When I found out the Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his Vice President (VP) pick for the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, I was literally speechless. I had just resurrected myself from a visit with a client, finally making it home after a humid-filled day in Houston, Texas. My sister, Gebrina, was the lucky person to bestow the news unto me. I stopped in my tracks, looked at her blankly for a moment and simply stated, “I’m not surprised.”
My answer wasn’t full of joy nor was I jumping to the heavens, proclaiming my newfound love for Kamala Harris. I, honestly, did not know how to feel. Although I wanted to be genuinely excited, I just wasn’t. My evening went on routinely but, before I finally had a chance to sit down and process my own reservations with the pick, I seemed to be more bothered than anything. Yes, all the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) have been rejoicing at the historic step of their soror. And, yes, Kamala Harris is the product of the most prestigious Historically Black College/University (HBCU), Howard University. But, in my mind, aside from her impressive track record, Kamala Harris is a Black woman.
Political backlash. It’s a mutha. Like, no joke. There was an instant wave of concern that overcame me. The media here in the U.S. has crucified nominees, in the past. The media’s power is unmatched and I simply believe it could make or break Kamala. In addition, the United States has deemed a Commander-in-Chief who is notorious for spewing his own versions of political putdowns, even lying to attempt to get his (illogical) opinions across. Without surprise, Trump’s disrespectful outbursts against Kamala Harris have already started – and, this woman hasn’t even been the nominee for a week. He’s described Harris as a “mad woman”, “nasty” and “most horrible”. Eloquence at its best. All in all, Trump’s response didn’t really get a rise out of me, but I did take note that there is a chance that this man could simply be intimidated by the presence of a strong, Black woman on the political playing field; leveling her own influence, with his power. Let’s not forget about his Crooked Hilary rants from the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, shall we?
Growing up, my momma would always tell me that I would live my life, with two strikes already against me. My momma disclosed that those two strikes were: 1) I am Black and 2) I am a woman. The prolific Malcolm X even highlighted the disheartening role of Black women in America in a 1962 speech he gave in Los Angeles. He stated, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” I couldn’t agree more.
Black women deserve better.
For years, Black women have held the weight of the world on their backs. From continually serving as the backbone for Black families, encouraging those we love to keep on pushing, to strive for greater and to achieve the impossible in a society where we are consistently shunned, frowned upon and rejected. We’ve been downtrodden since Master and the slavery era, and even today, it seems that Black women struggle with mental slavery, believing that their hopes and dreams are not valid. Yet, there is no one there to encourage us.
No matter how a Black woman is presented to the world, the color of our skin is always played as a weakness. The color of our skin instantly endows centuries of stereotypes upon us, without our ever uttering a single word. We can be more educated than the masses, more refined and even more accomplished, yet the world continues to grind its foot into neck. Hell, there are even Black men who refuse to protect and cherish Black women – they play the card of “preference”, but behind closed doors Black women are seen as equivalents to animals. It’s particularly disturbing that, even though their own mothers are women of color, a significant percentage of Black men still struggle to understand the value their Black women.
Although I may not agree with Kamala’s past choices as a prosecutor, I understand that, when you have a job to do, you’re not going to appease everyone. I legally remove people’s children from their homes for a living, chew on that. You’re going to piss some people off along way, it’s guaranteed that some feathers are going to get ruffled. We need representation in politics. I know there is a large platform of young people out there questioning Kamala’s motives, trust me, I feel your pain. True story: the lack of the Black vote in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, is another reason why we have endured the current political fiasco for the past four years. So, do you really think not voting is effective?
Eighty years ago, who would have thought that a Black (female) VP nominee would grace the Democratic National Convention stage, accepting one of the party’s most distinguished roles. If our ancestors could witness the change that is taking place, they would be elated – completely validated that their own sacrifices have laid the foundation for long-term change. Let’s face it: Kamala Harris is qualified for the job. Black women deserve better because we are the cornerstone of progression. We hold more power than the world wants to warrant us. We are more than just our curves. We are more than just hair that defies gravity and skin that glistens like gold. We are a demographic that has been suppressed for far too long. Kamala Harris may be a stepping stone, but keep also in mind, human perfection is a farce. Let’s actually push to try to get other women of color into points of leadership. There’s room for everyone to win.
“We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.”