Kamala Harris’ father slams her use of ‘pot-smoking’ Jamaican stereotype

February 21, 2019

Kamala Harris’ father slams her use of ‘pot-smoking’ Jamaican stereotype Image Source: YouTube

Between the sheer number of candidates and the intraparty disputes, those vying for the Democratic spot on the 2020 presidential ballot have their work cut out for them. But one challenger’s task just got a bit harder after receiving criticism from an unlikely source: family.

Donald Harris, Sen. Kamala Harris’ father, who is from Jamaica,  publicly reproached his daughter for her comments connecting her family with the “fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker.”

“Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”

Sen. Harris’ stereotype-perpetuating comments came during a recent interview she gave on the New York Breakfast Club radio show, during which the topic of marijuana legalization came up.

Since announcing her 2020 presidential bid, many have called attention to the fact that Harris has wavered on a number of issues, meaning that we don’t really know where she stands. One of those issues is the legalization of marijuana.

The radio show host asked Harris whether she is against the legalization of marijuana, as some say. “It’s not true,” she replied. “And look, I joke about it – half-joking – half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”

The host followed up by asking if Harris had ever smoked it, to which she replied, “I have.”

Father condemns stereotype

The Jamaican half of Harris’ family, represented by her father (her mother being Indian), did not take too kindly to what he saw as Kamala’s furthering of an untrue stereotype. Donald Harris, a professor of economics emeritus at Stanford University, issued a statement via the Jamaica Global website.

“My dear departed grandmothers (whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics,” he wrote.

Mr. Harris concluded with an attempt to distance himself from what his daughter said. “Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty,” he stated.

Jamaica Global joins in

The website’s author also took part in the criticism. “Perhaps said jokingly at first in the spirit of the interview, she proceeded to suggest that her Jamaican father’s side of the family would be disappointed in her if she did not support the legalization of marijuana,” reported Jamaica Global. “And that IS a serious statement.”

From there the author went on to point out that it was actually India (her mother’s country) that passed the marijuana culture to the Jamaicans. “An ironic twist in Ms. Harris’ associating marijuana smoking with her Jamaican heritage that seems to have escaped her as well as media watchers is the fact that it is also very much a part of her Indian heritage that she is so proud of claiming. Is she aware that it was India that bequeathed a marijuana culture to Jamaica?”

Sen. Harris has yet to respond to her father’s statements.


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Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a JD from the University of Connecticut.