“Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican. I’m so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history. It’s disgusting. Now using it for debate time at #DemDebate2? These are my people not her people. Freaking disgusting.”
Those words tweeted by African-American, far-right leaning conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander June 27th elicited a response via re-tweet from Donald Trump, Jr. on Friday night wondering if those allegations were true.
After Trump Jr.’s re-tweet, it circulated throughout right-wing social media circles insinuating Harris was not indeed an American. Trump Jr.’s spokesperson said it was a misunderstanding. However, Alexander’s desired result of his divide-and-conquer strategy employed in the tweet was a dog-whistle designed to derail Harris’s campaign.
Far-right conspiracy theorists and their social media accounts soon spread the misinformation across the internet, creating a narrative that Harris is not “black enough” to be president.
Here are the facts: Harris is a first-term senator from Oakland, California. She previously served as district attorney in San Francisco from 2004-2011 and later as California’s Attorney General from 2011-2017. She is the biracial daughter of a Jamaican father (Donald Harris) and an Indian mother (Shyamala Gopalan Harris).
Obviously, neither parent is an American; however, Kamala is an American citizen by birthright. Any person born in the United States is unequivocally granted those privileges.
Alexander lashed out because Harris successfully dragged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden into the deep blue sea of race-relations with one sentence during the June 27th Democratic presidential debate:
“As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race.”
In an attempt to introduce herself to a skeptical and unsure national audience, Harris excoriated Biden on his stance on forced busing (the practice of integrating schools in segregated cities by sending black children to schools in white neighborhoods).
Harris made the issue personal, explaining that she was bused as a child in San Francisco, a fact that has since turned into a viral tweet became buzz-worthy and garnered Harris new supporters across America.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2019
According to Harris’s campaign, $2 million dollars were raised 24 hours after the debates.
Fellow Democratic candidates Bill de Blasio, Cory Booker, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Biden all tweeted their solidarity for Harris and their collective disgust with Alexander, Trump Jr. and the right-wing echo chambers.
As Paul Harvey would say, “and now, the rest of the story.”
According to prognosticators, Harris won round one of the figurative twelve-round boxing matches that is the 2020 Democratic presidential primary last Thursday night. Later in the bout, Harris will undoubtedly have to answer questions regarding her criminal justice record while serving as District Attorney in San Francisco and later as California’s Attorney General.
Harris had to play the role of a prosecutor and California’s lawyer in the 1990s when “tough on crime” politics were accepted across party lines, popularized by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
To that end, Harris fought to uphold convictions even though some individuals were proven innocent while simultaneously supporting programs that helped people find jobs instead of putting them in prison. Harris sought to criminalize truancy and support California’s death penalty; conversely, she didn’t pursue the death penalty for a man that killed a police officer.
Coupled with being a Black female attorney general, it is clear Harris the prosecutor and former attorney general was led by the axiom, “be firm, fair and consistent.”
Progressives will likely seize on those inconsistencies in the next debate in July by dragging Harris to the figurative deep end of the pool to find out whether or not she will drown with respect to the issue(s) of criminal justice reform, while seeking to label her a cop masquerading as a woke person that claims she’s best equipped to defeat President Donald J. Trump on November 3, 2020.
Harris should counter with this statistic: According to a 2015 study by the Women Donors Network, 95 percent of the 2,437 elected state and local prosecutors across the country in 2014 were white, and 79 percent were white men, according to the study.
By comparison, white men make up 31 percent of the population of the United States. The data was compiled and analyzed by the Center for Technology and Civic Life.
Harris’s apparent strategy is appealing to centrist Democrats that appreciate her “firm, fair and consistent” prosecutor roots while being progressive enough to keep those like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and the progressive wing of the party on her side. Harris’s record could also suggest she dispelled the myth a minority attorney general can’t be tough on crime.
Harris has elevated herself to front-runner status based on her performance in the June 27th debate. The attacks by Ari Alexander, Trump, Jr., and the fringes of the right-wing were easy to discredit. If Harris can answer the questions regarding her record in California, the former attorney general might become the person that will “prosecute” the Trump presidency in the general election.