More fallout from Kamala Harris’ radio show interview last Monday on “The Breakfast Club.” She was widely ridiculed for saying she listened to Tupac and Snoop when she smoked pot in college, after it was discovered that neither had recorded any music until several years after she had graduated.
The latest criticism comes from her father, a Jamaican professor, who was unhappy with her joke about pot-smoking Jamaicans.
The co-host said, “They say you oppose legalizing weed.”
Harris replied, “That’s not true…And look, I joke about it – half-joking – half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”
Q: They say you oppose legalizing weed.
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
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 11, 2019
“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
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
Kamala, think of it as just another one of those growth opportunities.