Sen. Kamala Harris is one of the most talked about candidates running for president. However, there have been some questions about her identity and she has been accused of dodging explicitly saying she is Black. The former prosecutor addressed that on “The Breakfast Club” radio show Monday morning.
“So I was born in Oakland, and raised in the United States except for the years that I was in high school in Montreal, Canada,” Harris told the crew. “And look, this is the same thing they did to Barack (Obama). This is not new to us and so I think that we know what they are trying to do. They are trying to do what has been happening over the last two years, which is powerful voices trying to sow hate and division, and so we need to recognize when we’re being played.”
She also said, “I think they don’t understand who black people are. I’m not going to spend my time trying to educate people about who black people are. Because right now, frankly, I’m focused on, for example, an initiative that I have that is called the ‘LIFT Act’ that is about lifting folks out of poverty.”
But in case people weren’t’ clear, she added, “I’m Black, and I’m proud of being Black. I was born Black. I will die Black, and I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because they don’t understand.” See the interview below; the discussion about race starts around the 12:30 mark.
To be fair, part of the reason why Harris’ identity has been questioned is because of her own words. On the day she announced her candidacy, she conducted her first press conference at the historically Black Howard University. She was asked a variety of questions but when asked about how she identifies, she simply said she was a “proud American.”
The reporter asked, “You’re an African-American woman, but you are also Indian American. How do you describe yourself?”
Harris succinctly responded, “How do I describe myself? I describe myself as a proud American.”
While at a CNN Town Hall with Jake Tapper, Harris consistently referred to herself as a woman of color, which some folks interpreted that was he dodging saying Black. See below:
While many people are excited about Harris’ run, there are questions about her rough history as it relates to criminal justice. As Attorney General of California, she was a huge advocate of truancy laws that charged parents a fee for their children being truant and locking the parent up if they could not pay the fee. A Medium.com article from June ripped into Harris, “Kamala Harris’ career was built on both the slave labor of black and brown prisoners and also the pettiness of truancy laws that separated poor and mostly black mothers from their children. Harris was so proud of her history with taking mothers from their children that she used it as her signature campaign agenda while running for AG.”
Also, Harris didn’t specifically address reportedly advocating for California’s horrific three-strikes law in “The Breakfast Club” interview.