Prof says Kamala Harris is not 'authentic' enough for Black community

Emerson College Professor Roger House wrote an op-ed in The Hill discussing the “painful” experience of watching Black women pretend to be excited over Harris’s nomination.

House also listed Black women leaders with a “more authentic experience."

House pointed out Harris’s "fair skin," "straight hair" and white husband that make her “an easy appeal.”

Sen. Kamala Harris made history as the first Black woman to ever be on a major party’s presidential ticket. However, one professor at Emerson college feels her selection “revisits a stereotype of racial preference and social acceptance in America.”

Emerson College Associate Professor in American Studies Roger House, wrote an op-ed in the Hill sharing the “painful” experience of watching Black women pretend to be excited over Harris’s nomination.

He went on to point out her “fair skin,” “straight hair,” and background that is  “disconnected from traditional Black experience.” He also mentioned that Harris “chose to marry a white man who appears to stay out of the political limelight.”

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House said these qualities make her “an easy appeal to the inclusive sensibility of white liberals.”

“It [the VP choice] expressed that Black lives matter to the Democratic Party elite, but that the elite may value those Blacks of light skin and untraditional background a little more,” wrote House.

House said that even former President Barack Obama gained more “credibility” by marrying a Black woman.  He mentioned that although Barack Obama was raised by his white maternal family in Kansas, Michelle Obama’s family’s story was rooted in the authentic experience of African Americans.

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“Historically, white liberals have shown an affinity for politicians with a mixed racial heritage to represent the ordinary folk,” House claimed.

House went on to list Black women leaders bypassed by the Biden campaign who held a “more authentic experience,” including Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass, Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms, 2018 gubernatorial candidate in Georgia Stacey Abrams, and former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. 

“Such statements, though well-intentioned, tend to ignore the reality of colorism and the struggle of some dark-skinned girls to be confident in a white culture,” House said of the suggestion that Black women and girls have a role model to look to in Harris.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JezzamineWolk