By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Nov. 9, 2020: For months since the selection of Kamala Harris by Joe Biden as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate and his running mate, Jamaicans in the US and in the region have been filled with pride, that the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant was thrust into the spotlight.
And they made it known in the just concluded election, campaigning, rallying and voting for her as a “Jamaican sister,” much like a radio ad from the Biden/Harris campaign, claimed. Tens of thousands stood on lines to vote in New York, in New Jersey, Connecticut and in battleground states where it mattered – like Broward County, Florida; Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and De Kalb and Fulton County in Georgia.
On Saturday, when the results of the Nov. 2, 2020 elections were finally called in favor of the Biden/Harris ticket and Democrats, many Jamaicans erupted in joy on social media and joined street parties around the country to celebrate the victory and the end of the Donald Trump era.
Even Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, who was one of a handful of Caribbean leaders to work closely with the Trump administration, tweeted his congratulations early Saturday to the President-elect and Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, while expressing pride that Harris has “Jamaican heritage.”
But by Saturday night, as many tuned in with the rest of the country to watch her inaugural remarks as the first female, first person of color and first daughter of immigrants VP-elect of the United States, disappointment replaced euphoria as Harris choose to only publicly acknowledge her South Asian heritage and her Indian immigrant mother, while blatantly ignoring her Jamaican heritage and her Jamaican immigrant father.
Many took to social media to make their disappointment known.
“Vice President Elect Kamala Harris don’t remember her Jamaica roots, a f….ing shame,” tweeted Sir-Royal iJah Kingston McCarthy as @KhaniQ added: “Still waiting for Kamala to acknowledge her dad and Jamaica roots in this speech …. Face with rolling eyes.”
“Kamala mentioned her husband, her children, her sister, her and her mother from India Flag of India, but no mention of her father from Jamaica,” another twitter user, @Helena55297354, posted.
“We just wondering why she mentioned her South Asian heritage and not her Caribbean heritage,” Garvin Grandison questioned on Facebook.
“She consistently sidesteps her Jamaican Heritage and only uplifts her Indian Heritage,” said Eddie Edwards on Facebook. “She is seen more as a black woman than an Indian woman, more Jamaican than Indian. I campaigned for her, I voted for her, therefore I expect her to big up Yard. … Her words now carry weight and the mere mention of Jamaica in her acceptance speech would have done wonders for my little Jamaica.”
“Since Kamala has not acknowledged Jamaica, and we are killing her, maybe her husband should insist she uses his sir name instead of her Jamaican name,” Andrea Anniegee Graham posted.
“We must not forget that got a lot of vote for her with identity with Jamaica,” Leopold Williams added. “I believe whatever happened in the past he is still her father. She spoke about forgiveness in her speech and I think she should some in this area.”
@_adriangale added: “Kamala didn’t mention her dad or Jamaica. Their relationship must be awful.”
“Sen. Kamala Harris giving her remarks now and again doesn’t mention Jamaica, her father or her Caribbean roots,” tweeted @TheNEWGURU, (Face with raised eyebrow). “None her speeches talk about her Caribbean worst Jamaican roots Rolling on the floor laughing she’s always talking about her mother and India.”
“It’s how Kamala spoke dearly of her Indian mother and never mentioned her Jamaican dad meanwhile Jamaicans out here claiming her,” added @nothanksAsh while @BiancaEnRogue added: “Unnu can mek Kamala gwan, never see her claim not even an ounce of Jamaica yet.”
Taking their cue it seemed from VP-Elect Harris, the mainstream US media began focusing only on her South Asian roots, referring to her as the first “Indian American” Vice President; doing stories on her “Indian” ancestral home, as even Caribbean-American Congresswoman, Yvette Clarke, whose parents are Jamaicans, put out a statement that also ignored Harris’ Caribbean connection by recognizing her only as “the first Black woman and the first Asian woman to hold the second most powerful position in our country.”
This, despite the fact, that Harris had campaigned in Florida, seeking the Caribbean-American vote, and boosted of her “Jamaican” link on Caribbean radio, her love of oxtail stew and knowledge of making it, and how she had every single Bob Marley song.
In fact, back on Oct. 21st, in Orlando, Florida, she stated on a popular Caribbean radio show: “When you look at the Caribbean-American community, it is vast and it is so intertwined and integrated into the fabric of America.”
But on Saturday night, Nov. 7, 2020, Harris’ Jamaican/Caribbean identity was nary a footnote as once more, as she had done at the Democratic convention, she choose to simply ignore it.