Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, I Applaud You
Today, I send out accolades to Vice President Biden for his choice of Senator Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential Candidate in his pursuit of the Office of President. I also embrace Senator Harris and the wealth of knowledge and skills she will bring to the Office of Vice President.
However, it seems that both black and white journalists are having some difficulty including the term African American when describing the racial-ethnic background of Senator Kamala Harris. This information has somehow bypassed her African ancestors and American citizenship to a bold leap that describes Senator Harris as a black, South Asian woman. Perhaps this is in keeping with her expressed preference? However, I am inclined to believe this does not clearly define Senator Harris. Her mother was an Indo-Asian immigrant, and her father a Jamaican immigrant of African descent. Senator Harris could be properly described as an African-American-Indo-Asian-Jamaican woman. Senator Harris is rooted in three continents that include: Africa, Asia, and North America. I applaud her.
I am also black, and I also embrace my blackness. However, I choose to be called African American. For me, the term black has always been restrictive and made up of a select few described as black leaders, who the white power structure deemed as acceptable to speak for all blacks. This false notion also implies that most blacks are not capable of speaking for themselves, nor fit for leadership. Please also note that you never hear whites refer to themselves as white leaders because they consider their positions of leadership so ingrained, that there is no need to ever refer to themselves as white or Caucasian leaders.
The Biden and Harris team for President and Vice President must eliminate this negative mindset. They must elevate the voices of those who are not well-connected, nor among the rich and famous, but capable of telling their own stories and speaking for themselves. For too long we have ignored so many. It is my hope that Vice President Biden and Senator Harris usher in a new chapter in America and lift the voice of those who haven’t been heard.
By Delener McCamey, Ph.D.