Harris is now the top GOP target for racial stereotypes, ‘birtherism’ conspiracy theories, and inappropriate sexual comments
Kamala Harris, the first Black woman in history to be nominated as a major party’s vice presidential candidate, has been the near-constant target of racist and misogynist slurs by Trump and his supporters.
American law professor John Eastman — who unsuccessfully ran in the primaries for California Attorney General in a race Harris ultimately won — was among the first to jump the bandwagon after Harris’s nomination on Aug. 11, penning a Newsweek op-ed questioning Harris’s eligibility for the office of the vice presidency.
Eastman argued that although Harris was born in Oakland, California, she did not meet the “natural-born citizen” constitutional requirement for office since neither of her parents was a lawful permanent resident at the time of her birth. This argument has been repeatedly debunked by constitutional law scholars.
Many have compared the argument to the Obama “birtherism” conspiracy theories, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Ortez (D-NY) tweeting in August, “Calling into question the citizenship of elected officials of color … is one way (white supremacy) manifests.”
White supremacy is a belief system based on the idea that ppl of color, esp Black ppl, are fundamentally illegitimate as equal citizens or human beings.
Calling into question the citizenship of elected officials of color, esp when the answer is obvious, is one way it manifests.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 13, 2020
Just days after Harris’ nomination, when Trump was asked if he believed Harris was eligible for office, he stoked the flames of racism, saying: “I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements. I have no idea if that’s right. I would have thought, I would have assumed that the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for vice president.”
Trump was also swift to invoke “angry Black woman” stereotypes as he leveled attacks, calling Harris a “nasty” woman — a slur he previously launched at his former opponent Hillary Clinton in 2016 — and claiming Harris was “angry” and full of “such hatred.”
Despite frequent corrections, Trump, Mike Pence, and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel have also repeatedly mispronounced Harris’s Hindi first name.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, now serving as a personal attorney to Trump, even called her “Pamela” in a Fox News appearance.
And when Fox News host Tucker Carlson was called out by a guest for mispronouncing Kamala, he said “so what?” before continuing to mispronounce it.
“It’s an effort to diminish her,” National Women’s Law Center Action Fund President Fatima Goss Graves told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s designed to signal difference.”
And criticism has not been confined to Harris’ race. Misogynist mockery has also dominated the Republican political landscape since her nomination.
A line of “Joe and the Hoe” merchandise by third-party seller the Oxygen Bandit was removed from Amazon (8/20) after customer backlash. Bill Baptist, an NBA photographer and independent contractor, was banned from working for the NBA after posting a “Joe and the Hoe” meme. (8/14)
Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh went on the air (8/17) to defend the NBA photographer, quoting an American Spectator article about Harris’s relationship approximately 25 years ago with Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco.
Quoting the article, Limbaugh called Harris a “public escort and mattress” for Brown. He also criticized Harris for “brazenly sleeping her way to the top,” mocking the size of her “backside.”
Small-town Republican politicians haven’t been able to resist jabs, either.
In early August, as Black candidates Harris and Stacey Abrams were being considered as nominees, Barry Presgraves, the mayor of Luray, Virginia, posted on his Facebook page that “Joe Biden just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” Presgraves was met with widespread calls to resign. The statement was later removed.
John Massoud, an elected town council member in Strasburg, Virginia, was also roundly criticized by local Democrats for posting a sexist meme on his official Facebook account captioned with a crude remark about Harris’s relationship with Brown.
But it was perhaps Eric Trump, the White House occupant’s son, who set the standard for GOP misogyny when he liked an Aug. 12 tweet, now deleted, by a user called Lori Hendry.
“Raise your hand if you think Harris was a whorendous pick,” the tweet read. “May have misspelled.”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
Originally published: 2020-09-17 11:42:24