Sen. Kamala D. Harris, who will upon a formal vote by the Democratic National Convention become the first Black woman to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket, faced questions about her race from conservative commentators of color Wednesday.
Dinesh D’Souza made a case against referring to Ms. Harris as “African American,” while the sister duo known as Diamond and Silk speculated the California Democrat is “not even Black.”
Ms. Harris, whose parents were immigrants born in Jamaica and India, faced those attacks and others soon after effectively becoming her party’s vice presidential nominee Tuesday.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden named Ms. Harris his running mate earlier Tuesday, quickly leading President Trump’s backers to turn their fire on his rival’s choice.
Mr. D’Souza referred to Ms. Harris hours later as “supposedly African American” and noted that her father has reportedly claimed to be the descendant of a Jamaican slave owner.
“African American in the American context generally means having a direct relationship to the experiences of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow so on,” Mr. D’Souza said on Fox News.
“Kamala Harris seems to be descended less from the legacy of, let’s say, Frederick Douglass, than she is from the legacy of the plantation itself,” he said later in the segment.
Mr. D’Souza, a native of India who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1991, subsequently reiterated his argument on Twitter in a series of social media postings into Wednesday.
“The ‘first Black woman’ hoopla is based on the idea that finally a female descendant of slaves can make it all the way to the White House. The problem is that Kamala Harris is descended from one of Jamaica’s largest slaveowners. This exposes the whole morality tale as a farce,” tweeted Mr. D’Souza, a conservative author who pleaded guilty in 2014 to campaign finance fraud but later pardoned by Mr. Trump.
Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — Black siblings best known as Diamond and Silk, respectively — made similar remarks while being interviewed on talk radio, meanwhile.
“Kamala is not even Black,” Ms. Richardson said on WMAL in Washington, D.C. “So you know when she talks about racism, that’s why she don’t care about it. She’s not even Black.”
“Somebody claimed that she was Asian American and then they are saying she’s Indian. I don’t know what she is,” Ms. Hardaway added.
Neither the Biden campaign nor a spokesperson for Ms. Harris immediately returned messages seeking their reactions to the remark made about her race.
Media Matters for America, a liberal group that monitors conservatives media outlets, first reported on the comments Wednesday.
Ms. Harris, 55, was born in Oakland, California. Her father, Donald J. Harris, was born in British Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, was born in Tamil Nadu, India. They emigrated to the U.S. in 1961 and 1960, respectively, and attended the University of California, Berkeley.
Mr. D’Souza and Diamond and Silk have been among the president’s most unwavering supporters and regularly come to his defense. Mr. D’Souza, for example, recently insisted Mr. Trump was correct when he mispronounced “Thailand” last week, resulting in him being widely mocked on social media afterward.
Ms. Hardaway and Ms. Richardson, on their part, recently made waves for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus pandemic, including falsely claiming that quarantining makes people sick, which preceded the duo being dumped in April from Fox Nation, the subscription service run by Fox News.
More recently, they spoke at a Trump reelection campaign rally in late June in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and have launched a new show, Diamond and Silk Crystal Clear,” that debuted on Newsmax TV over the weekend.
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