As California Senator Kamala Harris becomes more prominent in her bid to become the nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2020 presidential election, a racist “birtherism” campaign is targeting her on social media online. Twitter has been the site of birtherism’s resurgence as Donald Trump Jr. echoes the racist attacks that his father brought against former President Barack Obama. Apparently spread on the internet with the assistance of bots, the attacks claim that Senator Harris is not representative of black people in the United States because her father was born in Jamaica and her mother was born in India. Harris herself was born in Oakland, California. Retweets of the racist material by Trump Jr. were later deleted from his account.
At the same time, Katrina Pierson, former Trump campaign spokesperson, attempted to attack Harris in a different way by suggesting that she is not “African enough” to run for president as a minority candidate. In her tweet, Pierson wrote, “while Obama is actually African-American — Harris is not.” It has been noted that people of African descent have lived in Jamaica for centuries.
The racist attacks began following the Democratic presidential debate in which Harris raised her own experiences as a black child being bused to school in California. Her powerful statement was focused on candidate and former vice president Joe Biden, who had opposed busing and had made other remarks viewed as supportive of racist senators with whom he had served in the past. A person calling himself Ali Alexander, who describes himself as a “black activist,” began the attacks when he issued and video and a tweet stating that Harris cannot represent the American black experience because she had “no ancestors who suffered American Slavery, the Civil War, nor Jim Crow.” Ali Alexander is actually a person who goes by the names of Ali Akbar and Ali Abdul Razaq Akbar, who has been profiled by Politico as becoming increasingly prominent in the Trump orbit.
Additional investigation found that the attacks are being pushed by numerous suspect online accounts stating that “Harris is not black.”
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