Senator Kamala Harris (D-California)was asked on the Breakfast Club this week if she had ever smoked pot. She replied with glee not only has she smoked pot, but she inhaled.
Three election cycles ago, that admission alone would have been fodder for the evening news. While her admission barely created a stir, the answer to a follow-up question about what musicians did she listen to when she inhaled the intoxicant from a marijuana joint back in the early to mid-1980s.
She has been widely criticized for her response. Actually, she had a non-response to that question because almost at the precise time that Charlemagne Tha God asked who was she listening too when she smoked weed, DJ Envy chimed in with a question that appears to ask who did she listen to period without any mention of when she smoked weed.
A careful review of the video of the Breakfast Club will reveal that Harris unable to think of who she listened to 33 years ago, turned towards DJ Envy and appears to answer his question about who she listened to without the “while smoking weed” caveat.
When DJ Envy suggested the names of Tupac and Snoop, Harris averred that she indeed did listen to Tupac and Snoop back in the day. Clearly, she was not saying that she listened to them when she was smoking pot.
The rush to derail Harris’ presidential run before all candidates are in the field is so intense that her critics are falling over themselves parsing her words. Blacks on social media, or, at least, avatars that present themselves as Blacks are quick to suggest that Harris could not possibly be cool enough to have smoked pot and that she only said she did to appear down with Black people.
This is a silly notion given that Harris during the entire Breakfast Club show explains her public policy initiatives that will target the uplift of the Black community.
For instance, Harris said she will propose “The Lift Act,” which is designed to lift 60 percent of what Samuel Yette terms as “the working poor” in America out of poverty.
Among other things, The Lift Act will provide a tax credit of $6,000 a year, which will be paid out in $500 monthly increments to households making less than $100,000 annually. It will provide assistance for Americans who have rent insecurity issues. It will provide tax credits for households who pay 30 percent of their income in rent and utilities.
Additionally, in recognition of the fact, HBCUs produce 60 percent of Black professionals in the country, Harris plans to increase federal support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) by extending Obama era Pell Grants.
Also, Harris went on record in support of criminal justice reform including renewing the Justice Department oversight over state and local police departments in the country in the wake of issues raised by BlackLivesMatter. She believes that the cash bail system needs to be eliminated and that the disparity in the number of African Americans charged with crimes versus white Americans should be reduced.
Harris talked about the pride she felt walking on the all Black campus at Howard University during her undergraduate days. While at Howard, she joined Alpha Kappa Alpha, the oldest Black sorority known to humankind. She said that those who do not think she is Black enough do not know who Black people are.
“Black people don’t know me,” she said.
Harris said she would not “spend any time educating people on who black people are” because she will be busy working to uplift the community.
The Breakfast Club interview shows that Harris is not just some woman trying to be down with Blacks, but that she is Black culturally, psychologically and programmatically.
Meanwhile, the grassroots Black intelligentsia along with right-wing advocates continue to fly speck her every utterance seeking ways to derail and thus weaken the Democratic field before all candidates are off and running.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org