News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Nov. 16, 2020: On Saturday, Nov. 16, 2020, Hindus around the world celebrated the festival of lights, or Diwali, including hundred of thousands in the Caribbean US Diaspora and the Caribbean region. The New York Times, in a story on US VP-Elect, Kamala Harris, titled: ‘Largely Out of Sight in Washington,’ included a Diwali tweet from the incoming veep, by describing her as “the first occupant of the White House who is of Indian heritage.”
Not a word of her obvious Caribbean heritage. Much like they have done ever since the Democratic ticket of which she is a part won, thanks to the majority of black women voters across the US of which millions are from the Caribbean or are of Caribbean heritage, the blatant snubbing of the Caribbean heritage of Harris continues.
To read the media articles, its almost as if Harris is an immaculate conception, a child conceived only by her Indian mother, hence having only “Indian heritage.”
It is not the first snubbing of Harris’ Caribbean heritage by the Times or other US mainstream media since the election results were called. On Nov. 7th, under an article titled, “Kamala Harris’s ancestral village in India offers prayers for her victory,” the Times again choose to spotlight on the village of Thulasendrapuram, where her maternal grandfather was born more than 100 years ago.
Of course, not a mention of Orange Hill, near Brown’s Town in the north coast parish of St Ann, Jamaica, where her paternal ancestry runs.
The paper again followed up with another article on Nov. 8th, this time headlined: “Joy in India as Biden and Harris Win.” In it, they again focused on the celebration in Thulasendrapuram, in southern India, where “people started stringing firecrackers across the road” in celebration of the win and pouring “into the temple.”
Nothing was reported on the joy among Caribbean immigrants and Caribbean nationals in the Diaspora and the region, including in Jamaica.
But the bias is not limited to just the election victory. It ran back into the months since she was named as the VP candidate by the then Democratic Presidential hopeful, Joe Biden.
On August 13, 2020, the Times was at it again, as under an article titled: “Feeling Seen for the First Time,’ Indian-Americans Cheer Kamala Harris’s Selection,” they wrote that she “became the first Indian-American, South Asian and Asian-American person to be chosen — historic firsts in their own right that many Asian-Americans celebrated.”
Again, nothing of the fact that she is also the first Black, Caribbean-American and Jamaican American also chosen for the post and her choice energized Black Caribbean voters in the US.
But the obvious obsession with Harris’ “Indian” heritage was not done. On August 17, 2020, the Times ran another story titled: “How Kamala Harris’ Family in India Helped Shape Her Values.” It began as follows: “One of Senator Kamala Harris’s brightest childhood memories was walking down the beach hand in hand with her Indian grandfather.”
Forget her Jamaican grandmother. She played no part really and did not exist at all, if one is to follow the New York Times’ biased coverage.
But then came the Oct. 14, 2020 article, titled: Indian-Americans Overwhelmingly Support Joe Biden, New Poll Shows. The article claimed that a survey, by the polling firm YouGov, “found that 72 percent of Indian-American voters planned to vote for Mr. Biden, with just 22 percent planning to go for President Trump.”
Now let’s to the facts of the Nov. 3, 2020. As Edison Exit Poll data found, at least 34 percent of Asians voted for Donald Trump, a 5 percentage points gain with this bloc from 2016, who include Indians.
Drilling down in the Asian-American data, it clearly shows that Indian Americans, as well Filipinos, Koreans and Chinese, all seem to have drifted towards Trump. This means the Times poll cited was dead wrong.
Let’s now take a look at the black votes for the Biden/Harris ticket and include cities and counties where Caribbean voters predominate. Overall, 79 percent of black men and 90 percent of black women, voted for the Democratic ticket.
In states where Biden/Harris won, it was all thanks to black voters in counties in Georgia and Pennsylvania that are black and Caribbean dominant. These include Philadelphia County, which includes Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery and Chester in Pennsylvania, and in counties like Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, DeKalb, and Clarke in Georgia.
In South Florida, where Biden and Harris campaigned for the Caribbean and Haitian vote, it went overwhelmingly to the Democratic ticket, spurred on by the fact that Harris was considered to be a daughter of a Caribbean immigrant.
Many compared her to the late Shirley Chisholm even as some African Americans criticized her as not “Black” enough, but simply Jamaican and Indian.
In South Florida, ads were run on Caribbean and Jamaican radio shows, calling her a proud “Jamaican sister,” even as Harris herself played the Jamaican card by speaking of her Bob Marley music list and scotch bonnet pepper and oxtail. It was those combined “Black” votes that helped Biden and Harris win narrowly over Trump on Nov. 7, 2020, and perhaps secondly, the fact that she is of Indian heritage.
It is time for the New York Times to stop feeding the fake news narrative and report the facts, even if VP-Elect Harris chooses to ignore them and her father.
The fact is that she was chosen for this ticket because of her black race, made possible by her Jamaican father, and because of the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Her Indian heritage was secondary in the overall decision because the pressure was on Biden to choose a Black woman for the spot.
The other fact is that she is of Caribbean AND Indian heritage, not just Indian heritage. And she is the first woman, the first Black woman as well as the first person of Caribbean and Indian heritage to occupy the second highest post in the United States.
Those are the facts New York Times. How about sticking to and reporting those facts, and sparing us the obvious bias in 2020, especially in the #BLM era?