Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s rival-turned-running-mate, has often been referred to as the “female Obama,” a lazy, reductive moniker meant to highlight superficial similarities between ambitious biracial attorneys who are now both historic “firsts” on a presidential ticket.
But a much more consequential link between Harris and Obama is the way that both—to avoid being typecast as “too Black”—prioritized white comfort by embracing politics that often neglected, ignored, or straight-up harmed Black folks.
And those efforts to transcend race—in a country where the mere acknowledgement of racism by Black folks is treated as a militant act of rage by white Americans—is an exercise in futility and cowardice. Harris has a chance to learn from Obama’s mistakes and recognize that no amount of support for anti-Black policies will ever do enough to allay white fears of radical Blackness. That there’s no need to try and reason with white supremacy. Just speak the truth instead.