“My deceased parents must be turning in their grave right now.”
Sen. Kamala Harris’ father has criticized her for joking last week that “of course” she smoked marijuana, because she has Jamaican heritage.
Donald Harris, the source of that heritage, sent an unsolicited rebuke of his daughter – who is running to be the Democratic presidential nominee – to Kingston-based Jamaica Global Online, where he had recently written an essay on his family’s history.
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“My dear departed grandmothers (whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics,” wrote the Stanford University professor emeritus of economics.
He added: “Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”
Kamala Harris’ campaign had no comment.
“Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” she asked.
Harris said she smoked a joint in college. “And I inhaled,” she quipped, referring to former President Bill Clinton’s comment on the campaign trail in 1992 that he smoked marijuana but “didn’t inhale.”
During the interview, Harris confronted questions about her racial “legitimacy” that have been raised by some African-Americans.
“I’m black, and I’m proud of being black,” declared Harris, who is running for president. “I was born black. I will die black, and I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because they don’t understand.”
However, not everyone was convinced. In an explosive CNN panel discussion last Wednesday, host Don Lemon insisted that while Harris could be described as black, she is not properly an Africa-American.
“Jamaica’s not America,” Lemon repeatedly said, arguing that African-American identity has to be earned with a family history of being black and oppressed in the United States.
The California senator’s parents separated when she was young and divorced a few years later. She and her sister were raised by their mother, though their father was part of their lives.
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