New Jersey


The use of the word "gangbanger" drew criticism on social media, including from Booker

Joe Biden, the current frontrunner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, once again came under criticism over the topic of race when Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey took issue with language Biden used at a Rainbow PUSH luncheon on Friday, NBC News reports.

While discussing the need for criminal justice reform, Biden said people must continue to work toward recognizing blacks as equals so that African American mothers, like the mother of Trayvon Martin, who was killed in Florida in 2012, no longer have to fear that their sons will be shot whenever they are away from home. "We've got to recognize that the kid wearing a hoodie may very well be the next poet laureate and not a gangbanger," Biden said.

"This isn’t about a hoodie," Booker tweeted. "It’s about a culture that sees a problem with a kid wearing a hoodie in the first place. Our nominee needs to have the language to talk about race in a far more constructive way."

The Biden campaign released a statement Saturday.

"Vice President Biden, like many leaders over the years, was calling direct attention to the daily experiences faced by many African American men around the country and the perceived so-called 'threat' from people like Trayvon Martin who were racially profiled and deemed 'criminal' while wearing a hoodie," said Jamal Brown, national press secretary for the campaign. "As the context of his remarks noted, we need to 'Make sure black mothers feel confident when they send their child, their son, out on the streets that they're going to feel safe.'"

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