Biden and Harris Remake History Again

First Black woman with Asian heritage to be Biden's Vice Presidential nominee.

Posted Aug 12, 2020

Biden-Harris Campaign
Source: Biden-Harris Campaign

In the selection of Senator Kamala Devi Harris on the Democratic ticket, Joe Biden has made history already.

In the “battle for the soul of the nation,” as Biden has described the 2020 election, former Vice President has chosen wisely and listened to the voice of the people.

Joe Biden, who served under Barack Obama, the first black President, may be instrumental in bringing in the first Black woman of South Asian or Indian heritage into the White House.

As Henry Luce’s first American century stalls to a precipitous halt — with a lackadaisical response to the global pandemic, the rise of China, the resurgence of Russia, and growing inequality and racial strife in the United States – many new immigrants who came to this country after the passage of the Civil Right Act of 1964 and the Immigration Act of 1965 do not have a living memory of the Chicago race riots of 1968 at the DNC Convention, with water hoses and dogs unleashed on Black, Brown, and White civil-rights protesters.

In fact, most recent immigrants and children born after 9/11 do not ever recall Americans being so divided against each other. My mother, who arrived here in the mid-1970s, does not recall such a fractious and dangerous time. But Biden has the long historical view. He knows what is at stake in this election.

 Dinesh Sharma
Sen. Kamala Harris with Anoushka Sharma at DNC 2016
Source: Dinesh Sharma

As the first black woman on the democratic ticket, Harris will be following the legacy of many strong Black women from Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and Diane Nash to Shirley Chisolm.   

As the first graduate of a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) to achieve this honor, she will inspire many childhood dreams in young girls who have the right to dream big dreams.   

As the representative of a growing Asian American and Pacific Islander voter segment (AAPI), the daughter of immigrants, she will blaze the trail for millions of new immigrants and prove the case that America still represents the land of opportunity in the 21st century. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, came from India to U.C. Berkeley to get a Ph.D. in cancer research. Her father, Donald J. Harris, from Jamaica, became an economics professor at Stanford University.

As the third woman to be selected to fill the Vice President's role on a major party ticket, her forerunners include Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. Will Harris be able to break the losing streak of these earlier candidates? Given the current polls, it seems likely.

Furthermore, will she be able to fill the high heels or pump shoes left behind by Hillary Clinton, the only female presidential nominee on the democratic ticket? That remains to be seen.

With less than 85 days to the election, this ticket bodes to remake electoral history, especially on the centennial of the 19th Amendment, when women — half of the population — gained the right to vote.