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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

Elizabeth Warren Has Sided With Protesters In Puerto Rico As Pressure Mounts For The Governor To Resign

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Elizabeth Warren Has Sided With Protesters In Puerto Rico As Pressure Mounts For The Governor To Resign

elizabethwarren / Instagram

On Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) voiced her support for people in Puerto Rico, who have been protesting for nearly a week against corruption in the island’s government and calling for the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló.

“I stand with Puerto Ricans who are taking to the streets this week to protest government corruption & Governor @RicardoRossello’s deeply offensive comments,” the senator said. “His actions are hurtful & undermine the public trust. He must answer to the Puerto Rican people.”

Protests in the US territory are still happening, with thousands of Puerto Ricans beginning to demonstrate on Saturday after Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published a damaging 889-page group chat between Rosselló and some members of his administration. The messages show Puerto Rican leaders making expletive-laden homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic comments about political rivals, celebrities and the people they represent as well as joking about the victims of Hurricane María and revealing how the administration attempted to cover up its inadequate response after the devastating storm. 

The chat, which has been dubbed #TelegramGate, was the catalyst for the massive protests exploding on the archipelago and in diasporic communities across the US and world, but the people’s grievances go well beyond the governor’s foul language. Last week, the FBI arrested six people, including former Education Secretary Julia Keleher and former Puerto Rico Health Insurance Administration head Angela Avila-Marrero, on 32 counts of fraud and related charges. The scandal came to no surprise to the people, who have long been accusing the local government of stealing funds and calling for the removal of the unelected fiscal control board. 

Additionally, the archipelago is still recovering from the category 4 hurricane, which claimed 4,645 lives, a number both the governor and President Trump long denied, compounded a $123 billion debt and humanitarian crises, displaced tens of thousands, forced hundreds of thousands more to flee, deepened impoverishment on an island where already nearly half of the population lived under the poverty line and gave rise to the contested privatization of public services. 

Despite the many attacks against the Puerto Rican people, including verbal jabs from President Trump, an overwhelming majority of the 2020 contenders have been mum. Warren, a senator in Massachusetts, which has the fifth-largest population of Puerto Ricans in the country, behind New York, Florida, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, has supported the island in the past as well. In Congress, she was one of the leading voices to challenge Trump on his recovery efforts in the territory and called for more attention and respect to be given to the more than 3 million US citizens, albeit second-class, who inhabit the Caribbean island.

Since Wednesday, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has also spoken out in support of the Puerto Rican people. 

“Hawaii and Puerto Rico share many of the same experiences and stories. I stand with Puerto Ricans demanding change, who have had enough of government corruption, and who deserve a government of, by, and FOR the people,” Gabbard, who is also campaigning for the Democratic nomination, wrote Thursday in a post on Instagram. “El pueblo unido jamás será vencido. #RickyRenuncia” ‬

Her remarks come as protesters in the state of Hawaii, a former US territory, fight to stop the construction of a $1.4 billion telescope on land sacred to Native Hawaiians. 

While tens of thousands of protesters, including celebrities like Bad Bunny, Ricky Martin, Residente, La India, Benicio Del Toro, Daddy Yankee, Anuel, Farruko and more, and a small number of elected officials have urged Gov. Rosselló to step down, he has refused to resign. Apologizing for his “improper act,” he has insisted that he has not done anything illegal and believes he can restore confidence in his people.

In Puerto Rico, the people are not convinced, neither in their leadership on the island nor the federal government. While those living on the island cannot vote in the presidential election,  they can cast their votes in the primaries. And they, and their family in the diaspora, which outnumbers those on the island and can vote in the general election, are taking note of those candidates who continue to ignore their plight.

Read: Tens Of Thousands Of Puerto Ricans, Including Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin, Call For The Resignation Of Gov. Rosselló At Massive Old San Juan Protest

A Protester Demanded Elizabeth Warren Commit To Legalizing All Undocumented Immigrants On Day One

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A Protester Demanded Elizabeth Warren Commit To Legalizing All Undocumented Immigrants On Day One

@rafaelshimunov / Twitter

Just one day after Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren announced her plan for immigration reform, a protester interrupted her to demand a commitment to legalizing “all 11 million undocumented immigrants” on “Day One” of her presidency. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was talking about mass incarceration when an activist group redirected her attention to the humanitarian crisis catalyzed by American immigration laws.

Credit: @rafaelshimunov / Twitter

Warren was answering a question about her plan to end mass incarceration at the Netroots Nation conference when an activist group unrolled a massive sign that read “Legalize 11 Million. Reunify All Families. #DignityNotDeportation.” Then, a protester stood on her chair and shouted, “Will you commit to the immediate legalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country and the reunification of their families under the Obama administration and the Trump administration?”

“So I want to talk about undocumented immigrants,” Warren responded.

Credit: @rafaelshimunov / Twitter

She launched into a soundbite that offers hope but not the commitment the activist was searching for. “I would like to talk about an overhaul of our immigration system because that’s what we need,” she said. “It starts with the premise that immigration is good for this country. It makes us stronger. It makes our economy stronger, and it ties us to families all around the world.”

By the time the activist was escorted out of the room, Warren had offered a three-part plan.

Mediaite

“The first part, it starts with, is we need to expand legal immigration in this country. We’ve had families held apart for far too long, and that’s not who we are… Part Two: We need a path, and I will build, a path to citizenship, not just for dreamers, but for families. A path of citizenship that is both fair and attainable. It’s about workers. It’s about people who have been here for a long time, who have become integrated into our society. Part Three is I will stop this ugly mess at our borders. No great nation tears families apart. No great nation locks up children. We must, at the border, respect the dignity of every human being that comes here.”

The activist continued to shout during her answer demanding true commitment to legalize the presence of 11 million undocumented immigrants on Day One.

Credit: @rafaelshimunov / Twitter

By that point, a security officer was standing close to the activist, asking her to let Warren respond. He escorted her out of the room. Once outside, he told her that she should have let Warren respond. She said, “I gave her the opportunity to speak. I don’t need to talk to you. I need to talk to her and for her to commit as the future President of the United States.”

The activist is tired of hearing empty promises. She wants commitment.

Credit: @rafaelshimunov / Twitter

A reporter followed up with her outside the forum. “We need the immediate legalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country and the reunification of the families that were separated under the Obama and Trump era,” she told the reporter. “We need that commitment on Day One. We can’t keep saying that we’re going to fix the immigration system without commitment on Day One. This is something that she can do, that any presidential candidate can do, and we need commitment on Day One.”

The protest was organized by the non-profit organization Movimiento Cosecha.

Credit: @rafaelshimunov / Twitter

The organization is led by immigrants, for immigrants. In their Dignity 2020 plan, they list the three demands required by a presidential candidate to gain their endorsement. They need a presidential candidate to commit to: 

  1. “An end to all detention and deportation on your first day in office”
  2. “Immediate legalization for all 11 million undocumented immigrants”
  3. “Family reunification for everyone separated by detention and deportation”

The incident incited both racists and supporters online.

Credit: @mpsmissouri / Twitter

Of course, the majority of responders are MAGA folks degrading the brown body that spoke up and both her and Warren’s intelligence. On the other hand, folks without the privilege of citizenship are disappointed in her existing plan. It does provide a pathway to citizenship and offers more resources by the way of an independent immigration court system, but there are some elements that don’t feel quite right. Que te piensas?

Watch the full interaction below!

READ: What You Need To Know About Elizabeth Warren And Her Newly Unveiled Immigration Plan

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