During Thursday’s (June 27) Democratic presidential debates, California Senator Kamala Harris relayed her experiences of being a Black woman and the racism she experienced from when she was a young child.
“As the only Black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race,” she said. Her breakout performance on the debate stage also included a spar with frontrunner Joe Biden, who she said was opposed to busing to help desegregate schools in the 1970s.
Since the debate, Senator Harris has been under attack by racists on social media. Many have revived “birtherism,” questioning her Blackness with one Twitter user even claiming she’s not an “American Black.”
The racism also made its way to the White House, where Donald Trump Jr retweeted the “American Black” theory and the message, “Is this true? Wow,” before he deleted it after receiving backlash.
Now, in a show of solidarity, a swath of Harris’ 2020 Democratic opponents are defending her via social media, with the most poignant defense coming from her good friend Cory Booker.
Just a few hours ago, the senator from New Jersey retweeted a New York Times story about Don Jr.’s tweet and the message, “@KamalaHarris doesn’t have s**t to prove.”
Other candidates sticking up for Harris include Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and more. See their tweets below.
The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist and ugly. We all have an obligation to speak out and say so. And it’s within the power and obligation of tech companies to stop these vile lies dead in their tracks.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 29, 2019
The presidential competitive field is stronger because Kamala Harris has been powerfully voicing her Black American experience. Her first-generation story embodies the American dream. It’s long past time to end these racist, birther-style attacks. https://t.co/x5Wdx8DKr8— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) June 29, 2019
There's a long history of black Americans being told they don't belong—and millions are kept down and shut out to this day. @KamalaHarris is an American. Period. And all of us must call out attempts to question her identity for what they are: racist. https://t.co/g3n7lmoU2h— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) June 29, 2019
These troll-fueled racist attacks on Senator @KamalaHarris are unacceptable. We are better than this (Russia is not) and stand united against this type of vile behavior.— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) June 29, 2019
Donald Trump Jr. is a racist too. Shocker. https://t.co/cy0N6fUseX— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) June 29, 2019
The coordinated smear campaign on Senator @KamalaHarris is racist and vile. The Trump family is peddling birtherism again and it’s incumbent on all of us to speak out against it.— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) June 29, 2019
The same forces of hatred rooted in 'birtherism' that questioned @BarackObama's American citizenship, and even his racial identity, are now being used against Senator @KamalaHarris. It’s disgusting and we have to call it out when we see it. Racism has no place in America.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 29, 2019
The attacks against @KamalaHarris are racist & un-American, period.— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) June 29, 2019
The attack on @KamalaHarris is racist and we can't allow it to go unchecked. We have a responsibility to call out this birtherism and the continued spread of misinformation.— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) June 29, 2019
This is racism. It was wrong before, and it’s wrong now. We won’t allow it again. https://t.co/MCkHFdronw— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) June 29, 2019
Kamala Harris herself has addressed Don Jr.’s racist tweet via her campaign. “This is the same type of racist attacks his father used to attack Barack Obama,” a spokesperson for Harris told The Daily Beast. “It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.”
The racist questions about Kamala Harris and her upbringing are right out of the birtherism playbook that was originally used to delegitimize Barack Obama’s presidency during his administration. Donald Trump became the poster child of the false narrative that the 44th president wasn’t actually born in the United States. He would ultimately be proven wrong, as Obama later shared his birth certificate publicly, showing he was indeed born in Hawaii. It was a document nobody but racists needed to see to accept President Obama as the legit leader of the country, and now it seems Kamala Harris will have to deal with the same attacks.
Glad to see even her competitors have her back.
Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for NAACP