Fact-Checking Biden’s Remarks on Democracy and Black Americans

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“It’s natural to wonder if democracy you hear about actually works for you,” Joe Biden told graduates of the historical black college of Morehouse. “What is democracy if black men are being killed in the street? What is democracy if a trail of broken promises still leaves black communities behind? What is democracy if you have to be 10 times better than anyone else to get a fair shot?”

These are three of the most pernicious and divisive lies about American life.

The idea that black graduates can only succeed in America by vastly overachieving is an obvious myth. The United States isn’t a utopia for black Americans—or anyone else. Black neighborhoods face issues like poor Democrat- and state-run schools, the welfare state, and other challenges. There is plenty for individuals to overcome.

Most companies, schools, and institutions today actively seek nonwhite candidates to diversify their operations. According to Morehouse’s own statistics, nearly 83 percent of its graduates are either employed or continuing their education. The 70 percent employment rate is the same as the national average. Top employers of Morehouse graduates include industry leaders like Deloitte, Cigna, Google, Lockheed Martin, and AT&T. The average starting salary for a Morehouse graduate is $76,543, compared to the national average of $68,516.

Could it be better? Yes. But if black Americans in the United States were a nation on their own, they would have a higher living standard and more wealth per capita than nearly any other country in the world—including most of Europe. The idea that black Americans are systemically held back in the job market is unfounded.

Even more troubling, Biden implied that the state targets black lives.

A 2021 Skeptic Research Center poll showed that nearly half of liberals believed about 1,000 unarmed black men were killed in a year by cops. Twenty percent of conservatives agreed. Over half of people with “very liberal” views believe 1,000 or more unarmed black men are killed by cops each year, with 14 percent of them believing the number is 10,000. Twenty-six percent of “liberals” believe it is 1,000.

Yet according to a database by Mapping Police Violence, the actual number of black men, armed and unarmed, killed by police this year (so far) is 94—almost all in incidents where police were cleared of wrongdoing.

Cops fatally shoot just over 1,000 civilians per year, almost all of them dangerous, very few unarmed. One innocent person is too many, but the number is nowhere near what most Democrats have been led to believe.

Even in the most infamous cases of police shootings against black Americans, none are proven to have a racial component—including the murder of George Floyd and the “clean” shooting of Michael Brown, whose anniversary was noted recently.

This is not to say there aren’t racists—hardly—but the notion that black men are hunted by cops is a politically useful lie.

Perhaps the most harmful myth spread by Biden, central to the Democrats’ message, is “voter suppression.” Many Democrats now believe the GOP systemically stops black Americans from participating in “democracy” when such efforts largely do not exist. The voter suppression myth persists because it is always evolving and tied to genuine historical wrongs. Now, even the most basic voter-integrity law—like showing ID—is framed as Jim Crow 2.0 by professional Democrats.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey of black voters before the 2022 midterms found that seven in 10 were concerned about “voter suppression interfering with a fair and accurate election in their state.” When asked if they had ever experienced voter suppression, only half said they had faced long lines at polling places, and one in five experienced potential voter suppression such as having their registration or ID questioned.

This means fears of voter suppression have become so normalized that black Americans facing ordinary inconveniences—especially in blue states and Democrat-run cities—like standing in line or ID checks, believe they’re victims of systemic white oppression.

It is easier to cast a ballot in the United States than ever before. Easier here than anywhere else in the world. Most voters don’t even need to leave their homes; they can request a mail-in ballot, available in multiple languages and weeks before an election. Voting is easier than buying almost anything online. Anyone can do it.

So sending young people into the world convinced their country hates them is a deception to keep nonwhite Americans deferential to a single political party. Do they believe it? There are many reasons not to vote for Republicans, but none of Biden’s scare tactics hold up to scrutiny.

David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi
David Harsanyi is an American conservative journalist, columnist, author, and editor.

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