Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden’s recent slip of the tongue in Iowa is the race-baiting gaffe to end all gaffes. Or at least it should be.

During a speech sponsored by the Asian & Latino Coalition, Biden said, “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.”

Once Biden realized his error, he quickly added, “wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids. No, I really mean it, but think how we think about it.”

Biden’s comments received plenty of response. Opponents said Biden revealed his own racist tendencies, while supporters said he merely misspoke. No matter how you view the comments, the lesson to be learned is that it’s time to stop talking about race in America.

In the 1980s, everyone warned, “Don’t stereotype people.” We wanted to downplay our differences and promote our similarities. We were in the immediate aftermath of the Civil Rights movements for blacks and women. We took our cues from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was adamant that Americans should be one, not divided into a 100 different categories based on race, gender and ethnicity.

During the 1990s, however, we started talking more about race. There was less talk about America as an assimilated melting pot and more effort made to promote race and gender, especially in employment, higher education and day-to-day discourse, which became more politically correct.

Nowadays, race dominates the political landscape. Ironically, all this talk has led to many people feeling race relations have worsened, not improved. The media fan the flames; talk of a “growing racial divide” is everywhere, on nearly every newscast.

Enough, say ordinary Americans, who are sick of it all. It’s time to stop the race-baiting insanity.

King is famous for his many words of wisdom that competently steered the Civil Rights movement, including the line, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

King would likely be disappointed by today’s values. America talks more about color, not less. We talk less about character, not more. We talk about our differences rather than our similarities. We never promote the virtues of assimilation or America as a melting pot.

Today’s Democrat presidential candidates talk too much about race. They use race as a weapon, decry their opponents as racist when they begin to lose arguments, and mention race every chance they can to curry favor – and votes – among minorities who’ve grown up believing Democrats, and only Democrats, value them and their contributions to society.

And, of course, they spin President Trump’s lack of verbal skills to their advantage. They don’t give him the benefit of the doubt, as they do Biden. They make Trump out as a racist because they’ve lost the Russian collusion debate and have nothing of substance to offer America.

They tout Trump’s comments about the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally in 2017 as proof he’s racist. They never recite the entire quote, especially the following: “And you had people – and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”

We’re going to look back years from now and realize we should have heeded MLK’s advice to build a colorblind society. Democrats have fully embraced identity politics, and the nation is suffering as a result.

John Balentine, a former managing editor of the Lakes Region Weekly, lives in Windham.