, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
There are at least two traditions of racism in American life — the flagrant and the insidious.

Racism with a hood, and racism with a smile.

Racism that bombs churches, and racism that asks to touch your hair.

The racism of David Duke, and the racism of Thanksgiving Uncle.
No sensible person thinks Joe Biden is a racist in the flagrant tradition.

But he is steeped and anchored in, and unable to educate himself out of, racism in the insidious tradition.
There are others his age in the race. They don’t talk like him.

It isn’t just terminology. It is a mental model in which: American means white, poor means black, clean and articulate black people are a nice surprise, and the effects of systemic oppression are the victims’ fault.
Thursday night was not a slip of the tongue. It was a slip of the mask.
And we have to speak truth here. Without fear.
When you are running against a white supremacist and a misogynist, you want your nominee to be impeccable on those issues.

You don’t want those existential questions neutralized by past tapes and comments and shoulder rubs.
Joe Biden seems like a kind and decent guy. He served Barack Obama well. And his country.

But America is hugely changing, and he has not made the renovations necessary to lead it into the future.

It is possible to rewire yourself. Hard but possible. He has chosen not to.
This is difficult because he is the frontrunner, and everyone agrees beating Trump is paramount. I write in that spirit and with that hope.
But let us not pretend that racism isn’t racism just because it isn’t flagrant.
This is the gentle racism of where are you from oh you speak such good English can I touch your hair oh I could never pronounce that can I have that in a medium oh you don’t work here sorry why didn’t your parents give you a more professional name do you have a dad, etc., etc.
And if you think I’m out of my mind, good news: There is the rest of the pundit class for you.

And thanks to thoughts like this, I will probably never have my own show, and never replace Bret Stephens on the Op-Ed page of the @nytimes.
But I will not be silent as we are told that the antidote to the poison of white supremacy in the White House is the casual mid-twentieth-century racism in which whiteness was the center and everyone else a guest.
Why Joe Biden should drop out: my morning discussion with @JoyAnnReid on @amjoyshow is up.

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