Kamala Harris Privilege

There are many things to know about Kamala Harris. Americans will take a closer look at the former presidential contender tonight, as she debates Vice President Mike Pence. But in this post, I’d like to start with her unique background. Most Americans will be surprised to find Kamala Harris among the most elite-pedigreed candidates to run for high national office. She is truly the 1% of the 1%.

Per Kamala’s father, she is descended from a notorious slave owner in Jamaica. Donald Harris, a former economics professor at Stanford, wrote: “My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown), descendant of Hamilton Brown, who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town.” Hamilton owned over 1,100 slaves over the years, including some as young as one month old.

Per Kamala’s mother, she is a member of the highest caste in India. In the words of Shyamala Harris (now deceased): “In Indian society, we go by birth. We are Brahmins, that is the top caste. Please do not confuse this with class, which is only about money. For Brahmins, the bloodline is the most important. My family, named Gopalan, goes back more than 1,000 years.”

Kamala’s parents (both with elite backgrounds) met at U.C. Berkley (an elite institution) in the 1960’s. Far from being limited by race or gender, Kamala benefited from affirmative action and used her sex appeal as a woman to jumpstart her political career. In law school, Kamala participated in the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP) where she received free tutoring and course outlines unavailable to other students. Her relationship with Willie Brown, a married man thirty years her senior, is well-documented. As the speaker of the state Assembly, Brown named Harris to well-paid posts on the California Medical Assistance Commission and Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. In these roles, she received lots of tax-payer money for very little work. As mayor of San Francisco, Brown supported her district attorney campaign in 2003. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.

And yet if Kamala Harris becomes Vice President, her success will be touted as a win for the disadvantaged and underprivileged. Why? Because according to post-colonialism and intersectional feminism, her group identity as a Black woman trumps the numerous privileges in her individual background (elite parents, good looks, preferential treatment).

I am not blaming Kamala for her privileged past. She should be judged on her own merits, just like everyone else. Voters should consider, for example, the fact that Harris abused her power in the politically-motivated prosecution of David Daleidan, the Pro-Life activist who secretly recorded Planned Parenthood employees nonchalantly discussing the sale of aborted baby parts. They may also find it relevant that, as District Attorney of California, she fought to keep nonviolent offenders locked up in spite of extremely overcrowded prisons, a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

But Harris does not seem to have many deep convictions, aside from the desire for power and willingness to do whatever it takes to get it. She accused Biden of racism in a primary debate for opposing bussing, but then laughed off the matter after accepting his offer to run as Vice President. After representing the worst of prosecutorial excess as California’s District Attorney, she twice promoted a fund to help bail out the violent criminals burning down Kenosha, including known sex offenders.

I don’t care whether Kamala Harris can rock a pair of Timberlands or whether she thinks Tupac is still alive. I don’t care that she is a woman, or that she identifies as Black. I care about her record (which is disturbing, to say the least) and apparent lack of principles. With a visibly frail Biden well into his seventies, this woman could well become President of the United States, and sooner than you might think.

I pray to God she doesn’t.

One thought on “Kamala Harris Privilege

  1. Pingback: Do Women Need Equal Treatment or Special Treatment? | The Front Porch Philosopher

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