President Joe Biden’s use of the word “boy” in reference to a Black senior adviser at a FEMA briefing on Monday about Hurricane Ida has some calling out the conservatives who brought attention to the gaffe on social media.
“I’m here with my senior adviser and boy who knows Louisiana very, very well and New Orleans, Cedric Richmond,” Biden said at the press briefing after a major hurricane rocked Louisiana over the weekend.
Richmond, 47, is an attorney and former Louisiana congressman. He serves as a senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement at the White House.
On social media, conservatives swiftly criticized Biden’s use of the word “boy” which has historically been used as a demeaning term to refer to Black men.
“Did JOE just call a Black man “boy”—this is quite Troubling, especially considering @JoeBiden’s long History of making Racist statements,” conservative personality Greg Kelly wrote.
Paris Dennard, a White House staff member under former President George W. Bush, wrote, “Joe Biden just continues to insult Black men openly and in public because he doesn’t care.” Dennard didn’t miss the chance to praise former President Donald Trump when he added, “While Ja’Ron Smith was 38 years old when he was in a similar role for President Trump I can assure he was not called a “boy” by President Trump.”
Lavern Spicer, a Florida Republican candidate for Congress, wrote, “Cedric is 47 years old. He’s nobody’s boy! What a rude, condescending RACIST!!! You just know he wanted to call him a “N” but knew that wouldn’t go over well.”
In response, some users defended Biden, saying he wasn’t using the term in a racist fashion.
“I don’t like Biden one bit, but let’s be intellectually honest. He did not use “boy” as racial slang but rather as a term of familiarity or endearment. Much like someone would say, my man’ when referring to a good friend,” wrote user T.J. Lewis.
“This is a stretch and a half. That wasn’t racist,” another user said.
Other users shared a similar sentiment, adding, “that is the biggest leap ever,” and “Ya’ll reaching here.”
Another user called the criticism levied against Biden as desperate. “What kind of desperation has to be implemented to nit-pick a mans every word, although he may have not given a “Proper” age related reference it wasn’t a negative one and even so much as a term of endearment in some company. This is NON News story.”
In 2019, Biden was criticized for recalling how segregationist Democratic Sen. James O. Eastland “never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son,'” in the 1970s and 1980s.
“I do understand the consequence of the word ‘boy,’” Biden told Al Sharpton after the comments. “But it wasn’t said in any of that context at all.”
Biden was also criticized for telling Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards over the weekend to “just holler” for help if there is anything else he needs amid the response to Hurricane Ida. The death toll in Louisiana has risen to four, and over one million people remain without power.