I don't care "how black" Kamala Harris is and neither should you

www.salon.com
Date:
Wednesday, Jul 3, 2019

I don’t care how black Sen. Kamala Harris is, and neither should you.

A confident Joe Biden poked out his chest and rolled up in the first major Democratic national debate last Thursday as the party’s front runner, polling at 32%. And why not? He looks presidential, spent decades in the Senate and was President Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years. Sen. Bernie Sanders was the runner up coming into the debate with 19% as the rest of the candidates were still trying to find their footing.

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Last Thursday's debate was the second of the week, and predictably, it turned into a shouting contest between the 10 contestants on stage. The part of the night where one contender shines, creating the moment that everyone will go on to talk about throughout the news cycle that follows and all the way up until the next bout? That moment belonged to Harris when she stared Biden down and said, “As the only African American on stage, I would like to speak.” Harris continued:

Advertisement: Her past as a prosecutor. Many African Americans have had a rough time in this country with law enforcement; we're disproportionately incarcerated, we're the group that is most likely to go viral after being shot by a cop while unarmed; and in general, many black Americans see state’s attorneys as people who hide evidence while overcharging us. The cool factor. Yes, this is an image issue, not a record issue, but that's politics in the age of TV and social media. Maybe about 2% of prosecutors in the U.S. are cool, and that’s me being generous. Harris is beyond intelligent, but she doesn’t come off as cool as, say, Obama, the coolest person of color to ever put his name on a ballot. (And it's not because she’s a woman; her fellow candidate Cory Booker is equally corny, if not more.) Her spotty record on marijuana. Harris opposed the legalization of marijuana in 2010 and then switched her stance in 2015. Now she is advocating for marijuana convictions to be removed from people’s records. "We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it," Harris writes in her new book "The Truths We Hold." "And we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives." Harris kept her word by co-sponsoring the federal Marijuana Justice Act, introduced by Booker last year, which is honorable. But a person who worked as a prosecutor as long as Harris did — and an admitted former weed smoker— should have had a first-hand look at the lives ruined by something as harmless as marijuana convictions. Imagine how many people were incarcerated and forced to do hard time during her opposition. Did she switch her stance because she realized the error of her ways, or because legalizing marijuana is politically popular? She married a white dude. Again, an image issue. I'm sure her husband is cool. But some black people are quick to label other black people sell-outs if they choose to settle down with a non-black person. Thin answers on reparations. Harris has provided no good answers to the question revolving around slavery reparations. She acknowledged the pain and trauma that was passed down from slavery and Jim Crow and talked about giving therapy to poor black people (take that to the bank) and giving lower income (not just black) families a stipend of up to $500 through her Lift Act. Those are partial solutions that critics will say won't fix the problems. Advertisement: Advertisement:

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