August 11, 2020
A group of more than 100 “black male leaders” from an array of fields signed their names to a letter saying that the black females who have been named as potential running mates to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have been mistreated, and warning that Biden “will lose” in November if he does not choose a black woman as his vice presidential pick.
What are the details?
In a letter published Monday in the Atlanta Daily World, the message begins, “As someone who has said throughout the campaign that VP Joe Biden needs to choose a Black woman VP, the urgency for that pick has gone from something that SHOULD happen to something that HAS to happen. It disgusts us that Black women are not just being vetted in this VP process but unfairly criticized and scrutinized.”
Hitting out at Biden, the letter continues, “Was Joe Biden ever labeled ‘too ambitious’ because he ran for president three times? Should President Obama not have made him the VP because he had to worry about his ‘loyalty’ when he clearly had AMBITIONS to be president himself?”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was the only potential pick named in the letter. Other black female Democrats who have been floated in the media as prospective vice presidential candidates include Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.), Rep. Val Demings (Fla.), and former national security adviser Susan Rice.
Biden is expected to announce his choice this week.
The letter also criticized Biden by listing a number of “oppressive measures” linked to him during his decades in the Senate, including the 1994 crime bill, before asking, “So, Black women are the only ones required to stay in their place and show remorse for even questioning their own oppression?”
“For too long Black women have been asked to do everything from rally the troops to risk their lives for the Democratic Party with no acknowledgment, no respect, no visibility, and certainly not enough support,” the letter added, noting that “more than 700 Black women signed on to a letter demanding a Black woman VP. And we, black men, stand in solidarity with them.”
It concluded, “Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means you will lose the election. We don’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils and we don’t want to vote the devil we know versus the devil we don’t because we are tired of voting for devils—period.”
The men came from entertainment, law, politics, media and beyond, including rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, CNN’s Van Jones, and attorney Ben Crump. It was also signed by television host Nick Cannon who came under fire for anti-Semitic comments in recent weeks, and radio host Charlamagne Tha God, whom Biden famously told earlier this year that “you ain’t black” if you’re considering voting for President Donald Trump.
Politico reported that “after news broke over the weekend that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a white woman, had flown to meet with Biden to discuss the vice presidency, frustration and disappointment boiled over among Black female Democrats — including some in her own state.”
Michigander Virgie Rollins, chair of the Democratic National Committee Black Caucus, told the outlet of Biden, “He better pick a black woman. If he picks Gretchen, he’ll lose Michigan.”
Rollins added, “There are a lot of Black people mad at her [Whitmer] in this state.”