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If you were reading the Gateway Pundit, a far-right conspiratorial site, you would have read a shocking headline on Wednesday night.
“Video of Joe Biden Saying ‘Our European Culture’ Is ‘Not Imported from Some African Nation or Some Asian Nation’ Causes Controversy,” the headline says. The phrase sounds like something a far-right white nationalist—and not the leading Democratic candidate for 2020—would espouse.
A clip accompanying the headline comes from a March 2019 forum, and even though it takes Biden’s quote out of context, far-right figures jumped on it.
Biden is a white nationalist https://t.co/PVPeUQ1I3Y— Petty is Praxis (@rtyson82) January 2, 2020
Holy— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) January 2, 2020
Uhhh... BASED? https://t.co/SLFYCK94No— Scott Greer (@ScottMGreer) January 2, 2020
Plot twist: Biden is alt right ? https://t.co/DFnAK1CU2w— Cassandra Fairbanks 🕊⏳ (@CassandraRules) January 2, 2020
Biden has had his struggles with linguistic slip-ups and his old views on race. But unfortunately for those who wanted to start a narrative that Biden harbors white nationalist views, it’s not the case here.
The context of the clip reveals Biden was talking about old European views on spousal abuse and about how it was OK to hit women in olden times.
“Our culture” of domestic violence, Biden was saying, was based on those old European beliefs.
He told a story about past English judges tolerating wife-beating. Minutes later, returning to his argument about how American permissiveness toward the abuse of women descends from centuries-old English permissiveness, he said this: pic.twitter.com/RxOYylfwz0— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 2, 2020
Right before the beginning of the clip that went viral, Biden specifically said “changing the culture” was necessary. Despite what right-wing posts are claiming, Biden never said it’s something that should be preserved.
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]