power.
During an interview with Mobile, AL radio’s FM Talk 106.5, Steele, whose forthcoming documentary “What Killed Michael Brown?” debuts October 16, criticized the injection of race into politics at this moment in history.
“Race in America these days has a lot to do, not with injustice, but with power,” he explained. “There’s so much power in that issue. You see this in the whole situation in Louisville, Kentucky, and as you say, elsewhere in the country. Behind that is — if I’m a candidate and can somehow get in there and identify with the victimization of Blacks or other groups, then that’s power. That redounds to me. I’m going to get some votes. I’m going to have some clout on the American political scene. You almost have to tip your hat to race at this point in order to do well.”
Steele addressed Biden’s efforts specifically to use race in his presidential campaign. He said that act was “the great American sin,” which he called the “corruption” in Biden.
“I think he’s just insecure,” Steele said. “He worries that he may not have the Black vote. There are Blacks who really resent comments Biden has made — you know, you’re not Black if you don’t vote for him, and this sort of thing where he is arrogant about the reflexive support Blacks normally give the Democratic candidate. He takes that for granted — almost rubs it in Blacks’ faces. But that is to me a measure of how backward, and I’m getting into politics here –but to think you can run for office and what you have to do is appease, what you have to do is have a Black woman on the court — that that is meaningful social change is sad.”
“That’s not meaningful social change,” he added. “That’s the same thing they did in segregation, ‘Only whites can be here, and only whites can do that.’ What’s the difference? There is no difference. Biden is committing the great American sin — using race as a means to power. That was the corruption in slavery, and that is the corruption in Joe Biden today.”
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor