Roger House, associate professor in American Studies, writes for The Hill that Kamala Harris’s’ Democratic party VP nomination is a complicated one in terms of race and status, and its significance for African Americans and party affiliation.
First, Harris’s selection revisits a stereotype of racial preference and social acceptance in America: fair skin, straight hair, a fluid racial background disconnected from the traditional Black experience, and an easy appeal to the inclusive sensibility of white liberals.
Second, the selection paints into a corner Black women leaders with more authentic experience. It forces them to embrace a historical first that undercuts their own natural beauty, culture and hard work to earn a place in the sun. At the same time, it allows Harris to ride on the coattails of the civil rights struggles and achievements. So, once again, the Black political class finds itself somewhat duped by its over-dependence on liberals; in fact, one could say that they are party to their own undoing.