In a nod to the racist birther conspiracy that enveloped President Barack Obama, a tweet claiming Harris wasn’t eligible to run for president because of her immigrant parents went viral. It has been repeated as fact so often that Harris is now forced to explain her ethnic background.
Was nothing learned from Obama’s run for president? He also faced the same inane, pointless questions about his mixed-race identity as Harris. Just like Obama, Harris has exposed narrow-minded views of blackness with her presidential run. Harris is a multi-racial woman who was born in Oakland, went to high school in Montreal, and worshipped with both Hindus and Baptists. She’s a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and yet, by her account, knows how to make an incredible bolognese and a mean pot of collard greens. If the criteria for running for president is being authentically American, people have to accept that this is what that looks like.
“I think they don’t understand who black people are because if you do, if you walked on Hampton’s campus or Howard’s campus, or Morehouse, or Spelman or Fisk, you would have a much better appreciation for the diaspora, for the diversity, for the beauty in the diversity of who are as black people,” Harris said on The Breakfast Club. “So I’m not going to spend my time trying to educate people about who black people are. Some folks have a limited vision of who we are as black people. That’s on them. That’s not on us.”