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politics

Harris Stands by Decision to ‘Speak the Truth’ on Race Matters

Harris Stands by Decision to ‘Speak the Truth’ on Race Matters

  • 2020 Democratic hopeful attends San Francisco gay pride rally
  • Senator has faced online birther-like campaign since debate
Kamala Harris speaks during a San Francisco Pride event on Sunday.
Kamala Harris speaks during a San Francisco Pride event on Sunday. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Kamala Harris speaks during a San Francisco Pride event on Sunday.
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Kamala Harris stood by her decision to confront Joe Biden on race during last week’s Democratic debate as she now faces an online campaign attacking her along racial lines.

“It may make people uncomfortable to speak the truth about the history of our country but we must speak the truth,” the California senator told reporters Sunday outside San Francisco’s city hall after marching in the city’s gay pride parade.

“We must agree that there not only is fact that is the basis for these truths but that we should recommit ourselves to also agreeing that these things should never happen again,” Harris said.

She spent much of the two-mile parade route standing in the back seat of a red 1965 Ford Mustang, waving to thousands of onlookers lining Market Street.

“It’s good to be home,” she said at a pre-march breakfast where she took to the stage and spun around, showing off a bejeweled jean jacket with the colors of the gay pride flag.

Online Attacks

Harris’s profile has risen since Thursday’s debate, where she challenged Biden’s record of opposing federal mandates to desegregate schools through the use of busing. A poll for Morning Consult showed Harris gaining from a pre-debate survey among voters who said she is their first choice. Harris was named by 12% of voters after the debate, up from 6%.

She has also faced an uptick in online attacks questioning her race. Her mother was Indian, her father was Jamaican and she was in the first generation of her family to be born in the U.S.

“Kamala Harris is implying she is descended from American Black Slaves,” read a tweet by Ali Alexander, a black Trump supporter with a sizable online following.

“She’s not. She comes from Jamaican Slave Owners. That’s fine. She’s not an American Black. Period.” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, amplified the Alexander tweet, quoting it and adding, “Is this true? Wow.” He later deleted it.

The campaign is reminiscent of the “birther” movement against Barack Obama. “We are a nation that has a lot to be proud of and there are aspects of our history that we cannot be proud of and that we can also and must be dedicated to making sure will not repeat themselves,” Harris said.

Harris said Sunday that she supports busing as “one small piece” of broader federal and local efforts to diversify schools. “Listen, the schools of America are as segregated if not more segregated today than they were when I was in elementary school,” the 54-year-old said. “And we need to put every effort including busing into play to desegregate the schools.”

Harris’ aides and allies argue that the debate-stage confrontation has given her momentum. Her campaign had its best fundraising day yet in the 24 hours starting with Thursday night’s debate, raising more than $2 million online from 63,277 people, 58% of whom were new donors. The average contribution was $30.