WHY ARE SOME WHITE PEOPLE OBSESSING ABOUT THE RACE OF KAMALA HARRIS?

By Henry-Louis Taylor, Jr.

“The irony is their obsession with Harris’s race, blinds them to a far more intriguing question. Why would a White person or a non-Black person of color pretend to be Black?”

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BY HENRY-LOUIS TAYLOR, JR.

I’m curious about this White obsession about the race of Karmala Harris. Some Whites seem more concerned about her race than her political belief. The irony is their obsession with Harris’s race, blinds them to a far more intriguing question.  Why would a White person or a non-Black person of color pretend to be Black? The United States has a racialized order with Blacks at the bottom and Whites at the top, with color gradations between these two extremes. In this racial order, a person’s life chances and opportunities are perceived to improve the lighter their skin, and the more European their hair texture. Thus, in the United States, all other racial groups are placed higher on the color ladder and opportunity ladder than Blacks. Historically, this has given rise to the popularity of skin whiteners and hair straightener in the Black Community.  Some folks want to look White in hopes of improving their life chance.

Karmala Harris says she is a Black woman . That is good enough for me.

But it poses another question.  In a nation where many people would prefer to be anything but Black, why would Harris self-identify as Black if she was a member of another race? Why would she pretend to be Black?

Perhaps, she is Harris a “South Asian” Rachel A. Dolezal? That still begs the question, why would a South Asian-American want to identify and pretend to be Black? And what is all this fixated talk about Blacks and multi-racial population or bi-racial, anyway? Why do White folks want to label some Blacks as multi-racial rather than African American? 

The Black nation is composed mostly of multi-racial people, so why the fascination about who is Black? We come in all shades of color and hair texture, with the blood of many different people flowing through our veins. Our Black nation was forged in the battles for freedom and liberation—not in the bedroom.

Lastly, for the White obsessors, if all Black Americans declared themselves White, how would it change their positionality in U.S. society?

Dear White folks, who are obsessing about who is Black, stop! Now, if you need and want to obsess about Blackness, then I suggest you fixate on how we get free.