1. White men aren’t Black. 2. White men are white. 3. White men aren’t Kamala Harris.
Still, it didn’t even take a full 24-hour period after Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden announced Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate for the racist detractors to get to work. Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer tried to downplay what Harris brings to the Democratic ticket by maintaining she is “not that historically exciting to African Americans.” And Fox News host Mark Levin sought to make a distinction that if elected, Harris would be the “first vice president of color,” but not “African American.”
“Kamala Harris is not an African American. She is Indian and Jamaican,” Levin said Tuesday on conservative media’s BlazeTV.
As if being a white man in America entitles him to decide who is considered Black, Levin continued: “Jamaica’s part of the Caribbean. India is out there near China. I only point that out because if you dare raise that you’re attacked but the truth is she’s not, and so I just wanted to make that clear. Her ancestry does not go back to American slavery. To the best of my knowledge, her ancestry doesn’t go back to slavery at all.”
Imagine you thinking you get you decide who is “African American.” https://t.co/djL9gaf6Sg
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) August 12, 2020
What Levin—and Fleischer, for that matter—fail to realize is that their whiteness no longer gives them the authority to define Blackness. For many Black people who are the descendants of slaves, knowledge of our ethnic roots is a rare gift otherwise inaccessible to those stripped of their identities in order to be assigned the role of someone else’s possession.
Ari Fleischer: She’s just not that historically exciting to African Americans pic.twitter.com/72Y9ZnxozO
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) August 12, 2020
Harris is the daughter of an Indian-born mother and Jamaican-born father. And aside from a stint in Canada for high school, she was raised in Oakland, from where she was bussed as part of the second class to integrate public schools in California. The California senator’s knowledge of her roots doesn’t negate her experiences as a Black and Asian woman in America. It doesn’t save her from the discrimination and systematic oppression people who look like her have suffered for decades, and it doesn’t somehow make her less worthy of being the first Black and South Asian woman on a major party’s national ticket. Knowing her ethnicity simply makes her incredibly lucky.
Questioning Kamala Harris' ethnicity is not gonna help explain why Trump wants to gut Social Security.
— Ragnarok Lobster (@eclecticbrotha) August 12, 2020