Kamala Harris wants to speak to the Black community. Are we ready to listen?

Written by on September 30, 2020

Solomon Jones | Inquirer.com

Hours before a presidential debate that erased the boundaries of political decorum, I spoke to Democratic Vice Presidential nominee, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris. I asked her about the concerns of Black Philadelphians—a community that could very well decide the election.

In the state’s most populous city, where African Americans make up nearly half the population, Black people could be the key to winning Pennsylvania. And without Pennsylvania, Joe Biden’s path to the presidency narrows considerably. That makes Harris, a woman of Black and South Asian heritage, more than just a capable running mate. She is an ambassador who can speak to African Americans in ways that Biden simply cannot.

That’s why when I asked Harris what she and Biden would do about the most virulent, in-your-face racism I’ve seen in my lifetime, her answer was interesting, because it was an answer that only a Black woman would give.

“I would beg to differ in terms of this,” she said. “It is perhaps more evident, but the racism that we have been experiencing, it remains constant in terms of the effects … I think so much about this pandemic has been an accelerator, meaning folks who were doing badly before are doing worse now. When we look at the racial disparities that have been highlighted during the course of the pandemic—be it public health, be it economic, be it education—you see the disparities based on race highlighted. But they existed before …”

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