I was so excited when Kamala Harris was selected as Joe Biden’s VP pick last week. Not because she was my first choice. I really wanted Stacey Abrams. But I was excited because she’s a Black woman, she’s a fighter, and she’s qualified. I know the Biden campaign forensically vetted her background and her ability to enhance his campaign. With the current white house administration’s obsession with “law and order,” having a former prosecutor on the Democratic ticket sends a strong message. Also, a white husband will make many white people feel more comfortable. I mean, she can’t be the leader of the Black revolution with a white husband, can she?
Before I had a chance to do my Beyonce victory dance in the kitchen, social media morons were already attacking her. I know moron is a strong word, and I don’t like name-calling, but I don’t know how else to describe people who spread hatred and false information simultaneously. They are Black, and I am pissed. Why? Because my mom told me if I have nothing nice to say don’t say anything. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t affect change. I’ve spent the past year raising my voice in every way. It does mean there is a time and place for everything, and for god’s sake fact-check before you make a fool of yourself. And, have enough character to apologize when you’re wrong.
This is some of the nonsense I’ve seen on social media in an attempt to diminish the first Black woman nominated as VP in a major party:
He just picked her to secure the Black vote. – Black people have been voting Democratic since the 1930’s. Why? Because the Democratic Party was the party of FDR’s New Deal which provided programs for relief for the unemployed, creation of welfare programs, and economic recovery after The Great Depression. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/rise-to-world-power/great-depression/a/the-new-deal The Democratic Party has long been the party of worker’s rights and diversity, and Black people historically vote in our own self-interest, which isn’t always true for whites. When politicians are able to convince poor white voters that Black people, immigrants, etc. are stealing their cheese, they can be manipulated to vote against their own interests. The Democratic Party is the party of Barack and Michelle Obama, AOC, and the “love gov” Andrew Cuomo. We’re not perfect, but we have plenty to celebrate. 88% of Black people voted Democratic in 2016. https://blackdemographics.com/culture/black-politics/ We will again, based on facts and logic. Black people are smart, and our votes aren’t handicapped by deeply-ingrained racism.
She sent Black people to prison. – She was attorney general for many years, so part of her job was sending people to prison. In the U.S., people who are convicted of crimes are supposed to go to prison. While her stance on the death penalty has been a little wishy-washy, for the most part, she has not been a proponent of the death penalty. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/08/11/kamala-harris-vp-background-bio-biden-running-mate-2020-393885
Despite misinformation spreading on social media, she was NOT involved in the tragic Oscar Grant case portrayed in the heartbreaking but excellent film, Fruitvale Station. https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/aug/14/viral-image/no-kamala-harris-wasnt-prosecutor-fruitvale-statio/
She’s not African-American because her family is from Jamaica and India. – Welp, this African-American is from Jamaica and St. Lucia, so I know that’s not true. Kamala Harris is a Black woman who went to a Black college and joined a Black sorority, so she’s pretty much Blackity-Black. I have no idea who the Black police are, or why they want to judge other people’s Blackness.
As a Black woman, I understand the source of Black self-hatred. It’s the American Way. When I was a kid we used to play the dozens. We called it “ranking.” I hated the game and was never any good at it. The game was played by insulting each other with “your mama” jokes, and teasing about how poor, Black or nappy we were. I’ve read multiple theories on the origin of the game. There seems to be a clear connection to similar games played in Africa. (Chimezie, A. (1976). The Dozens: An African-Heritage Theory. Journal of Black Studies, 6(4), 401-420. Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/2783770?read-now=1&seq=8#page_scan_tab_contents) However, the term dozen may be related to the way enslaved workers were sold or raped “by the dozens.” I imagine that a game that helped Black people to have a “thick skin” and to learn to spar verbally would be helpful in navigating a racist society. I fear that this cultural tradition has often turned us into crabs in a barrel pulling each other down instead of lifting each other up.
Here are a few ideas to calm the crab if you ever feel the hateration rising inside of you from a lifetime of internalized, unconscious self-loathing, or garden-variety jealousy. And, for the record, it’s not your fault.
• Remember you are not perfect and neither is anyone else. We’ve all made bad decisions, been embarrassed, and misinformed. If we’re smart, we grow from our mistakes and move on. Through this process, we learn compassion for others who’ve made mistakes and recognize their humanity and our own.
• We are all individuals and entitled to our opinions. Don’t expect to agree with someone about everything all the time. We can’t even find that in our own households with our partners and families. We certainly won’t find it in politicians or celebrities. We are entitled to opinions. We are not entitled to spread false information or false theories like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. That’s called blatant stupidity. It’s easy to fact check with sites like snopes.com or politifacts.com. Use your google searches for good not evil.
• Life is not a zero-sum game, and there is no pie. We can all excel. If Kamala Harris becomes Vice President, it doesn’t diminish anyone else’s ability to achieve. I love the Starbucks story. Many local coffee shops were concerned when Starbucks entered the market, thinking they would put them out of business. More often than not, that didn’t happen. Starbucks EXPANDED the market exponentially which helped many mom-and-pop coffee shops thrive. The same is true for most things in life. If you win, that doesn’t mean I lose. There’s enough oxygen for everyone.
If elected in November, Kamala Harris will be the first woman, first African-American and first Asian-American vice president in the history of the United States. Representation matters. After a hellish four years with the current administration, “Momala” is giving me hope.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is one I found on Meagan Goode’s Instagram in a repost from Femi Magazine. You can get a t-shirt at vplikeme.com Representation is powerful. I never imagined I would live to see a Black president. I hope I get to see some #blackgirlmagic in November. If you’re looking for a way to de-stress and nurture self-love this election season, join me for my Fall Retreat Series. Details available at trishahjelroberts.com/events.