Prominent Black Women Leaders Denounce Racist And Sexist Attacks On VP Candidates
Pundits and insiders have spent weeks bashing many of the Black women being considered for Joe Biden's running mate.
August 06, 2020 at 6:02 pm
A group of more than 100 prominent Black women leaders has signed an open letter condemning attacks on the Black women being considered for vice president as presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden narrows down his list of candidates.
The letter shared with Blavity notes that over the past few weeks, the Black women vice-presidential candidates have faced an onslaught of heavily racialized attacks from members of the media and politicians on both sides of the political spectrum.
For weeks, reporters, pundits, Democratic insiders and commentators have bashed the slate of Black women being considered for the role as being too ambitious, too contentious or too argumentative, according to The Washington Post.
"Over the past few months in the media, we have witnessed many Black women put forth as potential Vice Presidential candidates including former Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Val Demings, and former US Ambassador Susan Rice, be publicly critiqued," the letter read.
"We have also watched many of these highly-credentialed women be disrespected in the media over the last few weeks. Regardless of your political affiliation, whether it's the media, members of the vice presidential vetting committee, a former Governor, a top political donor, or a small town mayor: We are not your Aunt Jemimas," the letter continued.
The letter was signed by Glynda Carr, LaTosha Brown, A'shanti Gholar, Star Jones, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, Angela Rye, Amanda Seales and many more Black women who took issue with how the media was covering the selection process and the unfair representations being floated by Democrats and Republicans.
Harris and Abrams have faced months of relentless critique while being considered for the position. Bass, Rice and Demings recently became heavily scrutinized for political decisions in their pasts.
Additionally, Harris' battles with Biden during debates last year are being criticized by the media and people within the former vice president's campaign team.
People within Biden's vice president search committee wanted Harris to apologize for her comments on stage during debates, according to Politico.
“She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse,” Chris Dodd, a former senator and member of Biden's search committee, told a longtime Biden supporter and donor.
Harris responded to the comment during a livestream conversation for the Black Girls Lead 2020 conference, CNN reported.
"There will be a resistance to your ambition, there will be people who say to you, 'you are out of your lane.' They are burdened by only having the capacity to see what has always been instead of what can be. But don't you let that burden you," she said.
In addition to criticism from the Democratic Party, the shots from the right have taken overtly bigoted tones. On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called Abrams "delusional" and an "essentially unemployed" person who "wrote bad porn novels" and referred to Harris as "transparently transactional."
He went even further, saying Bass was "a lunatic Fidel Castro acolyte, who praised Scientology and once belonged to an armed revolutionary group."
Similarly, a Virginia mayor caused outrage for writing on Facebook that "Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick," as Blavity previously reported.
"Black women are many things. We are business executives, political strategists and elected officials, philanthropists, and activists. We are health and wellness practitioners. We are entertainers and faith leaders. We are wives, mothers, daughters, educators, and students. We set and shift culture. We build power and we are powerful. We are the highest propensity voters in this nation," the letter said in response to the insults being thrown around.
"We are a coalition of Black women leaders who, in this inflection point of the Black liberation movement, where people around the world are galvanized to action, know that the time for Black women in the United States is now," the letter added.
The letter goes on to address the attacks from inside Biden's own selection committee, calling for the "racist myth of a happy, Black servant portrayed as a happy domestic worker loyal to her White employer" to be put to bed. The letter's signees say Black women "are qualified and ambitious without remorse."
"We are servant leaders — motivated by a desire to uplift and advance our communities and nation. And we will not tolerate racist or sexist tropes consistently utilized in an effort to undermine our power. No matter who you are supporting for Vice President, you should be equally outraged by the blatant disrespect of Black women. Black women have been and remain vital across sectors," the letter said.
"We are indebted to women like Ella Baker, Septima Clark, Shirley Chisholm, Angela Davis, Fannie Lou Hamer, Barbara Jordan, Ruby Doris Robinson, and Ida B. Wells just to name a few. These women have fought to move us forward and are collectively responsible for much of this country's progress. Black women have been leading, and we must honor, protect, support, and uplift them," it concluded.