During last week’s second Democratic Party debate, Senator Kamala Harris tried to take charge of a discussion regarding a police shooting in South Bend, Indiana.
As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race.
She used this statement to claim authority on policy based on her racial identity, and used this false authority as a foundation for her dishonest and cynical attack on Joe Biden, which was laden with mischaracterizations and loaded questions.
Instead of focusing on the logic and validity of Harris’ argument, the Left have capitalized on a Tweet by Ali Alexander – labeled as an alt-right activist by critics – which was then retweeted by the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr alongside the question “Is this true? Wow”.
An explosion of outrage was triggered by the Left, comparing the Tweet (and now-deleted retweet) to the “birtherism” attacks on Barack Obama, and as proof of the undeniable systemic racism that still plagues the United States. Many of Kamala Harris’ 2020 opponents have come out in support of Senator Harris, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden.
Like most instances of modern outrage, the reactions to Ali Alexander’s Tweet – and subjective interpretations of Donald Trump Jr’s frankly irrelevant opinions on the matter – are distracting from the questions we should be asking.
Ali Alexander’s Tweet is objectively poorly worded and arguably offensive. The valuation of viewpoints based upon racial identity is, by definition, racist. However, there is no ideological difference between this Tweet and the identity politics promulgated on a daily basis by the political Left.
Kamala Harris claimed, and was granted, authority on the matter of racially-related policy because of her race. The fact that she is black, or that she was a beneficiary of busing, does not provide substantive evidence that her policy opinions are correct. However, she avoids having to provide evidence by building her arguments on this false assumption of authority. This is the same logic which allows the Left to reject pro-life viewpoints expressed by men – “No uterus, no opinion”. The Left constantly reject the opinion of others, thereby avoiding objective debate and analysis of thought, by focusing on identity alone.
The reaction to Ali Alexander’s Tweet is understandable while also demonstrating a deep and hypocritical flaw in the Left’s obsession with identity politics. Ideology should be the only metric by which we measure candidates; not race, gender, or sexual orientation. The fact that Kamala Harris is of Indian and Jamaican descent is irrelevant when it comes to judging her policy opinions. However, this applies in both directions, meaning that Kamala Harris cannot cite her racial identity as a proxy for evidence supporting her viewpoints
According to Kamala Harris’ father, Donald Harris, the US Senator from California is a descendant of Hamilton Brown, who is “on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town”. As stated previously, Kamala Harris is in no way responsible for the abhorrent crimes of her ancestors. With this in mind, any critics of Harris who cite her heritage as proof of hypocrisy are missing the mark.
The important point is not that Harris has ancestors who were slave owners. The important point is that the Left apply an inconsistent metric of judgement based upon identity politics in order to attack their opponents and defend their compatriots. Would the media have remained silent in an equally-irrelevant scenario where ancestors of President Trump held slaves?
Ali Alexander’s Tweet, and the reactions from both sides, demonstrate two things. Firstly, identity politics exists across the political spectrum. Secondly, both forms of identity politics are both illogical and immoral, and cloud the arena of objective political debate. We must reject the ideology of identity politics if we ever hope to heal our growing societal divisions.
If we can agree that Kamala Harris’ heritage is irrelevant when it comes to judging her opinions on policy, then we must also agree that her claim to authority based solely on her race is also irrelevant.
We should start judging people on their ideology and character, rather than the color of their skin, where they happened to be born, or the crimes committed by their ancestors.