Biden's Use of the Word 'Boy' Sparks Hot Debate

Former senator says he could work with opponents in the 1970s and '80s
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2019 3:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Joe Biden has received an earful after fondly recalling the civility of Southern segregationist senators in the 1970s and 80s. The former vice president told people at a New York fundraiser Tuesday about working with Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia: "At least there was some civility," Biden told the crowd of about 100, NBC reports. "We got things done. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished. But today, you look at the other side and you're the enemy. Not the opposition—the enemy. We don't talk to each other anymore." Biden said he realized that his interest in "bringing people together" makes him appear "old-fashioned" to other Democrats, per the Washington Post. Those comments and others sparked criticism and confusion:

  • Biden raised eyebrows by saying that Eastland, who is white, "never called me 'boy.' He always called me 'son.'" The Post was unable to get a response from Biden’s campaign about why he mentioned the word—a racial epithet used against black men—when Biden is also white. Eastland called black people an "inferior race" and said integration would lead to "mongrelization."

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