Al Sharpton: 'No one should qualify who's going to be black'

Both Ed and Allahpundit have written about this today but the fallout continues. The divide on this hasn’t been quite as simple as left vs. right. In fact, it appears to me that the reactions highlight the ongoing left vs. establishment divide which continues to be a defining feature of the Democratic Party. And that’s why you have MSNBC covering this like it’s a major story while CNN avoids the issue.

To further that point, here’s Al Sharpton on MSNBC saying “Whether you say it in jest or not, no one should qualify who’s going to be black or anything else. I think that is inappropriate.”

Sharpton isn’t exactly coming down hard on Biden here, but he is at least saying this was wrong and not buying into the Biden camp’s excuse about this being a joke. Similarly, the former press secretary for Bernie Sanders, Briahna Joy Gray, said Biden had adopted a reductive form of identity politics.

She also disagreed with Toure on this point, calling it “racist” to assume politics and cultural identity are linked:

And she’s absolutely right. That is the unspoken idea that Biden is expressing, whether you buy his claim this was a joke or not. You could add more examples to this list of left-wing critics, including Roxane Gay who Allahpundit mentioned here.

So it looks as if the left-wing of the Democratic Party, which has no particular devotion to Biden anyway, is more willing to call him out than the more moderate wing which is being a bit quiet about this.

What I haven’t seen much of is people arguing in favor of the position Biden was taking, i.e. that we can tell which people are really black by who they vote for. Other than Toure (above) the only person of note who expressed something close to that was Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of the NY Times’ 1619 Project lead essay. But she quickly deleted her tweet which read, “There is a difference between being politically black and being racially black.”

It’s actually heartening, as someone who thinks identity politics is a plague, to see the left rejecting what Biden said pretty strongly. Acting as if being black is just a partisan club is at odds with the reality that people are all individuals and their beliefs can’t be determined by their skin color or any other superficial characteristics. Joe Biden should know that already.

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