Amber Rose is right: Joe Biden doesn’t care about Black people

OPINION: The "Muva" of hip-hop's Donald Trump endorsement exposes a fundamental misunderstanding of Black culture, political strategy and how whiteness works.

65th GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
Amber Rose, who has never been nominated for a Grammy, attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy) Credit: Photo byMatt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio

Cory: “How come you ain’t never liked me?

Troy: Like you? Who the hell say I got to like you? What law is there say I got to like you? … I go out of here every morning … bust my butt putting up with them crackers every day … because I like you? You about the biggest fool I ever saw. … Let’s get this straight here before it go along any further:

I ain’t got to like you. 

Mr. Rand don’t give me my money come payday ‘cause he likes me. He gives me ‘cause he owes me … Don’t you try and go through life worrying about if somebody like you or not. You best be making sure they doing right by you. You understand what I’m saying boy?

Cory: Yessir.

Troy: Then get the hell out of my face, and get on down to that A&P.

August Wilson, “Fences.” 

Let’s get this out of the way: Donald Trump is a white man’s candidate. 

In the 2016 presidential election, nearly 9 out of 10 Donald Trump voters were white. He repeated the feat in 2020. The entire legal strategy of his “Stop the Steal” movement was that officials shouldn’t count Black people’s votes. His executive order banning diversity training was so unconstitutional that a federal judge blocked it. He was a vocal supporter of police brutality, armed white supremacist terrorists and the erasing of Black history. He has referred to Black women as dogs, monsters and “low IQ.” 

Amber Rose Levonchuck doesn’t care.

In an Instagram post on Monday, social media influencer Amber Rose shared a picture with Donald and Melania Trump with the caption “Trump 2024.” 

Even though, as the light-skinned Omaraosa eagerly informs anyone within earshot, she identifies as “mixed,” Rose’s career is almost exclusively due to Black culture. She rose to fame as a hip-hop video model and girlfriend of fellow MAGAfrican-American Kanye West. Her short-lived career as a rapper was elevated by songs with Mannie Fresh, Wiz Khalifa and Rick Ross. Her book, “How to be a Bad Bitch, appropriates slang popularized by a Black woman.

Still, Rose’s endorsement of a white supremacist who once referred to her mother’s homeland of Cape Verde as a “shithole country” doesn’t erase her Blackness — even if Amber Rose fits the exact description of the immigrants Trump claims are “poisoning the blood of our country.” There are many Black people who — intentionally or subconsciously — are invested in the dogma of whiteness. Jason Whitlock, Candace Owens and other Negro conservatives will overlook logic, facts and history to invest in the dogma of whiteness. They consider themselves to be “free thinkers,” but they always, always, always end up on the side of whiteness. 

Perhaps the most defining feature of whiteness is its moral clarity. Because of whiteness, the majority of white Americans have been on the wrong side of every single racial issue in the history of this country. They were wrong about race-based chattel slavery. They were wrong about manifest destiny. And racial terrorism. And “separate but equal.” And civil rights. Even today, they are the only demographic who doesn’t believe “Black people face “a lot” or even “some discrimination in society today.”  Clearly, when it comes to liberation, freedom and justice for Black Americans, their morals are always, always, always wrong. 

And whiteness is the only reason why a former stripper with no political experience or expertise would assume she’s more intelligent and savvier than all the Black scholars, political experts and actual Black voters combined. It’s easy to scoff at the idea that Amber Rose and uneducated white voters are more qualified to know what’s suitable for Black people than Fannie Lou Hamer, Stokely Carmichael, most Black voters, most Black scholars, most Black political analysts and even my grandmother. Still, it is not the whitest thing I’ve ever heard. When social media users criticized Rose’s decision, the model, feminist and SlutWalk activist replied with one of the whitest responses ever:

Lmaooo yall think Biden cares about black ppl??? Sad. Do ur research. I did. I’ll ALWAYS put women first. Y’all want biological men in women’s sports. Trump supports the most reasonable compromise on abortion. Stop being brainwashed cuz WE’RE ppl of color. Make your own decisions.

Like Trump’s ignorant MAGAmuffins minions and millions of self-assured white people throughout history, Amber Rose doesn’t know things. She doesn’t know that of the more than 3 million women competing in high school sports, an organization that shares Rose’s anti-trans position could only find five transgender athletes competing on K-12 girls’ teams. The stable genius and the new MAGA Muva are both too dumb to know that getting struck by lightning (.0006%) is four times more likely to happen than a girl competing against a trans athlete. Rose’s assertion that Trump has “the most reasonable compromise on abortion” assumes that white, male state legislators should have a say in a woman’s reproductive choices. Maybe Rose is not old enough to remember when Trump-appointed Supreme Court justices dismantled the right to abortion. But Rose’s dimwitted declaration contains a more important question that no one has answered since it was posed by a fictional character in August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

Why does Joe Biden have to care about Black people?

Moreover, why do people assume that Black people want or need to be liked? Why is that a thing so many white people believe? For instance, whenever a Black person on social media talks about racism, politics, music, or well, anything, whiteness compels people to make one of the following counterarguments:   

  1. The Democrats are the real racists; 
  2. Something about identity politics, being divisive or – my favorite – “race-baiting;” 
  3. A question about the “Democratic plantation,” or their favorite:
  4. What about Joe Biden?

The notion that Black people are so collectively stupid that Democrats can bamboozle Black voters for 88 years is the epitome of white supremacy. Somehow, the Black-people-have-been-hoodwinked narrative doesn’t apply to the Hispanic and Asian voters who overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party. The majority of white voters have supported GOP presidential candidates for the last 60 years, but Caucasians aren’t stuck on the Republican plantation. 

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Of course, we know that whiteness prevents people from knowing about Black history. Amber and her half-brothren might not know that Black people have voted for racists since Black people started voting. I’m not sure that light-skinned Candace Owens is aware of this arcane historical fact:

America is kinda racist. 

If Black voters only cast ballots for people who never performed an act of racism, who would we vote for? Betty White? Dolly Parton? I’d support Alex Trebek, but he’s Canadian … and dead. Black voters knew Franklin Delano Roosevelt was racist when he excluded Black Americans from the New Deal. Black activists and scholars like Mary McLeod Bethune, Rayford Logan and the “Black Cabinet” forced FDR to enact their policy demands and even wrote Executive Order 8802. That’s why FDR won his 1936 reelection with 71% of the Black vote. Only a fool would think Lyndon Johnson, a white Democrat from Texas, cared about Black people. Black people used their political power to force him to sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act

There isn’t a shred of evidence that Abraham Lincoln stopped believing in “having the superior position assigned to the white race.” But fewer than five years after Lincoln told white voters: “Trust me, I believe in white supremacy,” he signed the Emancipation Proclamation — not because he cared about Black people, but because he had no other choice. 

Who cares how Joe Biden feels about Black people if he does what we ask him to do? He didn’t reverse Trump’s order banning diversity training because he cares about DEI. The White House didn’t erase $167 billion in student loans for 4.75 million people because they care about Black people’s credit scores. Black voters know they are disproportionately affected by student debt, so they demanded it. Joe wrote the 1994 crime bill because, like many white people, he mistakenly believed police and mass incarceration prevent crime. So when he tried to do it again, the Congressional Black Caucus prevented the Safer America Plan from moving forward. And guess what happened? Crime went down. I’m sure Biden cares about the Catholic church’s positions on abortion and gay marriage. But because of his constituents, the Biden administration had no choice but to sign executive orders protecting women’s right to choose and LGBTQ rights

Black voters are politically astute and historically informed enough to understand that politics is about leveraging power inside the Democratic process. In a two-party system, we know that voting is a binary choice, so we support the candidate most likely to execute our political will. We are keenly aware that politicians are just tools to help us realize our political, economic and social goals. Biden doesn’t have to care about Black people any more than a hoe cares about a tomato plant or a DJ cares about white people dancing offbeat. 

Still, I understand why Amber Rose thinks Black voters are out here choosing presidents like we’re looking for a spades partner. The idiotic expectation that a rich, powerful old white man needs to care about things in order to do his job is how Trump got elected in the first place. Uneducated white voters actually believed he wanted to make America great again, but we knew he’d renege. Black people knew Trump didn’t care about poor white people, but his white supporters bought it hook, line and sinker. White evangelicals actually believed that Trump was a God-fearing Christian who reads “Two Corinthians.” They still think he cares about their economic anxiety, which is why he keeps asking them for money. Make it make sense. 

Contrary to what the new Proud Girl claims, I’ve literally never met a Black person who believes Joe Biden or the Democratic Party cares about Black people. In fact, anyone who actually knows Black people understands that we are often the most critical faction of the Democratic Party. If anyone understands how white allies and 81-year-old white men work, it’s Black people. Even Joe Biden’s staunchest Blackest supporter doesn’t think he is the Caucasian Malcolm X, nor do we expect progressive whites in the Democratic coalition to act like members of the Black Panther Party. But we also know the Republican Party is worse. So, no, Black people are not loyal to the Democratic Party …

They are loyal to Black people. 

The people who built this country are as beholden to the Democratic Party as Amber Rose is to the Black people whose culture built her career. We believe Biden cares about us as much as Amber Rose cares about her whiteness. Joe Biden cares about Black people as much as a 67-year-old Black voter in South Carolina cares about Amber Rose’s political leanings. Perhaps the more relevant question is:

Y’all think Amber Rose cares about Black people? 

This is why I find whiteness so fascinating. I marvel at the confidence it instills in its adherents. Despite the history, data and facts that clearly show them to be wholly unqualified to speak on issues of race, they share their opinions with unceasing assurance. Yes, whiteness is truly a thing to behold.

To be clear, this has absolutely nothing to do with white people. I don’t find white people to be that interesting. White people are a group of individuals. Some white people are decent human beings; some are not. Whiteness, on the other hand, is an ideology rooted in the social construct and tenets of racial superiority. And because whiteness has no biological, scientific or cultural foundation, it can only be defined by what it is not. White people are from Europe, but not all Europeans have access to whiteness. It is a pan-ethnic figment of a collective imagination that is rooted in anti-Blackness. Whiteness is a privilege. It is an idea that outweighs all.

Much like Nikki Haley, who recently endorsed Donald Trump after publicly criticizing Trump’s “dangerous worldview” for a year, Amber Rose is willing to embrace an anti-Black, authoritarian, court-certified sexual abuser who insulted women, her heritage and her mama because she believes in an idea that white people have in their heads. Black people built the culture that catapulted Amber Rose into the American consciousness. The blood of Black activists watered the path that made it possible for Haley and Rose to become “American.” 

But for the Amber Rose Levonchucks, Nimrata Randhawas and people who have access to the privilege that whiteness affords, “American” is not enough. Whiteness is everything. For them, Black lives are as disposable as feminism, LGBTQ allyship or the people whose labor built their beloved country. After using our culture like a coin in a merry-go-round for 20 years, what else are they supposed to do when the carousel stops? Live like a Black person? In America? But instead of tossing Black people under the bus, Amber Rose does have one other option:

Get the hell out of our faces and get down to the A&P.

Michael Harriot is a writer, cultural critic and championship-level Spades player. His NY Times bestseller  Black AF History: The Unwhitewashed Story of America is available in bookstores everywhere.