Almost as soon as Senator Harris announced her candidacy, scores of black people found reasons not to even consider supporting her. Critiques started with concerns about her professional record to concerns about her choice of a husband. At first glance examining her record is fair and should be encouraged. As for the asinine jabs because she has a nerve to be married to that white man, there’s no need for me to dignify that nonsense with a response.
Who is US Senator Kamala Harris?
Some are calling her the female Obama. In more precise terms, she’s a candidate whose mixed racial heritage and charm makes her more palatable to most of America. It’s Not fair but it’s true. That does not stop many from calling her problematic. Not a few black Americans see her as a biracial woman with no real connection or solidarity with the black community. They are certain that she will pander to black people for votes and then leave us high and dry if elected. Whatever your take, it’s crucial that you make an informed voting choice. After all, the outcome of the 2020 election will impact your life.
For starters, Kamala has an impressive family background independent of her racial heritage. Her late Indian mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was an accomplished scientist and her Jamaican father, Donald Harris, is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Stanford University. With such accomplished parents coupled with her own success, there is no doubt that she possesses the intelligence and fortitude to be POTUS.
Should she be elected to the highest office in the land?
Many believe that since her parents are immigrants, one being a nonblack immigrant, she could not possibly identify with or care about the struggles faced by black Americans. In addition, I’ve listened to black Californians claim she does more for immigrants than black Americans. The problem is, I don’t recall Obama facing the same questions of loyalty. He wasn’t raised by black Americans either. Why the concern over Harris?
I’ve come across a number of other things that are concerning to many people. For example, there is chatter that Harris is responsible for jailing black and brown mothers over truancy issues. While I cannot claim that black mothers weren’t sent to jail, I can only find examples of Latina mothers that got into any trouble. Even if black mothers faced jail time because their children were in fact truant, is that really an injustice? Take a look at this Op-Ed by Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the then California Attorney General Kamala Harris:
Chronic absenteeism is especially damaging to disadvantaged students, who are already at higher risk of falling behind their peers academically. Missing school widens achievement gaps, and catching up can be difficult. Students who are truant in elementary school are more likely to be truant in middle and high school, when truancy is closely linked to an increased chance of a child dropping out.
Based on this alone, should parents responsible for chronic absenteeism just get a slap on the wrist? We’re not talking 3 days but 20, 30, 60 days and no medical excuse. Why shouldn’t a parent face consequences over this? After all, truancy could indicate abuse and neglect.
What about the time AG Harris tried to stop a transgender prisoner (jailed for second degree murder) from getting state-funded sex reassignment surgery? The only reason she tried to block it was because there was no evidence of medical necessity. Still, some in the LGBT community are anxious about this.
Lastly, black women are supposed to fear a Harris presidency because she built a career locking up murderers, rapists, robbers, etc. Black women are disproportionately represented among sex crime victimization statistics and we are to fear a hard-nosed prosecutor of rapists? That is beyond insulting but some black women are falling for this tripe.
To be clear, this is not an endorsement of Harris. However, we must ask that if we hold criminal justice issues against Harris, will we support Biden if he runs? If you are concerned about Harris and possible bias against blacks, do you support Trump?
Reject or accept candidates wisely, not impulsively.