Biden Expressed Doubts About School Integration in 1975 NPR Interview

Getty Images
February 1, 2019

Then-Sen. Joe Biden (D., Del.) expressed doubts about forced school integration in a recently unearthed 1975 National Public Radio interview, suggesting the black community actually wanted separation.

The Washington Examiner dug up the interview of the potential 2020 presidential candidate from congressional archives, which was conducted in the wake of a Senate vote to scale back the executive branch's power to use busing as a desegregation tool. Biden, despite winning his 1972 election on a pro-busing platform, introduced the measure and became a leading liberal voice against busing.

"There are those of we social planners who think somehow that if we just subrogate man’s individual characteristics and traits by making sure that a presently heterogeneous society becomes a totally homogeneous society that somehow we’re going to solve our social ills," Biden said during the NPR interview. "And quite to the contrary."

"The concept of busing ... that we are going to integrate people so that they all have the same access and they learn to grow up with one another and all the rest is a rejection of the whole movement of black pride, is a rejection of the entire black awareness concept where black is beautiful, black culture should be studied, and the cultural awareness of the importance of their own identity, their own individuality," he argued.

Biden said he put in "close to 300 hours on just torturing this thing" and that he had spoken to his black staffers and asked them, "Now, look, this is what I think. Do you think I am? I mean, is there something in me that's deep-seated that I don’t know?"

The interview coincides with other interviews Biden gave on the matter. In a 1975 U.S. News and World Report interview, Biden called pro-busing arguments "profoundly racist" and said busing "implies that blacks have no reason to be proud of their inheritance and their own culture."