Back in 2017, Joe Biden gave a strange speech about his leg hair, kids rubbing him, and “roaches.”

The video nearly broke the internet, it was so bizarre. During the rant he said he learned about “roaches” and he learned about kids jumping in his lap.

You can watch it below:

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What did Biden mean by “roaches?”

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Biden camp is refusing to say what he meant by “roaches” according to a Breitbart report. A review of the event’s full camera footage by Breitbart News provided no help in clearing up the mystery, and 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.

However, a quick look online and I found a site that claims the term “roaches” is a derogatory racial slur about black people.

Here’s what it reads:


Race: Blacks
They come out at night to raise hell – turn on the lights and they scatter
Based on this, Biden needs to come out and fully explain exactly what he meant the term “roaches” and “learning about them.”  We need every reporter on the beat asking him this question.

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. [Breitbart]

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