Biden's phony talk about 'the talk' at the SOTU
There was a lot to dislike in Joe Biden's State of the Union speech last night, but one point stands out: Biden promoting the lie that all police officers are racists, to the point where black parents must counsel their sons with "the talk."
According to The Hill:
Biden's comments about the death of Tyre Nichols, made as Nichols' mother and stepfather looked on from the gallery, resonated in an appropriately somber chamber.
Biden recalled how he had never had to have "the talk" with his children— commonplace among Black Americans, in particular — about how to minimize the dangers if they were to be stopped by police.
The president recounted some of the advice often given in such conversations, such as keeping hands on the steering wheel and turning on the vehicle's interior lighting immediately.
It was an inept comparison, because "The Talk" black parents supposedly have with black sons about how to avoid problems with police is about white police officers, who are all supposedly racists. The incident that happened in Memphis was black cops beating to death a black victim, which didn't seem to have racism as a factor at all.
According to Wikipedia:
The talk is a colloquial expression for a conversation Black parents in the United States feel compelled to have with their children and teenagers about the dangers they face due to racism or unjust treatment from authority figures, law enforcement or other parties, and how to de-escalate them. The practice dates back generations and is often viewed as a rite of passage for Black children.
Based on recent incidents around blacks who were stopped by police and ran into trouble, it's pretty obvious that their parents, or more likely, single moms, didn't have the talk, because virtually all of those who run into problems with police seem unable to comply with reasonable police orders and bring a load of grief on themselves and their families. To call "the talk" a customary black means of adapting to one's completely racist surroundings seems pretty questionable.
But this is far from the only problematic thing with Joe's statement, with Joe claiming a special coziness with the Black community and Black culture, which is something he has done since his "Corn Pop" days, when he claimed to know all about black street toughs in Delaware. It was as phony as his claims to have participated in the civil rights marches of the 1960s and his claim to have been arrested in South Africa during the Apartheid protests. They're all made-up tales.
Joe has never been close to the Black community, and it's striking that his son, Hunter, has been caught using the extremely racist "n-word" slur in his since revealed emails. Did that kind of talk go on in the Biden household as young Hunter grew up? Where'd Hunter learn to talk like that? It's the first thing that comes to mind when one reads that disgusting stuff that no normal person would utter or write from the emails and texts of Hunter Biden.
Here's the third problem with that claim — Joe's specifics within his speech:
But imagine what it's like to lose a child at the hands of the law.
Imagine having to worry whether your son or daughter will come home from walking down the street or playing in the park or just driving their car.
I've never had to have the talk with my children — Beau, Hunter, and Ashley — that so many Black and Brown families have had with their children.
That's quite a smear on cops, that they just go around picking up young Black men and try to kill them for walking home from the park.
As for Joe never having the talk with his son Hunter, well, yeah, we know. The only talk Joe has had with his son Hunter was that he would get out of jail scot-free no matter what kind of scrap he got in with the police because "the big guy" had political pull. That's a very different talk from the kind Joe described about learning to follow police orders and communicating effectively with them. Normal people, whatever their color, don't have that kind of pull. Of course Hunter never got "the talk" as Joe described it. He probably got a different kind of talk.
Joe's actual specifics are particularly laughable and absurd:
If a police officer pulls you over, turn on your interior lights. Don't reach for your license. Keep your hands on the steering wheel.
Imagine having to worry like that every day in America.
Ummmm, Joe? We know that you use standard corruption and political muscle to ensure that your kids never have to follow laws, but as for turning on one's interior lights at a police pullover at night, yeah, we all do that. That's not a black thing. That's not an "imagine having to worry like that every day in America" thing. No matter what our color, we also don't reach into the glove box as if to pull out a weapon when we are stopped by a cop in traffic, and we keep our hands on the steering wheel where the cops can see them. All of us do that; it's a standard recommendation on every advice sheet there is on dealing with cops, and it's not confined to skin color. When I get pulled over by a cop at night, and it's happened occasionally, I do exactly that, even though I am a white woman. It's common sense, because the cop has no idea who I am, and cops regularly deal with the dregs of society, so it could color their outlook. It's also a hard fact that the police can't be too careful. Traffic stops are statistically one of the most potentially dangerous police activities, with many police fatalities occurring on that activity.
Here's what the Nolo legal encyclopedia says about how to handle the police at a traffic stop — for people of all colors:
Roll down your window all the way. Put out a cigarette if you have one and discard any chewing gum (within the car). You might also want to place your hands on the steering wheel, and, if it's dark, turn on your interior light. These actions will tend to allay any fears the officer might have. After all, police officers have been killed in traffic-stop situations, and the officer's approach to the vehicle is potentially the most dangerous moment.
Here's WikiHow, saying pretty much the same thing:
Roll down your driver's side window and any tinted windows. If it is dark, turn on interior lights. Make all your movements slowly. The officer is watching you carefully to make sure you're not drawing a weapon or hiding something. Do not reach for anything in the passenger compartment of your vehicle or under your seat. As the officer approaches, put your hands on the steering wheel where the officer can see them.
It's standard advice to anyone. Anyone who doesn't do that hasn't heard this vaunted "talk" Biden expressed umbrage about, or is simply a fool.
Yet Joe seems to think it's outrageous that anyone should have to try to assure a cop on a potentially dangerous traffic stop that they aren't a threat. In Biden's mind, cops should just ignore what's going on around them, observe nothing, and let themselves become victims, which is the logical outcome of Joe's claim.
It's such garbage. He doesn't know the Black community, he doesn't know "the talk," and he has no idea what all people must deal with when stopped by a cop in traffic. He's been so cosseted by political power that the idea of maximizing one's safety at a traffic stop by making the right kinds of communication is completely foreign to him.
It's a nasty reflection of how out of touch he is. He won't fool anyone.
Image: Scott Davidson via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.