Kamala Harris Is Who She Says She Is

Sen. Kamla Devi Harris while courting African American voters she acknowledges her unique Americaness.

Let me hasten to say, I have no idea at this time who I will support for President of the United States in 2020. Suffice it to say it will not be the current officeholder.

That said, I am at a loss to understand the reaction of the Black community regarding the parentage of Kamala Harris. Like all of us born of a woman, Harris was not given a choice in the matter. She is, like all of humankind, who she is, period.

Harris is the daughter of an Asian mother and a Jamaican father. Both hold earned PhDs from prestigious universities. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University, a premier Black university. I accept her for who she is.

However, many in the progressive African American community have made African American ethnicity a litmus test for whom they will support for President. Seemingly, once you “Go-Black,” the presidency is like other things, you simply can’t go back.

However, Americans have become obsessed with the racial identity associated with the region of the planet where their lineage originated. In fact, I am proud of the fact that I am an African living in America.

While Harris’ father immigrated here from Jamacia, critics discount the historical fact that Africans were dropped off in Jamacia and other islands in the Carribean Seas during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. It can be argued that her father, Dr. Donald J. Harris, is of African descent. This would make Harris an African Asian American, a perfect blend in the melting pot that America has held herself out to be.

She self identifies as an American. Simple enough. She has every right to do so.

African American voters would be wise to develop a litmus test based upon (1) the candidate’s stand on the issues like criminal justice reform, social security, and healthcare, and (2) the ‘candidate’s ability to win the General Election.

Racial identity politics has no place in the equation when selecting a Democratic nominee in 2020. The stakes are too high, the consequences too severe, and the risk is too enormous to exclude a candidate solely on genetics.

Harris may or may not win my vote in next year’s Presidential Primary in Georgia. If she does not win my vote, it will not be because of the fact she is an American with an Asian mother and a Carribean father.

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine, Medium, and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com

Harvey is Living Now Book Awards 2020 Bronze Medalist for his memoir Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. Available at haroldmichaelharvey.com

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