"The Root" senior writer Michael Harriot raised new questions about former Vice President Joe Biden's perspective on race relations in the wake of comments he made about slavery during Thursday's presidential debate.
Harriot recalled a story Joe Biden sometimes tells about the summer of 1962 when he was the only white lifeguard at a public pool in Wilmington, Delaware. After telling a swimmer to exercise caution on the diving board, Biden is warned that he had offended "Corn Pop," the leader of a local gang. Corn Pop next tells Biden that he will be waiting outside with a switchblade when his shift is over. Luckily, Biden defends himself by wrapping a metal chain around his arm and eventually befriends Corn Pop.
“And I looked at him, but I was smart then, I said, first of all, I said when I tell you to get off the board you get off the board, and I’ll kick you out again, but I shouldn’t have called you Esther Williams, I apologize for that," Biden said he said. Fortuitously, Corn Pop accepted Biden's apology.
Biden has told the story multiple times, including in one of his books and at a 2017 ceremony where they re-named the pool after him (video above). Harriot's tweets are particularly funny:
So, that summer, Biden was the only white lifeguard at Prices Run swimming pool in Brown-Burton Winchester Park. He says he did it—y'all, I SWEAR this is true—"in hopes of learning more about the black community."— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) September 14, 2019
Yes, that's an actual quote.
They told Biden that Corn Pop carried a straight razor and was gonna be waiting for him when he got off work. Now you and I both know that, if this was true, Biden would've just called the cops to walk him to the car.— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) September 14, 2019
Now I don't know how it works where you live, but in my hood, you don't actually get a laminated street credential card from the neighborhood thug council but, then again, I've never been on the mean streets of Wilmington.— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) September 14, 2019
But this is not about Biden.— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot) September 14, 2019
This is a celebration of the life of a straight razor-carrying certified street thug who I'd bet my pinky toe never existed. But if you ask Biden, I bet he'd say Corn Pop has passed on.
RIP my nigga Corn Pop.
This is how it sounds when thugs die