After Obama, birthers target Kamala Harris, claiming she's not American and can't represent African American community
The onslaught against Harris, which appears to be aided by online bots, claims that the senator does not represent the black people of the United States because her father was born in Jamaica.
It appears that a new version of President Donald Trump's racist "birtherism" attack on his predecessor Barack Obama has suddenly reemerged on social media, but this time it is against the Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris, who is running for the 2020 presidential elections.
The onslaught against Harris, which appears to be aided by online bots, claims that the senator does not represent the black people of the United States because her father was born in Jamaica. Harris, who was born in Oakland, California, is an American of both Jamaican and Indian descent.
President Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., also joined in on the fallacious attack against Harris as he retweeted the claims. However, he later deleted it.
Meanwhile, the president's former campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson attempted another measure to discredit Harris by suggesting that the senator was not African enough to run as a minority presidential candidate. Pierson tweeted that "While Obama is actually African-American — Harris is not," even though people of African descent have lived in Jamaica for centuries.
The deluge of attacks come against her after a stellar performance during the Democratic primary debate on Thursday. Harris, during the debate, had powerfully pointed out her own experiences being bused as a child in California to battle school desegregation.
Reports state that the attack against the California senator appeared to have been launched by a self-described "black activist" identifying himself as "Ali Alexander" on an unverified Twitter account. The man, in a video and tweet, claimed that Harris cannot represent the black experience in America because she has "no ancestors who suffered American Slavery, the Civil War, nor Jim Crow."
Alexander is reportedly far-right political operative and conspiracy theorist Ali Akbar, or Ali Abdul Razaq Akbar, whom Politico profiled last year as an “increasingly prominent pro-Trump supporter.” Robert Mercer, a day before the 2016 election, had donated $60,000 to a PAC that Alexander advises, according to the outlet.
Akbar, who posed as Alexander on the Twitter account, claimed that his tweets "went viral" when, in reality, his message was almost instantaneously picked up word for word and disseminated by several Twitter accounts that have been identified as bots, according to BuzzFeed.
Social media researcher Caroline Orr also pointed out that the original tweet by him also drew in other false attacks, claiming that Harris was not born in the United States, mirroring the right-wing lie pitched against Obama by Trump, who had claimed that the first US president was not born in Africa, and had no right to represent black people.
The California senator, who has been experiencing similar attacks for a while now, said earlier this year: "This is the same thing they did to Barack, this is not new to us," adding that “powerful voices” are “trying to sow hate and division among us. We need to recognize when we’re being played.”