In comments first reported in the New York Observer, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) said Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” Biden’s insensitive remarks were roundly criticized, and he has since apologized. The Chicago Tribune explained:
Note to Biden. Well-spoken black people hate it when white people call them “articulate.” It’s the modern-day version of what white people used to say back in the day when they thought that by saying “He’s a credit to his race” they were saying something that a black person would welcome hearing.
Those dated words, like Biden’s comments, were patronizing at the very least. And they also appeared to carry some pretty negative assumptions about the majority of the race.
President Bush may need similar sensitivity training. In an interview today with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, Bush echoed Biden’s remarks when asked about Obama. “He’s an attractive guy. He’s articulate. I’ve been impressed with him when I’ve seen him in person,” Bush said. Watch it:
CAVUTO: How do you think the troops would feel about a President Obama?
BUSH: Oh, I don’t know. He, let’s — he hasn’t gotten elected yet. He hasn’t even gotten the party’s nomination either. He’s an attractive guy. He’s articulate. I’ve been impressed with him when I’ve seen him in person. But he’s got a long way to go to be president.