Does Joe Biden’s Vice President have to be a Black woman?
As appeared first in the Chicago Defender
By Sabrina Catlett
For many voters, the resounding answer is no. The growing disdain for Biden among young Democratic voters has been predicted to dwindle with the promise of a Black woman as vice president, but for many, this is not the case. Of the 13 (and counting) women being vetted by the Biden campaign, over half of them are women of color. Seven of them are Black women.
A recent poll found that 46 percent of Democrats think it important that Biden chooses a Black woman as his running mate. This percentage has increased in the wake of the death of George Floyd and other recent instances of police brutality, but in April, 200 Black women signed a letter to Biden, encouraging him to choose a Black woman as vice president.
Many Democrats are pursuing this end as a means of representation. Others hope that it will increase voter turnout for young people. Still, the majority of Black Democratic voters are more interested in action and competence than representation. Juanita Labelle of New York admits, “It’s not essential for me. I care less about the hue. My concern is the heart because all “skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.” For Black Democratic voters like her, the black electorate at the local level has been overwhelmingly ineffective. She feels that Black legislators who are continually chasing elections rather than disrupting the existing systems that impede Black justice have made more of an impact on her than the president will. This sentiment is shared amongst many young Black voters who are weary of the Democratic Party’s unfulfilled promises as a whole.
Still, other young Black voters aren’t impressed with the pool of choices, and the disdain for Biden is so much that they would risk another four years of Trump. “I hate to say it, but between Biden and Trump, I’d still vote Trump,” says one young Black woman. “Biden was unapologetic about voting against things meant to give Black Americans basic rights. To me, that is more dangerous than a moron; the world can collectively groan at and ignore when he tweets. Tweets don’t pass legislation. Weird old racists that have been in government too long do. Too many people see Obama. They don’t see Biden or his policies, and that’s disturbing to me.” Fulford seems to see Biden as equal to or worse than Trump in his ability to govern and its potential effects on Black Americans. Like many young Black voters, she has trouble complying with the “Blue no matter who” ideology.
While there is a section of young Black voters who hope for the rise of a third party, most young Black voters are in dismay regarding this election and its prospective candidates. There seems to be no guarantee that the Democratic party will achieve its intended end if Biden chooses a Black woman to run alongside him.
Sabrina Catlett is a writer and educator living in Chicago. You can find her on social media at SheUnapologetic.com.