Joe Biden’s recent reference to “the great Negro,” baseball star Satchell Paige, may have just been another in his massive encyclopedia of gaffes.
Or something more.
It’s because Barack Obama, back in 2016, signed into law what essentially is a ban on the federal government’s use of that word.
Biden’s comments came during a recent speech.
I want to welcome all the Cabinet members and honored guests joining us today, including the father of our Secretary of State, who served in the Army Air Corps during World War Two, Ambassador Donald Blinken, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday. Thank you for your service to our country.
And I just want to tell you, I know you’re a little younger than I am, but, you know, I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro — at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues — went on to become a great pitcher in the pros — in the Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige.
And Satchel Paige, on his 47th birthday, pitched a win against Chicago. And all the press went in and said, “Satch, it’s amazing — 47 years old. No one’s ever, ever pitched a win at age 47. How do you feel about being 47?” He said, “Boys, that’s not how I look at it.” They said, “How do you look at it, Satch?” He said, “I look at it this way: How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”
The left-leaning Snopes immediate provided an excuse for Biden, writing “Biden was wishing Ambassador Donald Blinken happy birthday, and segued into telling a story about Paige, who first came to fame as pitcher in what were then called the Negro Leagues. Based on the context of his remarks, it appears that Biden was going to describe Paige as ‘the great pitcher in the Negro Leagues,’ but the words that came out of his mouth were ‘I’ve adopted the attitude of the great Negro — at the time, pitcher in the Negro Leagues — went on to become a great pitcher in the pros…'”
But as CNN documented in 2016, Obama had “signed a bill … that modernizes the terms used for minorities.”
“The federal government will no longer use the terms ‘Negro’ and ‘Oriental,'” the report said. “The official terms will be African-American and Asian-American. Welcome to 2016.”
The report noted the measure earned bipartisan support, passing unanimously.
The bill stated, “Office Of Minority Economic Impact.—Section 211(f)(1) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7141(f)(1)) is amended by striking ‘a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent’ and inserting “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native’.”
At the time, Rep. Grace Meng of New York, a Democrat, said it was about time for terms like “oriental” to be discarded.
“Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory. But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land,” she said.
Fox News described it as Biden’s “latest gaffe.”
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