Val Demings Is in the Mix to Become Joe Biden’s Running Mate. Is Her Police Background an Asset or a Liability?

TIME magazine, July 2020.

Her chances to become Vice President rest in part on whether Demings –and Democrats– can reconcile her identity as a former cop with that of a Black woman in a country where Black people have the most to fear from police. Some on the left see her as a symptom of the problem, not a beacon of progress. This raises some hard questions for Americans. How much should we expect our politicians to account for injustices that are bigger than any one person? Is it fair to ask public servants how their own experiences with racism or sexism guide their approach to fighting such forces stacked against them? And are those who have found success within existing structures an extension of systemic failure or the ones best equipped to fix them?