kamala harris’ presidential run is polarizing

January 22, 2019
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In a perfect world, senator Kamala Harris’ announcement for presidency would be met with celebration. Harris is following a tradition of Black American political leadership being negotiated for ultimate government power also known as the presidency. However, her announcement was not met with majority excitement like we remember with Barack Obama but a collective questioning and conversation.

Because of the absurd and heinous things that President Trump has done, the deisre for new leadership is alive and strong. However, like anything else, the Black American community is not monolithic about anything including the idea of Kamala Harris’ presidency.

On one hand, Kamala Harris’ history is disturbing. Writer, activist, and Hella Black podcast host, Blake Simons, started a conversation around Harris’ relationship to the prison industrial system and transphobia. Both are not just incidents, but a history showing proof that these may not just be political mistakes or misguided theories, but proof of a perspective that she holds and will continue to perpetuate if elected president.

Other members of the Black community argued these moments are from the past and do not inform her current standing. And an honest concern of Russian interference and that being the reason for newfound dissent, even though Blake Simons is a verified Black person in America. The paranoia and concern is still real, and a lot of Black Americans who have suffered from lack of healthcare and access to other government resources that have them concerned for their well-being. Still, many Black Americans’ concern is that if we are not concerned about everybody’s struggle — globally and those who struggle where you, yourself, may have privilege in  — then we are still colluding with the same political forces we are seeking to break free from.

Regardless, this is a hard conversation that senator Kamala Harris’ presidential run announcement brought up around identity, power, and history. It all leads us to wonder what will happen in the 2020 election, and is Kamala Harris simply not radical or progressive enough to be the leader Black Americans desire and deserve?