Feminist icon or foe? We lay it down in this article about Kamala’s cunning act
Having a mixed Black-Indian woman born to immigrant parents as the first ever Black, Asian and female US Vice President seems like a win for Black women and women of colour everywhere, especially after a year where Black struggles have been hypervisible but disregarded, mocked and exploited. It can even seem refreshing.
She displays her pronouns in her social media bio, describes herself as an “auntie”, thanks food bank workers, calls for justice for Breonna Taylor and shares cornbread recipes on Twitter.
So what’s the problem?
Kamala positing herself as a relatable, radical ally whilst simultaneously advocating for policies that harm the very people she claims to help in order to win the votes of Black and Brown communities and further her political career is an age old trick of the bourgeoisie. The fictive kinship she has established with the Black and Brown community makes it seem as if she’s on our side.
But don’t let her use of AAVE or memes fool you, Kamala is far from being our sis...
Assimilating into oppressive white supremacist capitalist structures can never be progress for anyone. Despite what we’re led to believe, change cannot come from within the US office as it needs to be abolished. The US is stolen Native land founded by slavery and exploitation, and the government have no qualms about maintaining this system.
No matter how progressive a candidate running for office may seem, taking such a position of power legitimises the very system that we have to destroy in order to liberate Black women and women of colour.
Let’s break down the former prosecutor and self professed Top Cop’s track record:
1. She put Black trans women in men’s prisons.
Putting trans women in men’s prisons puts them at great risk of sexual and physical violence and reinforces the gender binary. Kamala’s denial of the right to gender-affirming surgery for incarcerated trans women is a violation which cannot be excused or defended.
2. She supports a bill that puts sex workers in grave danger.
SESTA/FOSTA is a controversial bill intended to curb sex trafficking, however, it has left many sex workers in vulnerable positions as introducing the bill led to the barring of several websites that sex workers used to protect themselves and find safe work.
3. She refused to allow investigations into unlawful shootings by police officers.
During her time as district attorney for San Francisco, Kamala ignored pleas from people to look into unlawful police shootings in the wake of the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
4. Pushed a law criminalising truancy, which disproportionately affects working class BIPOC people.
She laughed about locking up the parents of children absent from school, comparing the act to crime, failing to address the poverty and systemic racism which lands parents in these precarious situations.
5. She supports fracking.
Failing to move away from fracking puts the environment at great risk. It uses a large amount of water, toxic chemicals and increases pollution.
6. She supports ICE.
Immigrants detained in ICE centres remain separated from their families in vile conditions and experience extreme abuse and neglect at the hands of ICE guards and the state at large. Kamala previously backed a policy that required law enforcement to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal immigration authorities, regardless of whether they had committed a crime or not.
So does having a woman of colour as vice president mean things are changing in a positive way?
Unfortunately not. “Progressives” such as Kamala and Biden co-opt the language of radical organisers and movements to support their own capitalist agendas. We don’t need empty words and gestures from those who are in a position to create change. Kamala Harris has chosen to align herself with white supremacists, and we shouldn’t hail her as a hero.