Joe Biden selected Senator Kamala Harris (D. California) as his running mate, making history with the first Black woman and Asian woman to be on the presidential ticket.
This is an American moment that all Americans can celebrate, and it is a moment that all Americans should pause for to allow Black women their space to celebrate, cheer, cry, and exhale a four-hundred year exhale that is richly deserved and so very long overdue.
Senator Kamala Harris is already a trailblazer and history maker – as San Francisco District Attorney, as Attorney General of California, and as Senator from California.
She is unafraid of the moment, the limelight, the opposition.
America is in a moment that demands clarity of purpose, pursuit of equality and equity, and focus on government accountability and justice at all levels of society.
Senator Kamala Harris is the woman for this moment and for these movements.
Before the negatives start, let us all celebrate the history we are part of right now.
Black women vote with the democratic party 98% of the time. Black women are founding mother’s in America, having given birth to a nation of Black men and women, and cared for and raised a nation of white men and women with unappreciated expertise, skill, and care.
Black women’s leadership abilities and accomplishments are often lost or ignored in historical records due to the focus on white men, then white women, Black men, and then way down the line… Black women.
Black women led the suffrage movement until being sidelined by white women, and Black women were at the front of every Civil Rights movement before being sidelined by Black and white men.
Black women were leaders with the Black Panthers, the women’s march, mothers of the movement, NAACP, NOW, and Black Lives Matter before men, white women, and major media pushed them aside to become historical afterthoughts.
Senator Harris’s prosecutorial skill, nationally embraced by Democrats who witnessed her question and make mincemeat out of Bill Barr, Jeff Beauregard Sessions, and Tom Kavanaugh, will be needed as she and team Biden seek to repair government by rooting out corrupt men and women leftover from the criminal and inept trump administration.
There was a lot of noise leading up to Biden finally announcing Senator Kamala Harris, and most of the push back came from white men in media followed closely by Black men in media and popular culture.
The white male push back was simplistic: She is too ambitious. She laughs too much. She dances. She showed no remorse for “attacking” Biden in a debate, and she’s not ready.
White men’s reductive and often racist and misogynistic criticisms were expected though as there are no two demographic voters who are more diametrically opposed than Black women and white men.
Black women vote for democrats more than any other demographic (and get the least in return, it should always be noted), while white men vote republican more than any other demographic.
America’s never-ending racial issues can be seen and analyzed through the different lens of what Black women vote for and want for the country and what white men vote for and want for the country.
But the attacks were not limited to conservative white men.
Democratic “kingmakers” decided that they, too, wanted in on attacking the highest-ranking Black woman in American politics by talking “off the record” and leveling misogynistic and racist insults at Senator Kamala Harris, in op-eds, think pieces, and via social media.
Those men, almost all democrats, were widely and loudly ridiculed by Senator Harris’s supporters and detractors alike as the blatant racism and misogyny were finally recognized for what they were: White men in power fearing the rise of an accomplished Black woman.
The push-back was expected from Harris’s supporters, but then the attacks got so ugly even former rivals and detractors came to the Senator’s defense in a much needed show of solidarity against racism and sexism.
Black men also showed out and took the time to level their own insults at Senator Harris’s candidacy, parroting the Bernie Sanders and Russian propaganda lies that started in 2017.
The lie that spread far and wide was that the highest ranking Black woman in government was “a cop,” thus reducing the current most accomplished political Black woman and Senator in America to a being a “cop.”
The axis of evil that are the Russian, Bernie bro-bots, and Facebook disinformation campaigns, damaged but did not stop Senator Harris even though they harmed her presidential campaign and caused Black men and Bernie-bro-bots to launch viscous attacks against her person while misrepresenting her record and accomplishments.
The final wave of insults and senseless criticism were late in the Vice President vetting process and made by so-called democratic “kingmakers”, who tried to destroy Senator Harris by negatively comparing her to other Black women who were also being vetted.
There were many qualified Black women who could have been chosen by Joe Biden, and those include, but are not limited to, Stacy Abrams, Val Demings, Susan Rice, and Karen Bass.
The pundits played “A Black woman but not THAT Black woman” with silly comparisons that eventually devolved into the tried and true racism and hatred of Black women by using old stereotypes to harm Senator Harris – ambitious, aggressive, not a team player, won’t be loyal, etc.
The stereotypes were then flipped to harm the other Black women being considered, by using opposite stereotypes – work in the background, not seek the presidency, work hard, be unseen and unheard, and other slave mentality stereotypes.
None of the dirty tricks worked and Biden did the right thing and chose Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate after teasing his followers for what seemed like months… because it was in fact months.
As we now head the next step of the election process, all voters should realize the uniqueness of the moment and know that, based on what we have seen so far from mass media, the attacks will only continue.
There are attacks in every campaign but there has never been a Black woman on the ticket, and the media, as demonstrated by their relentless and baseless attacks on Senator Harris’s blackness during the primary and VP vetting process, are ill-equipped to provide the level of sober analysis and opinion pieces such a ticket warrants.
We can be certain the national media will not coddle her as they do the racist in the white house who they pine over while celebrating how he is “acting presidential” whenever he doesn’t utter an insult.
The men who run national media are overwhelmingly conservative and are not used to being questioned or course-corrected out of their biases and racism. The Vice President vetting process gave us an ugly glimpse of what we can expect.
We saw the national media’s misogyny in how they covered Hillary, and we can certainly expect it to be as worse… and with added on racism when all their attention is focused on Biden/Harris.
Senator Harris strong social media followers – self-named the Khive – women and men of all races, genders, rich, poor, middle class, and old and young, – who are known for their immediate, relentless, and fact-based defense of Senator Harris.
The Khive will need to work overtime as the election nears to match the coming wave of national social medial attacks and disinformation.
Finally, the national media, the editors, and executives, will need to increase their diligence and mind their biases that have never been tested with regard to coverage of a Black woman candidate for Vice President.
The hope is that national media rises to the moment and delivers their best work – the type of work Black women themselves have worked for and earned since the country was founded.
Congratulations to Senator Kamala Devi Harris on your well earned selection as the first Black and Asian woman to be selected as a Vice President for the party you have supported more than anyone else.
copyright 2020 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved.