Kamala Harris profile slammed for saying she downplays Indian roots: 'Doesn't need to prove she's desi'

The profile's author Anita Kumar claimed politicians and activists of Asian descent want Harris to speak out more about her Indian heritage, 'embracing it as she does her Black roots'

                            Kamala Harris profile slammed for saying she downplays Indian roots: 'Doesn't need to prove she's desi'
Kamala Harris is the first biracial woman to serve as Vice President (Getty Images)

Vice President Kamala Harris was recently the subject of a profile on the news website Politico. Authored by Anita Kumar, the White House correspondent and associate editor for the news organization, the piece focussed on how Harris “became a victim of the barriers she broke.”

The piece noted how Harris “carried many firsts” with her into the Vice Presidency -- becoming the first woman, Black person, Asian American, Indian American, and biracial woman to serve as Vice President. But it also claimed that these firsts “have come with their unique set of pressures, primarily for her to embrace her history-making role. And after nearly four months in office, Harris faces criticism that she hasn’t struck the right balance, that she’s focused more often on being the United States’ first Black vice president than the first Asian-American one.”


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Vice President Kamala Harris (Getty Images)


Kumar claimed in her profile that politicians and activists of Asian descent want her to speak out more about her Indian heritage, “embracing it as she does her Black roots, and advocate for policy issues important to Asian Americans”. 

The profile has not gone down well with many. Washington Post journalist Christopher Ingraham criticized it saying, “There’s only one quote in this entire story that reasonably qualifies as ‘criticism,’ and it comes from a Republican donor.”

The quote Ingraham was referring to came from Sampat Shivangi, an Indian American doctor from Mississippi who has raised money for Republican presidential candidates. Shivangi said in the piece: “She lacks Indianness. I don’t know how much we can claim her because she claims to be African American rather than Indian American. I think she is keeping distance from Indian Americans. She should start identifying who she is.”

Journalist and political commentator Eric Boehlert said in the same vein: “not *one* quote in the article  supports this premise, which is simply fabricated.”



American broadcast journalist and executive producer Soledad O'Brien wrote on Twitter: “This story is a huge waste of time and nobody quoted actually says any such thing in it but please note the lady who wrote it (Anita Kumar) threw the going-away party for Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I tell you all very often that politico is bad.” 

The Twitter account for BlackWomenViews Media wrote: Y'all mean to tell me the same Kamala Harris who gets attacked relentlessly for celebrating her Indian heritage (in addition to her Blackness) & AAPI advocacy is not being Asian enough? I remember Duckworth being insulted at MVP being called AAPI so folks are full of s***.”




One Twitter user pointed out, “This article is an artificial controversy. @KamalaHarris doesn't have to prove to anyone if she is a desi. It’s in her DNA and how her mother raised her. The Indian experience in America is not cookie cutter.” 

Another Twitter said, “This is so insulting to those of us who ARE of Asian ancestry & do not want to be pitted against our Black brother & sisters. FYI: VP Harris will serve as the keynote speaker for a virtual unity summit for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders this week & that makes me SO HAPPY.” One Twitter user said, “Why does a mixed race person have to prove they're giving "equal time" to each part of their identity? It's not a competition.”






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