I like Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), but she disappointed me today. In a radio interview, Harris was asked about her “blackness.” Her parents were born in India and Jamaica, making her what we would call biracial or multiracial. She is, of course, very free to racially identify as she pleases and apparently she identifies as black. Absolutely fair enough.
The problem I have is when she tries to represent everyone—and no, she’s not the president yet, so she doesn’t get to do that. She said, “I’m not going to spend my time trying to educate people about who black people are.” She also said, “I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because they don’t understand.” We do understand. We understand that Kamala Harris is defending the ridiculous old one-drop rule that if you have one-drop of black blood, you are black. We understand what it means to identify as multiracial. We understand that some people negate the race of one of their parents. We also understand that she is going after the black vote in her bid for the presidency and she’s being political. Perhaps she should consider the multiracial votes. We also understand that if she ever needs a bone marrow transplant, her Indian side will very much be a factor for a match no matter how much she says she is only black.
The Senator was also questioned about her marriage to a white man, which she defended, thank goodness. I don’t know if they have children or plan to, but I hope she gives some thought to how they will racially identify. If only Harris had said she identifies as black but is also proud of her biracial heritage, I would not be so disappointed. –Susan Graham