OPINION: Analyzing Biden’s statement on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Jared Sindt

“Biden made an inappropriate comparison between two figures who should not be compared for their importance.” Photo courtesy of Verity Weekly.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a video was circulating through the masses featuring comments made by Biden last June.

“Even Dr. King’s assassination did not have the worldwide impact that George Floyd’s death did,” Biden said in the video. “It’s just like television changed the civil rights movement for the better when they saw Bull Connor and his dogs ripping the clothes off of elderly Black women going to church, and firehoses ripping the skin off of young kids.”

At face value, this statement sounds absurd, but to a certain degree I can understand what Biden was talking about. The way he chooses to convey it, however, was poor and misguided.

To say that George Floyd’s death was more significant than the leader of the civil rights movement himself is a ridiculous thought, but Biden was talking about the way that it spread, not the significance.

Unfortunately, though, he decided to do this by comparing the deaths of two men who should not receive the same amount of recognition for their accomplishments.

I don’t disagree that George Floyd’s death was tragic and gave the world a necessary look at police brutality in America. To sit there and compare his death and its impact with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., though, is a mistake.

The fact that this video hasn’t gotten much recognition until now goes to show how the media focuses on their topics. If Trump had said this during his presidency, I don’t doubt that every news and media station would be on it like wild dogs.

A lot of times with statements Biden has made, I can understand the confusion that comes from his stutter and old age mixing up his words. This is much different though, as Biden clearly meant what he said.

I won’t deny that Biden’s statement holds truth with the concept of the mobile age and information spreading faster than ever. The way he chooses to convey this was just ill-advised and disrespectful.

Martin Luther King Jr’s niece said it best when she saw the statements in June and criticized Biden.

“I believe that Mr. Biden continues to speak from his basement, from a reality that is different from what’s happening in the real world,” King stated in June of 2020. “Why is it necessary to compare Martin Luther King Jr. and George Floyd?”

This is how I, and I must assume most people, reacted to his statement. Although not incorrect, Biden made an inappropriate comparison between two figures who should not be compared for their importance.