- Kamala Harris “tracks” journalists whom she believes don’t “appreciate her life experience,” per The Atlantic.
- Harris and her team “tend to dismiss reporters,” according to the report.
- She reportedly often cites an incident with a Washington Post reporter’s lack of knowledge about the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
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Vice President Kamala Harris reportedly “tracks” journalists whom she believes do not understand her as an individual, according to a profile published in The Atlantic.
Harris, who in January became the first female, first Black, and first Indian American vice president in American history, has long spoken of her biracial heritage and the way in which it has shaped her life experiences.
In her 2018 autobiography, “The Truths We Hold,” she opens up about the meaning of her name.
“My name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark,” she wrote. “It means ‘lotus flower’, which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flowers rising above the surface while the roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.”
In the book, Harris also described how her mother, the late Shyamala Gopalan, knew that society would perceive her and sibling Maya as Black and instilled confidence in her daughters.
“My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters,” she wrote. “She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women.”
During the 2020 presidential election, when Harris was competing in a crowded multicandidate field which included her now-boss, President Joe Biden, the issue of her background often came up in interviews.
The profile says Harris and her team “tend to dismiss reporters.”
According to the report, the vice president “tracks political players and reporters whom she thinks don’t fully understand her or appreciate her life experience.”
Harris reportedly continues to bring up the January 2019 incident of Washington Post reporter Chelsea Janes, who attended a Washington, DC, book event and drew the ire of the members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. by labeling their signature “skee-wee” as “screeching.”
Harris pledged the sorority while an undergraduate student at Howard University, a historically Black institution of higher learning, and it is a powerful part of her personal identity.
“Members of her Howard sorority are in the room and screeched when she mentioned her time there,” Janes tweeted, before deleting the text. “Did not expect to hear screeches here.”
She quickly apologized: “Guys, I’m so sorry. Had never heard about the Skee Wee call before, but I certainly have now. Meant only to convey enthusiasm in the room!”
According to The Atlantic, requests for Harris to answer questions after events are often “treated as an act of impish aggression.”
“She particularly doesn’t like the word cautious, and aides look out for synonyms too,” the report read. “Careful, guarded, and hesitant don’t go over well. But she continues to retreat behind talking points and platitudes in public, and declines many interview requests and opportunities to speak for herself.”
Harris also sometimes “comes off as so uninteresting that television producers have started to wonder whether spending thousands of dollars to send people on trips with her is worthwhile,” according to The Atlantic.
Cook County, Ill., State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, a friend of Harris, told The Atlantic that the vice president’s demeanor was a “learned reticence.”
“There’s a reality of doing this work as a woman and a Black woman – and it often isn’t talked about a lot publicly -that there’s a presumed resilience around people who are first,” she said. “There is a celebration of what it means to break the ceiling, and not nearly the conversation of what the cuts to your head look like.”