Some people can’t stand to see a Black person in power. Birthers, the name given to those who tried to deny former President Barack Obama’s citizenship, are among them. This week the political Twitter trolls were in full swing after the announcement of Senator Kamala Harris as former Vice President Joe Biden’s VP pick.
One of the rumors that have gained traction is that Senator Harris could not succeed Biden because her parent’s birth countries make her ineligible to lead. “If crazy Joe cannot serve his full term, Kamala cannot by constitutional law become President. She is an anchor baby, mother is from India, father is Jamaican, and neither were American citizens at the time of her birth,” the viral post claims, before suggesting a vote for Biden is a vote for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to become president in his absence.
The entire post is false, outside of her parent’s birth countries, but that didn’t stop people from copying and pasting it all across the Internet. For those already skeptical about a Black woman assuming one of the highest ranks of leadership in this nation, the assertion gives them one more reason to go on the attack.
The truth is, on October 20, 1964, Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, not Canada, as birthers have suggested. And though her parents aren’t from this country, her birth in the United States qualifies her as a natural-born U.S. citizen, according to the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment, which states “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Posts from birthers questioning Harris’s eligibility for president began as Biden started to narrow his search for a running mate and have heightened since his official announcement. However, Harris was a candidate for president as recently as December 2019 and was cleared to do so.
Oh—and in the vein of debunking Kamala Harris falsehoods—that post about her being sworn into Congress as an “Indian-American,” but she now plays the “I’m a Black woman” card? That’s a lie. Harris has for years identified as both Black and Indian American. In interviews, she has regularly talked about how her mother, who was from India, raised her as Black. For further proof, check out an ESSENCE feature published in early 2016, roughly three years before the high-profile politician ever ran for president.