Joe Biden’s Naked Pursuit of Race War in America

By Tom Gilson Published on May 15, 2023

“The most dangerous terrorist threat to our homeland is white supremacy,” said Joe Biden, speaking at Howard University, “And I’m not saying this because I’m at a black HBCU. I say it wherever I go.”

Those are fighting words. And it looks for all the world like that’s what the president wants to come of it: Race wars.

Let’s start with whether he believes it’s true. Why? What’s his evidence? How many cities have white supremacists burned in the past few years? How many buildings blown up? How many mass murders committed? I don’t doubt the common knowledge that there are white supremacists in the land, some of them with violent tendencies. But what evidence tells us they merit “most dangerous terrorist threat” status?

Imagine for a moment Biden has that evidence. (We’ll return to reality soon, I promise.) Let’s suppose he has confidential info on the FBI and local police stopping terrorist conspiracies every week. We don’t know about it because they don’t want us knowing about it. They’re even keeping all those trials under wraps, if you can imagine that!

But why? Why wouldn’t they want word getting out? Most likely to prevent race war. If law enforcement were the only thing holding white supremacists back from terrorizing the homeland, blacks would certainly push back — wrongly, yet understandably or at least predictably — and we’d have race riots like we’ve never seen before.

Then why (still in that fantasy land) would the president break that policy and tell the story at Howard? What could he hope to accomplish with it? Exactly what silence was meant to prevent: Blacks pushing back. Race riots.

What Good Could This Message Do?

Back to reality now. Obviously it’s worthwhile keeping a watchful eye on white supremacists — real ones, I mean, not the made-up kind we keep hearing about, the ones who get falsely accused of “white supremacy” for having standards of excellence. Some whites really are racist, have weapons, and are making plans to use them. They’re dangerous, absolutely yes. But there’s still no evidence they belong at the top of the country’s homeland terror list.

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Biden overstated the threat, magnifying it for this black audience. What could he hope to gain from that? Race riots again? The more he talks that way, the closer he pushes the country that direction. We all have different thresholds for anger. Irresponsible, inflammatory language coming from the president like this nudges almost everyone closer to that threshold. Most people still won’t reach the point of acting it out, but the more Biden keeps this up, saying it wherever he goes, the more people he’ll push across that threshold.

If the president wants to help violent white supremacists recruit more members, he’s doing a great job of it. He’s giving them exactly what they need: Something to get angry at.

The Wrong Message in the Wrong Place

He didn’t do blacks any good with this message, either. In fact, the last place Biden should be talking about this is at an HBCU [historically black college/university]. What are they supposed to do with the information? Arm themselves? Form black counter-militias? Hide in fear? Bad answers, every one of them, but then, I can’t think of a good one, at least not one Biden would have offered. He could have followed it up with Jesus’ instruction to love their enemies, to bless those who hurt them, or (James 1:19) being “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” Anyone want to bet on whether you’ll find that in the transcript?

If Biden believes what he’s saying — if he really thinks blacks have reason for anger and fear — Howard University was still exactly the wrong place to say it. That message belongs in private meetings with community leaders, both black and white, especially at the local level, and above all pastors and other church leaders. It should be spoken with language of calmness, patience, and understanding.

Biden is gunning for exactly the opposite result: Not reason, but anger. Not unity, but division. Not calm, but killings.

Where anger seems justified, it’s still a leader’s job to cool it down and point it toward constructive action. Biden is gunning for exactly the opposite result: Not reason, but anger. Not unity, but division. Not calm, but killings.

His language is designed to stoke unrealistic fear and unnecessary anger, to make blacks more fearful and resentful of whites, and whites more angry and resentful toward blacks. That’s not how a leader leads a country to unity. It’s how he pushes buttons to foment civil war.

Resist the Manipulation

Now, it could also be that Biden doesn’t believe a word of it, he’s not trying to push anyone’s buttons, he’s just trying to persuade blacks to press his button in the voting booth. Doesn’t matter: The message has the same divisive, angering effect regardless. Pushing the country toward civil war is a supremely evil way to get yourself re-elected president.

The best thing we can do is resist the lie. To the extent that you think another race is your enemy, tell yourself what Biden should have told his audience at Howard: Love your enemies, just as Jesus taught. The instruction is broad enough to cover people who aren’t enemies, but your president wants you to think they are.

If you can’t go as far as obeying our Lord, at least be smart enough not to fall for Biden’s manipulations. He is goading you. He’s using you. Don’t let his strategy work. Don’t let him make you angry. He may be trying to coax the country into civil war, but that’s not good enough reason for you to help him succeed.


Tom Gilson (@TomGilsonAuthor) is a senior editor with The Stream and the author or editor of six books, including the highly acclaimed Too Good To Be False: How Jesus’ Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality.

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