Things That Matter

Don. Jr. Said Kamala Harris Wasn’t Black Enough And Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Not Having It

The Internet has been interrogating Sen. Kamala Harris’ (D-Calif.) blackness since she announced her bid for presidency. The Oakland-born daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants has been told she’s not Black enough because of her South Asian ancestry. Now, expert on all things blackness Donald Trump Jr. is questioning her race, suggesting she’s not “Black American” because her family hails from outside of the US.

In a now-deleted tweet, Don. Jr. wrote “Is this true? Wow,” to a tweet claiming that Harris isn’t really Black.

Twitter

“Kamala Harris is *not* an American Black. She is half Indian and half Jamaican. I’m so sick of people robbing American Blacks (like myself) of our history,” wrote Twitter user Ali Alexander, who appears to be a right-wing operative and conspiracy theorist named Ali Akbar, or Ali Abdul Razaq Akbar.  

With Don. Jr.’s retweet, the original racist message went viral, with numerous people coming for the candidate and her blackness on the Internet. According to the Huffington Post, even bots helped magnify the tweet.

But Harris has also witnessed a lot of defense from people who, despite their politics or support of the contender, are calling out the ignorance and anti-blackness in the debate around her race. Many of her sympathizers are also her challengers in the Democratic Primary.

On Instagram, fellow presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the first to come to Harris’ defense, even criticizing tech companies for not doing more to prevent social media attacks.

“The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist and ugly,” Warren tweeted.” We all have an obligation to speak out and say so. And it’s within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks.

Former Vice President Joe Biden compared the assault to those made against his BFF Barack Obama. 

“The same forces of hatred rooted in ‘birtherism’ that questioned @BarackObama’s American citizenship, and even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator @KamalaHarris. It’s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it. Racism has no place in America,” he tweeted.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro kept it 100 by calling the onslaught a racist attempt to delegitimize a powerful woman of color. 

“These disgusting and racist attacks are part of a right-wing effort to delegitimize an accomplished and powerful black woman. Senator Harris has lived an American dream story, and we shouldn’t give voice to those attempting to undermine it,” the Mexican-American politco tweeted.

Still, no candidate’s response has garnered as much attention and praise than that of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), who used an expletive to fire back at everyone disputing Harris’ blackness.

“.@KamalaHarris doesn’t have shit to prove,” the presidential candidate said in the now-viral tweet.

Cory Booker also came to her defense as well.

He’s right.

As many of us in the Latinx community know — though we, too, have our own undeniable anti-blackness that must be confronted and challenged regularly — Black isn’t synonymous to African American. Black folk are present all over the world, including the Caribbean, where Harris’ father is from, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the US and more. Harris, a Black woman born and raised in the US, is a Black American woman who is just as much a member of the African diaspora as she is the Indian and Caribbean diasporas. All of these identities can co-exist, and they do, not just for her but for numerous Black folk living in the country.

To repeat, Harris and others whose blackness is denied because it doesn’t fit neatly into the US’ simplistic and unworldly racial dichotomy doesn’t have to prove — here’s another curse word — fuckin’ shit.

Read: Presidential Candidates At The Second Democratic Debate Stand Up For Undocumented Health Rights

A Gun-Loving Bro Came For Kamala Harris On ‘Jimmy Fallon’ And She Wasn’t Having Any Of It

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A Gun-Loving Bro Came For Kamala Harris On ‘Jimmy Fallon’ And She Wasn’t Having Any Of It

Scott Eisen / Getty Images

Kamala Harris appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she slow-jammed the news and dunked on a gun-loving college bro. The audience was made entirely of college students who, during one segment, got to ask Harris a question. When someone tried to challenge Harris’ position on gun control, she was happy to set him straight on the matter.

While the United States does not have the most gun violence of any nation, it has the most gun violence of any developed nation, and honestly, it isn’t faring too well when compared to developing countries. 

“The United States has the 28th-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world: 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 — far greater than what is seen in other wealthy countries,” according to NPR. “And the national rate of gun violence in the U.S. is higher than in many low-income countries.” 

That time a college student tried to come for Kamala Harris

During a segment, Senator Harris and Fallon took questions from an audience of college students. A bro from Fordham University named Andrew tried to come for Senator Harris’ wig. Now, regardless of how you feel about her, one thing is objectively true about Harris — she is a no-nonsense, cunning prosecutor who can think quick on her feet. I would not try her. 

“Do you believe in the mandatory buyback of quote, unquote, ‘assault weapons,’ and whether or not you do, how does that idea not go against, fundamentally, the Second Amendment?” Andrew asked.

It was at this moment that I began to fear for Andrew’s life. Harris was happy to state her position. 

“Great question, I do believe that we need to do buybacks, and I’ll tell you why,” Harris said. “Let’s be clear about what assault weapons are, they have been designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly, they are weapons of war, with no place on the streets of a civil society, I’ve seen assault weapons kill babies and police officers.”

Harris said she plans to take executive action regarding gun control if elected President and if congress fails to ban the importation of assault weapons, pass universal background check requirements, and mandatory buybacks. 

Harris dunks on bro using his own experiences

Then Harris led Andrew through a little mental exercise by reminding him of what country he lives in — the one where mass shootings are a regular occurrence, you know that one. 

“How many of you guys, as college students, had to have a drill during high school or middle school or elementary school or even in college were you learning about how you need to hide in the closet or crouch in a corner in the event that there’s a mass shooter roaming the hallways of your school?” Harris asked.

Of course, Andrew’s hand went up along with everyone else’s. Shooter drills are the new normal for American students.

“Look at that, look at that. And here’s the thing, it terrorized you. It is traumatizing. I don’t want that any of our children should have to sit in class when you should be paying attention to what’s happening in the front of the classroom, letting your mind open up to the wonders of science, math or our, or whatever, and instead have to be worried about who’s going to come banging through the door carrying some kind of weapon,” Harris said. 

Leaders need to lead on gun violence

“Leaders need to lead on this issue. So I’m telling you, when elected, if Congress fails to act, I will give them 100 days to get a bill on my desk for signature, if they do not do what I will put in place, by executive action, a comprehensive background check requirement and a ban on the assault weapons and importations of assault weapons in our country,” Harris said, finishing her speech with. “I’m done.” 

Andrew was no longer standing, the crushing weight of being owned on national television seemed to have taken the wind out of him. He didn’t need to take several seats just the one to realize the audience, who was roaring with applause at Harris, did not share his ignorant beliefs. 

Support for gun control is at an all-time high

It should be said that most Americans don’t share Andrew’s beliefs. Gun control has overwhelming bipartisan support. People are pretty against themselves randomly being killed by gun violence, which makes sense. So while it is the GOP preventing legislation from passing, it is not for a lack of support from Republican constituents! This is why Democrats, Republicans, and Independents should be demanding that the Republican Senate pass legislation — oh wait, we all have been for years they just don’t care if we live or die as long as those donations from the National Rifle Association keep coming in. 

DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear

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DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear

ABC News / YouTube

Last night, NBC hosted the Democratic Debates, where presidential candidates hashed out their policy differences and tried to win over the American people. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Amy Klobuchar were the only candidates to make it to the third debate as the primary narrows down. 

With Univision’s Jorge Ramos as moderator, Latinx issues and voices were represented and centered for once. However, the evening was not without controversy with difficult immigration conversations, crashing protestors, and with candidates like Joe Biden and Julian Castro getting into tense exchanges. 

I don’t know about you, but I was proud to be Latinx last night, though. 

DACA Advocates crash the Democratic Debate.

If you watched the debates last night, you probably remember this moment. It was nearly two and half hours into the Democratic Debate when Joe Biden, who was already having a rough night, was asked a question about professional setbacks, only to be interrupted by a group of protestors. It was a bit strange. Biden tries to speak, but the protestors start chanting. If you were watching it live, at the time it was unclear who, what, or why the protestors were there. 

“We’re going to clear the protesters,” moderator George Stephanopoulos said as the chants began. “We’re sorry.”

The candidates remained on stage in silence and waited patiently. It was an uncomfortable moment, and the candidates chose not to engage. It was only after the fact that the protestors were reportedly DACA advocates. What they were chanting is still unconfirmed.

How did protestors get in? 

However, I do have some professional experience in this arena that begs more questions. This summer I was a part of a small organization called She The People, together we organized the first-ever presidential forum for women of color. We also partnered with NBC, who hosted the debates last night, and the HBCU Texas Southern University, which held the debates last night. 

The candidates who attended were Castro, Harris, Warren, Booker, Gabbard, Sanders, O’Rourke, and Klobuchar (Biden announced his candidacy literally the next day). I am sharing this because I know the level of security that is necessary to host an event like this at TSU, in fact, our forum had protestors too, however they didn’t manage to get in. What went wrong? 

Joe Biden quizzed on immigration by Jorge Ramos

Seasoned Mexican American journalist Jorge Ramos moderated on behalf of Univision. Homeboy did not come to let candidates get off easy on Latinx issues. 

“Are you prepared to say tonight that you and President Obama made a mistake about deportations? Why should Latinos trust you?” Ramos asked Biden. 

The Obama administration deported 3 million immigrants, more than any other administration in history. This is worthy of examination and criticism — but the treatment of those immigrants was nowhere near the utter cruelty compared to the Trump administration. Nevertheless, both policies are bad for Latinxs. 

Biden, who is under fire for seeming incoherent last night, had a long meandering response. 

“We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things, number one,” he said.

 “Number two — number two, by the time— this is a president who came along with the DACA program. No one had ever done that before. This is the president that sent legislation to the desk saying he wants to find a pathway for the 11 million undocumented in the United States of America. This is a president who’s done a great deal. So I’m proud to have served with him.”

Julian Castro Wants Answers From Biden

Biden was repeatedly called out by Julian Castro for taking credit for Obama’s wins and disavowing Obama’s losses. Castro pointed out inconsistencies in Biden’s health plan.

“If you want Medicare, if you lose the job from your insurance — from your employer, you automatically can buy into this. You don’t have — no pre-existing condition can stop you from buying in,” Biden said. 

Castro said the difference between his and Biden’s plan was that you didn’t have to buy or opt-in to his, enrollment would be automatic. Then Biden claimed Americans wouldn’t have to buy or opt-in in after literally just saying they did. 

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that,” Castro said before dropping the mic with, ” I’m fulfilling the legacy of Barack Obama, and you’re not.”

What’s notable from Ramos, Castro, and the protestors last night is becoming increasingly clear: Latinxs in America are fed up and we’re speaking to truth to power.