Kamala Harris’s father is chastising his daughter and Democrat presidential hopeful for advancing stereotypes about pot-smoking Jamaicans.
Harris’s father Donald Harris is Jamaican, and her mother Shyamala Gopalan Harris is Indian. Kamala made remarks about pot and her own use of the drug during an interviewon the New York Breakfast Club radio show.
The host told Harris some have claimed she opposes the legalization of pot.
Harris said that was not true and added: “And look, I joke about it — half-joking — half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”
The host asked Harris if she had ever smoked it.
“I have,” she replied.
Harris’s father was not pleased with his daughter’s remarks and issued a statement published on the Jamaica Global website.
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. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.
The Jamaican Global website reported:
The 2020 presidential hopeful with a Jamaican heritage said she not only smoked but added “I inhale.” Perhaps said jokingly at first in the spirit of the interview, she proceeded to suggest that her Jamaican father’s side of the family would be disappointed in her if she did not support the legalization of marijuana. And that IS a serious statement. Now Harris’ father has come out vigorously dissociating himself from his daughter’s statement.
An ironic twist in Ms. Harris’ associating marijuana smoking with her Jamaican heritage that seems to have escaped her as well as media watchers is the fact that it is also very much a part of her Indian heritage that she is so proud of claiming. Is she aware that it was India that bequeathed a marijuana culture to Jamaica?
While Harris mainly praises her mother when recounting her journey to a presidential campaign, a poignant essay written by her father explains the importance of his role in Harris and her sister Maya’s lives.
He wrote an essay about Harris’s Jamaican roots that said, in part:
In their early years, I tried to convey this message in very concrete terms, through frequent visits to Jamaica and engaging life there in all its richness and complexity. In Brown’s Town, we walked the streets during ‘market day’, chatted up the ‘higglers’ in the market and were rewarded with plenty of ‘brawta’ (Jamaican word for bonus offerings) in naseberries, mangoes and guinep after each purchase. We checked out the location of the old Park School which had become transformed into Brown’s Town Comprehensive High School, strolled into St. Mark’s Church and graveyard, and traversed the road up the hill to Orange Hill where my uncle Newton had taken over the family property and started a limestone mining and brick producing operation in addition to the cattle, grass, fruit and pimento farming of earlier times.
This early phase of interaction with my children came to an abrupt halt in 1972 when, after a hard-fought custody battle in the family court of Oakland, California, the context of the relationship was placed within arbitrary limits imposed by a court-ordered divorce settlement based on the false assumption by the State of California that fathers cannot handle parenting (especially in the case of this father, “a neegroe [sic] from da eyelans” [sic] was the Yankee stereotype, who might just end up eating his children for breakfast!). Nevertheless, I persisted, never giving up on my love for my children or reneging on my responsibilities as their father.
Donald Harris is a professor of economics emeritus at Stanford University.
“If Kamala Harris inherits some of ‘that deep social awareness’ and heeds the advice of her Jamaican father, she will make an excellent President of the United States of America,” the article concludes.
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