During his first Town Hall as the President of the United States, Joe Biden courted controversy for claiming that Latinos and people of the African-American community do not know how to get ‘online’. The town hall took place on Wednesday (February 17) night in the Milwaukee city of Wisconsin.
At around 15 minutes into the video, a local doctor had asked Biden as to why only 3% African-Americans and 5% Latinos have been administered the Coronavirus vaccine so far, despite being one of the worst affected communities. The US President started on a good note and said that the two communities have been wary of the vaccination programme as they were used as ‘experimental guinea pigs’ in the past. He claimed to have sent a million vaccine doses to the ‘toughest neighbourhoods’ with no access to cars. Biden added that community health centres and mobile units would be sent to ensure that more Latinos and African Americans get inoculated.
However, Biden soon ended up insinuating that the two communities may have also been left behind in vaccination drive as they do not know how to use the internet. “Not everybody in the community–in the Hispanic and the African American community, particularly in rural areas that are distant and/or inner-city districts–know how to use–know-how to get online to determine how to get in line for that COVID vaccination at the Walgreens or at the particular store,” he alleged.
The Democratic Party President has been called out on social media for falsely inferring that African-Americans and Latinos did not know how to ‘get online’.
People even slammed Biden for the sweeping generalisation of the African-American community.
Why is nobody talking about what Joe Biden said about Hispanics and African Americans not knowing how to use computers?— Julia THOMPSON (@JuliaTH26882166) February 21, 2021
People would respond to @JoeBiden talking about how Black and Hispanic people don’t know how to use the internet like this. The Left needs to understand real world problems and stop pandering. People in developing countries know how to go online. You saying our people are stupid? pic.twitter.com/rRbywOEagp— ⓘ 𝐌𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐇𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐭 (@A_Murder_Hornet) February 20, 2021
As per a recent report by Nielsen, Latinos are 57% more likely to use their smartphones and social media to gather information about the Coronavirus than other groups. Given that the community is largely employed in the service sector, smartphones remain the ‘connectivity tool of choice’.
Joe Biden issues clarification after backlash on his ‘racist’ remarks
However, later, he issued a clarification saying that he was referring to the older members of the two communities who aren’t tech-savvy. “It’s all about trying to more rationalize in detail so ordinary people, like me, can understand. I mean that sincerely. I mean, you know, my grandchildren can use that online–you know, make me look like I’m in, you know, the seventh century,” Biden said.
The Democratic party President has earned the nickname of ‘sleepy joe’ for speaking gibberish and losing track of his own speeches on several occasions. As of Saturday, the United States has reported 92,97,326 active cases of Coronavirus and 5,09,875 fatalities to date. The country has witnessed a whopping 2.8 crore cases since the onset of the pandemic and has vaccinated 5.9 crore people.