An Open Letter to Joe Biden in Response to Black Voters ‘Having His Back’

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Dear President-elect Biden,

Congrats Joe, you did it!

You, Kamala, and a record-setting number of American voters defeated Donald Trump’s bid for re-election. I hope there is a VIP section at a Scranton-area Golden Corral with your name on it, as you have earned a fire-ass senior discounted steak and a tall glass of iced tea.

Try not to get too lit.

I’d like to holler at you for a second about a specific part of your victory speech. You know, the moment when you told Black America that we always have your back and therefore you will have ours.

In case you were not fully aware sir, most Black folks were tepid in their support of you. We talked about your authoring of the 1994 crime bill and connection to segregationists, as much as, if not more than, your time as Obama’s right-hand man.

We did not all roll out a Clyburn-like red blue carpet for you. As much as representation matters, you inviting Kamala to the ticket was not an undeniable deal-breaker for us, as many of us had grievances with parts of her political history.

What we knew was Donald Trump had to leave, so we did what we have done time and time again for the Democratic Party: we tipped the electorate in your favor in spite of millions of white Americans who, by the numbers, had difficulty deciding between the prospect of your presidency and bringing Trump back for four more years.

So when you say you have our backs, what can we realistically look forward to? We know about the Lift Every Voice agenda. We know that every bit of access to the White House you’ve had has come by way of you partnering with someone Black.

We know that you do not present the callousness towards us that Trump does, but we also know that you have skeletons in your past that does not afford you the title of some great emancipator. We know that you have a deeper, vested interest in finding common ground with your opponents across the aisle than aligning yourself with “radical” leftists.

I understand that you have not taken the oath of office as of yet and there’s still time for you to refine what your commitment to Black America will be. I just want to be transparent in saying that we have been down this road with other Democrats who included us in the liner notes of their victories, only to leave our communities hanging once they began governing.

You were overcome with emotion on the night you accepted your victory and maybe blurted out a proposal you may not have had you not been so drunk with jubilation.

I just wanna know what your commitment will look like once you sober up and remember that you are now responsible for also governing a wide swath of the population that would be perfectly fine with us being erased.

Does “having our backs” stop police bullets from entering our spines or lighten the load of systemic inequity we carry? Because if that’s not a part of your plans to show up for us, you need to re-evaluate your commitment before you head into the Oval Office.

Sincerely, a Black citizen with a weary back,

Donney Rose

About the Author

Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be.