The news of presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden selecting Kamala Harris as his VP running mate for the upcoming election has polarized the media, ranging from those celebrating the historic moment to those refuting that she is an African American woman.
Many conservative critics are coming forward to debate whether Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, would, in fact, be the first African American and are arguing against media outlets labeling her as such. One longtime Republican operative told Fox News that Black Americans should be more apprehensive about embracing Harris as Biden’s running mate.
On Fox News, Ari Fleischer suggested Black Americans simply wouldn’t embrace Harris. “She’s just not that historically exciting to African Americans,” Fleischer told NPR. “She certainly wasn’t during the [Democratic presidential] primary—and that was one of the biggest reasons Biden picked her. He needs that boost in African American turnout in order to win. I just don’t see it.”
Conservative legal pundits added to Fleischer’s point by saying “Kamala Harris is not an African American,” he said on the Blaze according to NPR. “She is Indian and Jamaican. Jamaica is in the Caribbean. “India is”—he paused—”out there near China.”
CNN correspondent Don Lemon lashed out against critics saying that the comments echo the same birther sentiments that were used against former President Barack Obama.
Harris has said in the past that she identifies as an American and a Black woman who embraces her biracial identity. In a 2019 interview with The Breakfast Club radio show, in regard to her ethnic background, Harris stated that “I’m Black, and I’m proud of being Black,” she said in the interview. “I was born Black. I will die Black, and I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because they don’t understand.”