No matter how he dissembles, a racist will always betray himself.
All he has to do is use the expression ‘black as the devil’, refer to a ‘black sheep in the family’ or describe besmirching a person as ‘the pot calling the kettle black’ and everyone will know he’s a crypto-racist.
He can then protest till the protesters come home that he has never described anything as an Afro-American in the woodpile, and that he has always defied zoology by changing a popular counting rhyme to suggest that tigers have toes. All to no avail.
A racist is bound to let his mask drop, like that wartime German spy who spoke perfect English but eventually went to the gallows for saying ‘vishing vell’ just once.
This brings us to Joe Biden, whose welcome presidential bid is wholly based on portraying Trump as a divisive racist. Yet the other day Joe proved he was in fact the pot calling the kettle… well, you know.
He made this statement: “There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 per cent of the people out there that are just not very good people.”
That left this observer wondering how Joe had arrived at that figure. What kind of poll established that proportion, on what sample, with what margin for error?
How was the questionnaire worded? “Are you a good person?” You better believe it, pal, would be the only possible reply, true or false.
Anyway, I don’t think such a poll was ever conducted – unless Joe put that question to his family members and campaign workers. He probably didn’t, to the regret of those who’d like to hear his son’s answer to that question.
Sweeping aside the seditious suggestion that Joe simply mentioned the exact proportion because it sounded good, one has to delve deeper to uncover the hidden meaning. So I did.
I began by asking myself: “Why did Joe, a great if not always original orator, leave himself open to mockery by mentioning an arbitrary proportion? His insight would have lost none of its poignancy had he simply said ‘…some people out there aren’t very good’.”
Then I remembered a story dating back to the time I lived in Texas. A chap suspected of holding racist views was campaigning for a senate seat, and he desperately needed to court the black vote.
His standard word for members of that race was ‘n*****s’, enunciated in full. That’s the term he used when his adviser told him to praise publicly some great black of the past, say Booker T Washington.
“Who’s that n*****?” inquired the candidate. “A great black American educator,” said the adviser. “Just quote ‘it is better to be alone than in bad company’ and then say ‘These are the words of Booker T Washington, the great black American educator’.”
“I don’t want to quote any n*****s,” objected the candidate. “Don’t think of them as n*****s, for crying out loud,” cried the adviser out loud. “They are voters!”
“For me they are n*****s,” said the enlightened politician. “Oh well, what the hell, I’ll do it.”
The next day he cited the above quote in his speech, beamed broadly and said: “These are the words of Booker T Washington, the great black American n*****.” That put paid to his campaign, none too soon.
The trouble of course was that the offensive word was always on the tip of his tongue, waiting to slip out. So I thought, what if something like that had happened to Joe? What if the 10 to 15 per cent proportion was always in his mind and on that occasion forced its way out?
I did some number-crunching research and found out – are you ready for this? – that blacks make up 12.1 per cent of the US population. Almost exactly in the middle of the range mentioned by Joe!
Could it be that he was so preoccupied with that proportion that he let it slip out inadvertently? It’s only a guess, but an educated one: of course it could. That’s what people mean by a ‘Freudian slip’.
If that’s the case, look at the context in which the slip occurred. A simple rhetorical exercise, of the sort favoured by Biden supporters everywhere, would then yield a startling result.
If, according to Joe, the proportion of bad people exactly corresponds to that of blacks, his subconscious (or is it ‘id’? – I always get those Freudian terms wrong) spoke loud and clear, branding Joe as a crypto-racist.
There, I hope I’ve made my case with the same logical rigour for which Joe himself is universally known. In November America will face the choice of two divisive racists, both proved as such on similarly unassailable evidence.