An alleged Biden quote claims he once said he didn’t want his children to grow up in a “racial jungle.” Here are the facts


US President Joe Biden once said he didn’t want his children to grow up in a “racial jungle” when it came to desegregation.


Assessment: correct attributionAssessment: correct attribution

Assessment: correct attribution

For years, allegations have spread that US President Joe Biden expressed fear in 1977 that desegregation – if not carried out in an “orderly” manner – could lead his children to grow up in “a racial jungle.” with tensions so high that they are likely to explode at some point.”

The quote is accurate as stated. In 2020, we reached out to Biden’s presidential campaign for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication. We reached out to the White House in 2024 to see again if we could get a comment and will update this fact check if we receive a response.

We found posts about the alleged quote on social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) and Reddit. We also received reader mail about this in 2020, when we first covered the claim.

Biden made the remark in 1977, when he was a U.S. senator representing Delaware. He was expressing his views on busing as part of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject (bold for emphasis):

If we don’t do something about this, my kids are going to grow up in a jungle, the jungle being a racial jungle with tensions so high that it’s going to explode at some point. We need to do something about this.

You say I throw away the brick. I’m not as good as all of you at analogies and homilies, but I think promoting busing in a way that goes beyond constitutional mandates is like throwing a bus out the civil rights window. I think this has a huge impact on the ultimate goal of achieving integrated neighborhoods, achieving elimination of employment discrimination, changing housing patterns and changing the tax system.

Later, during the same hearing, Biden addressed the potential legacy of his actions:

We will have to judge in 5 years whether or not Joe Biden was, as one of the other witnesses said, a George Wallace or similar to George Wallace or Joe Biden is a racist. I have to stick to that. I will be judged on this later.

Like the New York Times reported In a lengthy review of Biden’s history of busing, the future US president became the Democratic Party’s defender against the practice.

In 1975, Biden attached an anti-busing provision to an education spending bill. His “advocacy allowed other Democrats to safely oppose busing,” according to the Times.

The Times also reported that Biden sided with Jesse Helms, the segregationist senator from North Carolina, that year when Helms sought to block the federal government from withholding funding from school districts that did not integrate. not.

Daria, law professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder Roithmayr, who initially discovered quote in 2019, told Snopes in 2020 that busing was seen as an effective means of desegregation in schools, alongside affirmative action, “because they were linked to the possibility of ‘big structural change,’ one that did not require a larger overhaul, such as desegregating cities and restructuring public education funding. I suppose the “Opportunity is one way to describe it, but efficient and pragmatic might be another way.”

Because Biden made the “racial jungle” remark, we consider this statement a “correct attribution.” We verified other claims about Biden’s alleged remarks, including whether he met with French President François Mitterrand long after his death.


“Busing of Schoolchildren: Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, First Session, on S. 1651.” HathiTrust, Accessed February 8, 2024.

Herndon, Astead W. and Sheryl Gay Stolberg. “How Joe Biden became the Democrats’ anti-busing crusader.” The New York TimesJuly 15, 2019. NYTimes.com

Liles, Jordan. “Did Biden say he met deceased French President François Mitterrand? SnopesFebruary 7, 2024,

Palma, Bethany. “Did Joe Biden say he didn’t want his children to grow up in a ‘racial jungle’? SnopesMarch 10, 2020,