In the White House on Monday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took part in one of the many “Hour of Code” events held across the country. Sitting down with a group of middle-school students, the president and vice president urged these promising young people to learn computer programming and coding basics. The students were advised to educate themselves on how to “create a video game” and not merely to play one.
“One of the great things about America is that we invent stuff and make stuff, not just use it,” Obama told the group of enthusiastic young people.
That’s all well and good – more students need to be encouraged to pursue careers in STEM-related professions, and a gentle nudge from the president and the vice president in that direction is welcome. One aspect of this event, however, has been woefully underreported:
Biden tells computer code girls: "you're as smart as any guy." pic.twitter.com/EGJOwpe5J2
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 8, 2014
As of this writing, the only outlet in which this little exchange was reported was the blog Weasel Zippers (which first brought it to my attention).
It’s odd that the feminist community does not find it even slightly problematic that the Vice President of the United States essentially confirmed for a group of school-age girls that a baseline standard of intellectual prowess are set by men. Implicit in Biden’s comment is the notion that these young girls are in some way performing a remarkable feat by demonstrating a level of intelligence often reserved for males. No one has a problem with this?
It’s striking that the feminist community, which occupies itself being offended by the “tyranny” of home cooked meals, an artist’s depiction of Spider-Woman’s posterior, or the patriarchy associated with a scientist’s colorful shirt, has somehow overlooked these inartful comments from the person next in line to serve as leader of the free world.
Maybe Biden is merely the beneficiary of the doubt, and he should be. The vice president is labeled “gaffe-prone” in the press because he so often speaks without a filter, and regularly says things that do not comport to politically correct norms or generally accepted codes of conduct for elected officials. That’s fine. It’s even refreshing. What frustrates conservatives is that a small but influential community that occupies itself with daily outrages over trivialities just can’t seem to find it in themselves to express dissatisfaction over these comments.
Of course, Biden did not mean to offend. He would apologize, too, if anyone would dare ask that he do so. They won’t, and if there is any self-reflection over why Biden’s latest gaffe was greeted with a yawn, it will be a rambling, ersatz intellectual exposition on his intentions, Biden’s record of conduct, his generally feminist views, etc. etc. But it would all be a lie.
Even those who are not intellectually honest enough to admit it know precisely why Biden is the beneficiary of a double standard.