*(Via BlackPressUSA.com) – Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) is running for president of the United States. Harris, a black American who is the daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father, was born and raised in Oakland, CA and then Toronto, announced her intentions on MLK Day. Many celebrated the announcement.
Harris would be standing on the shoulders of Shirley Chisolm, the only other black woman to run for president in the history of the United States. However, others immediately went into default mode – tearing down this dynamic black woman before she could even get started.
Some questioned her race suggesting she wasn’t really black because of her biracial and global heritage. This critique sounded similar to the critique made of then Senator Barack Obama, the child of a white woman from Kansas and a father from Kenya. In both cases, daddy left, and the children were raised by mothers who aren’t black women.
Both mothers understood that, in the context of the United States, their children would be seen and treated as black Americans. So they did what black mothers have been doing for centuries here, prepared them socially and culturally for survival in the United States.
In fact, Harris’ mother, a scientist and civil rights activist, adopted black American culture, immersing herself and her children in what she found to be a rich, energetic and welcoming culture.
Harris, who obviously knows who she is, lived her life as a black woman in America because in America, particularly during her childhood, you did not have the option of reinvention or all of the privileges of self-identification racial and cultural groups have today. There were no multiple racial categories being checked and personal pronouns being chosen or eschewed.
Having the option of attending a college or university in the United States or Canada, Harris chose Howard University, one of the premiere HBCUs in the United States and quite possibly the world.
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Now, before you tweet, yes there were schools exclusively for blacks in other countries during segregation and apartheid, which was worldwide. Harris, who could have attended a myriad of competitive universities, specifically chose this competitive university because of its legacy of educating and influencing black Americans and thus American culture.
Where did Harris make her announcement? On the steps of Howard University, her alma mater, where she let the world know it was her duty to try to gain the Democratic nomination in a political climate run amok and a White House in dangerous hands. And still, folks on social media used terms like “slick,” “calculating” and “untrustworthy” to describe this woman, beaming with pride, as something other than a proud HU alum.
The words used to describe Harris in social media dovetailed nicely into the Jezebel stereotype, often lobbed at black women who are painted as secretive, seductive, beguiling and alluring in literature and film. This stereotype emerged during slavery to justify the rape of black women by their white owners – men and women included.
Mainstream media picked up where Black Twitter left off, delighting in her relationship with San Francisco’s iconic mayor Willie Brown. Brown, who is still separated from his legal wife, and had been separated for 25 years at the time of his and Harris’ coupling, refuses to comment on the relationship today, because it is what reality television stars call a non-factor.
This article continues at BlackPressUSA.com.