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

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The First Presidential Debate Went Off The Rails Fast And The Internet Had Fun With It

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The First Presidential Debate Went Off The Rails Fast And The Internet Had Fun With It

Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Image

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden had their first presidential debate and things were wild. President Trump spent most of the debate talking over Biden while moderator Chris Wallace did everything in his power to rein in the president. Of course, Americans on social media had a lot to say.

The first presidential debate was a far cry from the presidential debates of the past.

Political pundits have spent the past 24 hours discussing how the presidential debate on Sept. 29 veered far from past norms. The two campaigns had agreed to terms before the debate, including two minutes to respond to question uninterrupted. However, as the moderator, Chris Wallace, eventually said to the nominees, President Trump made quick work of ignoring that rule.

“The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions,” Wallace said to President Trump. “I’m appealing to you, sir, to do it.”

“And him, too?” President Trump retorted.

“Well, frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting,” Wallace corrected the president.

Debate viewers quickly took to social media to comment on the president’s behavior.

President Trump attempted to bulldoze over Biden as he answered questions asked by the moderator. Rather than playing into the argument, Biden either continued his answer while the president interrupted or simply fell silent. There were times when Biden had to request that his time be restored because of the president’s lack of control.

The barrage of questions was highlighted by some as a trigger for people who stutter. Biden has been public about his work as a child to overcome stuttering. A touching video of Biden speaking with a child who stutters went viral recently showing the Democratic nominee’s compassion in a new way.

A lot of people couldn’t help but compare President Trump to a character in Among Us.

Among Us is a space-themed multiplayer online game that has become really popular during the Covid-19 era. It might be a nerdy inside joke considering that the creators of Among Us have attempted to make the game available on consoles but encountered an issue with player communications.

There is already merch (real and not) of Biden’s most memorable line of the night.

During a rant by the president, Biden turned to him and asked, “Will you shut up, man?” The line immediately made it to social media with Americans wanting the president to let Biden speak when given his chance.

Debate viewers are calling for a mute option to silence the mic if a nominee speaks too long.

“The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate,” reads a statement by the Commission on Presidential Debates. “Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.  The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.  The Commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.”

The American people have made their voices heard on social media.

They clearly want better controlled debates. People want to hear the ideas of both nominees, not just one. The election is very consequential for so many different communities. Trump came out the loser of the night as several surveys and polls showed undecided and lean Biden voters into stronger and more likely Biden voters. For some respondents, the most bothersome part was Trump interrupting Biden, especially during Biden’s moment honoring his son, Beau Biden. Beau served in the military and died of a brain tumor in 2015. Joe was responding to reports of President Trump calling military members “losers” and “suckers.”

READ: Joe Biden And President Donald Trump Are Battling It Out For Florida’s Crucial Latino Vote

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As Republicans Move To Fill Supreme Court Seat, Julián Castro Says Democrats Should Consider Nuclear Option

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As Republicans Move To Fill Supreme Court Seat, Julián Castro Says Democrats Should Consider Nuclear Option

Gabriela Bhaskar / Getty Images

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, progressives are struggling to figure out their next move. Republicans have made it clear they don’t care about precedent or even following their own made up rules, and plan to attempt to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible.

Some Republicans have even gone as far as saying they’ll vote to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee even if he loses the November election, in a lame duck session of Congress.

This has Democrats in overdrive trying to figure out their game plan and how they’ll respond to Republican efforts to once again steal a Supreme Court seat.

Julián Castro says that Democrats should consider packing the court if they come into power come January.

In an interview with Buzzfeed’s News O’Clock podcast, this year’s only Latino candidate for president said that Democrats should consider adding more justices to the Supreme Court if Senate Republicans rush to confirm a justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg. His announcement is a reversal from his stated position during the presidential campaign.

“For many of us, that wasn’t our preference, but the fact is you have Mitch McConnell not abiding by, not working in good faith under the Constitution. … If you have that kind of abuse of the system, then I think that, yeah, Democrats should be open to different ways that we can stave off draconian changes to our fundamental rights,” he said.

During last year’s presidential primaries, Castro said that he “would not pack the court” if we were elected president, but with reproductive rights, voting rights, and healthcare hanging in the balance, he now believes Democrats should consider structural reform to the court.

“When those are the stakes, and Mitch McConnell is the one who’s abused this system, then yeah, I think we need to be open to considering either adding more justices or other structural reforms that will prevent this kind of abuse in the future,” he said.

Nothing in the Constitution limits the number of justices that sit on the Supreme Court.

Credit: Sam Gateaux / Getty Images

Adding more justices to the Supreme Court, or “packing the court”, has become widely popular among progressives as they see it as a last resort to restoring equality to the court. And the only way in writing wrongs committed by Republican Senate leadership.

Obviously, one concern is that if the Democrats increase the court size when they have power, that the Republicans could expand it again when they regain power. And we would have a never ending saga.

But as the Democrats are once again outplayed and outmaneuvered by the GOP, many say it’s a risk worth taking.

Castro also warned that Biden was losing his traction with Latino voters.

Meanwhile, Castro has also expressed concern that the Biden campaign isn’t doing enough to win the support of Latino voters.

“I believe the campaign gets it in that they understand they have work to do,” Castro said, adding that he thinks that Biden will pick up Latino support by Nov. 3 because the campaign is now investing in voter registration, bilingual messaging across platforms, and tailored outreach to different Latino communities, rather than treating them as one unified voting block.

“The Latino community too often is invisible, it’s an afterthought,” said Castro, who was housing secretary under Barack Obama. “Even though it’s going to be the largest non-white voting group in 2020. I think in every way in American society … there’s this image of the Latino community as though everybody got here five minutes ago.”

Joe Biden’s campaign has “to make sure that they are doing everything they can to reach out to a community that already has one of the lowest rates of voting, that needs to be brought into the fold”, Castro said.

With 29 million eligible voters in 2018, or about 12.8% of the total, Latinos voted more than two-to-one for Democrats, according to Pew Research. That was a much lower rate than for the party’s key bloc, African Americans, who went 90%-9% for Democrats.

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