The father of 2020 Democratic presidential contender Kamala Harris, Jamaican Professor Donald Harris, has issued a sharp rebuke after his daughter casually stereotyped Jamaicans in an effort to look cool on a radio show.
When asked on New York City's hip-hop radio show "The Breakfast Club" if she opposes legalizing marijuana, Harris replied:
"That's not true," adding "and look, I joke about it - half-joking, half of my family's from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?"
Q: They say you oppose legalizing weed.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 11, 2019
KAMALA HARRIS: That's not true.
Q: I know.
HARRIS: And look, I joke about it — half-joking — half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?
Q: Have you ever smoked?
HARRIS: I have. pic.twitter.com/dABtHKPGUG
Responding to his daughter's shameless pandering, Donald Harris said in a statment to Jamaica Global Online:
“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.” -Jamaica Global Online
Harris' father wasn't the only one to take offense to the stereotype, as Jamaican newspapers ran several headlines covering Kamala's "hot sauce in the purse" moment.
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.
And well he might. V.G. McGee in a op ed piece published on January 12 in Urbanislandz writes “Back in 2014 while running for re-election for California attorney general, she wasn’t in support of legalizing recreational use of the plant , but it is good that she has evolved on the issue and we can thank her Jamaican relatives for influencing her changing opinion.” So, the perception created by Ms. Harris’ statement is real and has caused some unease amongst Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora and now, it seems, her father and his Jamaican family. For some, it is more than mere unease; one Jamaican commenting on social media expressed the concern that “soon my job will be singling me out to drug test me since I am from Jamaica. What a stereotype”. Her concern is not unfounded given the experience of Jamaicans travelling to US ports having sniffer dogs around them in customs halls. -Jamaica Global Online
Harris also told "The Breakfast Club" that she used to get high in college listening to "Snoop Dogg" and "Tupac Shakur" - whose albums came out after she graduated.
WATCH: Kamala Harris admitted, on a radio interview with The Breakfast Club, to have smoked pot in college; suggesting she did so while listening to Tupac and Snoop.— The Reel News (@TheReelofNews) February 12, 2019
Tupac's 1st album came out in 1991. Snoop's 1st album came out in 1993. Kamala Harris graduated college in 1986. pic.twitter.com/g60MG8ifc5
Kamala Harris was on the Breakfast Club & she said while she was in college, she smoked weed and listened to Snoop and Tupac..— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) February 12, 2019
Snoop & Pac didn't release records until 1991-92.
Kamala graduated from college in 1986.
But if #Ados are skeptical of Kamala "we some haters" right? pic.twitter.com/uR8kZ5z5yQ
And while the Huffington Post suggested that she wasn't necessarily talking about music she listened to in college, we can only imagine the dressing down she'll get by Donald Trump during a 2020 debate, should she win her party's nomination.