(Liberty Bell) – You may recall that recently, a clip of Joe Biden from 2017 was released in which the elderly career politician rambled seemingly incoherently about his leg hair, young black children, and “roaches.”
Taken out of context, the clip seemed to indicate extreme dementia, which would most certainly not be the first indication as such from the gaffe-prone Biden.
However, taken in context, the reference to “roaches” also makes no sense.
As Breitbart News asserts, it’s possible that he was using a grievously offensive racial slur, one that would no doubt cause a week-long meltdown in the media were it to come out of the lips of even the most insignificant Republican politician.
Here’s the backstory:
The speech in question, during which he also told his infamous “Corn Pop” story, happened at the renaming of a community pool in Wilmington, Delaware in 2017 where Biden worked as a teenager.
“By the way, you know, I sit on the stand, and it get[s] hot,” Biden said, his closeness to several local black children making the whole story even more awkward and creepy. “I got a lot, I got hairy legs that turn blonde in the sun, and the kids used to come up and reach in the pool and rub my leg down so it was straight and then watch the hair come back up again. They’d look at it.”
“So I learned about roaches, I learned about kids jumping on my lap,” the former vice president told the audience in Delaware. “And I loved kids jumping on my lap.”
Biden’s use of the term “roaches” without any context when talking about his tenure as a lifeguard was met with confusion on social media. Some openly wondered if the stream of words uttered made sense to even the former vice president himself.
Was it the kids on his lap playing with his leg hair or Corn Pop In a hairnet who taught @JoeBiden about roaches?
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) December 1, 2019
Hairy legs, children sitting in his lap and roaches? This stream of thought all makes sense to Joe Biden.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) December 3, 2019
A review of the event’s full camera footage by Breitbart News provided no help in clearing up the mystery. There are no instances in which either Biden or the other speakers attending the renaming ceremony made mention of “roaches” or any topic that would explain the former vice president’s mentioning of the term. Similarly, Biden’s campaign was unwilling to elaborate on what he meant when reached for comment.
Without proper explanation, many were left to speculate the use of the term was an allusion to the racial and economic makeup of the community frequenting the pool. Some, like the prominent conservative activist and commentator Larry Elder, went further by claiming Biden was calling the children “jumping on my lap” roaches.
Biden in '17 Described Allowing Kids To Play With His Wet Leg Hair: I’ve Loved Kids Jumping On My Lap’
“So I learned about roaches. I learned about kids jumping on my lap"
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) December 4, 2019
The implication was not helped by Biden, who noted at the outset of the ceremony he initially sought the lifeguard position because it presented an opportunity to meet African Americans.
“I was a kid from suburbia,” Biden said when describing his motivations. “I wanted to get more involved. I realized, I lived in a neighborhood where I’d turn on the television, and I’d see and listen to Dr. [Martin Luther] King and others, but I didn’t know any black people, no I really didn’t. … So, I wanted to work here.”
The pool today, much like in Biden’s youth, is located in a historically black neighborhood on Wilmington’s east side. In 2010, the two census tracts surrounding the pool had a population that was 87.3 percent black. More than 75 percent of the families who reported having children under the age of 18 were living below the poverty level. Likewise, more than 61 percent of individuals over the age of 18 in the area were living below the poverty threshold.
Complicating the picture is the fact that poverty is often associated with pest infestation, with the poor, themselves, at times being labeled parasites that feed off the public dole. Given the makeup of the community in which the pool is located, it is easy to understand why Biden’s comments could be interpreted negatively.
The Racial Slur Database, an online website working to combat racism by educating on the etymology of denigrating language, characterizes “roach” as an offensive term used against African Americans. A 2017 paper published by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, denotes the term derives from the tragic history of slavery. European ships carrying enslaved Africans were the first to bring cockroaches to North America—a result of the often cramped, filthy, and inhumane conditions blacks were subject to below deck. The introduction of an invasive species, like the cockroach, alongside slavery in North America gave rise to unfair racial connections.
Was Biden in reality not rambling quite as incoherently as we originally suspected, but foolishly, or perhaps even shamelessly, using a sick term to describe the African-American people he seemed to fetishize?
And where is his campaign to clarify what on earth he meant by the bizarre rantings?