News & Politics

Kamala Harris Scrambles to Defend Her Blackness

United States Senator Kamala Harris questions officials from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security during the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing on April 9, 2019. (Stefani Reynolds/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

Kamala Harris took the opportunity to defend her blackness during a recent appearance on ex-ESPN personality Jemele Hill’s podcast. Speaking about the accusations that she’s not black enough to be able to adequately represent black Americans, the 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful said, “It is challenging, and to be honest, it’s hurtful.”

During her time as California’s attorney general, Harris dealt with a barrage of accusations calling into question her blackness due to the high incarceration rates of blacks that she chalked up. Earlier this year, after the old charges resurfaced, she pushed back during a radio appearance, saying, “Look, this is the same thing they did to Barack. This is not new to us. We know what they’re trying to do… They’re trying to sow hate and division among us. We need to recognize when we’re being played.”

The California Senator reiterated to Hill, “For other people who can’t figure out I’m black enough, I kind of feel like that’s their problem, not mine. Maybe they need to go back to school to figure it out. And maybe they need to learn about the African diaspora and maybe they need to learn about a number of other things.”

Harris’ response came on the heels of her insistence that she needs to be focused on campaigning and not responding to questions and accusations about her ethnicity. For her part, Hill commiserated with the senator by saying, “It just feels like your blackness is always being put on trial.”

I’m not completely devoid of sympathy for Kamala Harris on this issue, but not in ways that she would appreciate. For me, these questions, whether coming from conservatives or leftists, embrace the tenets of the culturally-destructive identity politics that dominate our political and cultural landscapes. The questions for voters concerning Harris, and every other candidate, should be about policy positions: Does Harris’ stated positions help or hinder the community? Her actual ethnicity is irrelevant, or at least it should be.

Voters should not care about the president’s ethnicity or gender. Voters should care about things like character, policy positions, and the ability to do the job with honor and dignity. It’s unfortunate and racist that leftists have created a climate in which a candidate’s level of blackness is an appropriate topic for conversation. And it’s unfortunate and racist that conservatives fall into the leftist’s trap of identity politics when it comes to Kamala Harris’ ethnicity.