How strongly has Harris identified with her Indian roots?
- US Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris — the first Asian American and first Black woman in American history on a major party ticket — as his vice presidential pick, and a potential White House successor.
- Like many Indian-Americans, Harris is often written about with phonetic symbols. Harris was the first South Asian American to become a US senator.
WHO IS KAMALA HARRIS?
- Although Harris was raised mostly by her mother from Chennai who had separated from her Jamaican father.
- Harris has spoken of her Indian roots and her summers in Chennai with her civil servant grandfather. Her mother graduated from University of Delhi and went to the University of Berkeley. She joined the civil rights movement and met her future husband there.
WHO IS KAMALA HARRIS?
- In reality, Harris’ upbringing was closer to the field of black studies, leaders, and culture (she studied at what is known as an “Historically Black College and University”).
- Asian Americans only account for 5% of the electorate, compared to 13% black voters. The foundations of race in the US remain fixated on black and white politics; Asian-Americans have only recently been marking a presence.
What were Biden’s choices?
- It says a lot about how American politics has shifted this year to note that a black, Indian-American female was the safe choice for Biden.
- Initially, Biden’s array of choices were almost entirely women. After the movement erupted in May, a clamour began for Biden to pick a person of colour. Black voters, especially older ones and those in the South, were key to his primary success.
- While only serving less than four years in the Senate, Harris is firmly placed within the mainstream lines of the Democratic Party. She isn’t seen as far left as other former Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, but is not as centrist as Biden.
What are her weaknesses?
- She was the first black woman to be the San Francisco district attorney and the first Asian American and black woman attorney general of California.
- Younger liberals found her too aggressive in cases with minor crimes and too weak against police officers who had killed civilians.
- Interestingly, however, black voters did not seem particularly drawn to Harris; young ones went to Sanders and Warren while older ones went to Biden. Since the George Floyd protests, she has been vocal about police reform legislation.
What are her strengths?
- Her identity directly squares against President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance.
- Biden is also inclined to focus more on foreign policy, which means Harris could be more engaged with domestic politics.