Sen. David Perdue’s racist treatment of Kamala Harris’s name was all too familiar
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) — in an attempt to gin up the crowd at President Donald Trump’s rally in Macon, Georgia, on Friday — took the opportunity to mock Sen. Kamala Harris’s name.
“The most insidious thing that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are trying to perpetrate, and Bernie, and Elizabeth, and KAH-mah-la, or Kah-MAH-la, or KAH-mah-la or Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever,” he said.
It’s a move that was blatantly racist, and one that framed Harris — who is the first Black woman and first South Asian American woman to be a major party vice presidential nominee — as someone who’s different.
A Perdue spokesperson pushed back on this interpretation after the senator received extensive blowback for his actions. “Senator Perdue simply mispronounced Senator Harris’ name, and he didn’t mean anything by it,” said Perdue’s campaign communications director, John Burke, in a tweet.
Perdue’s behavior, however, was all too familiar for many people of color who recognized his attempts to “other” Harris because she has a name that may be less common than his, or more difficult to pronounce. As BuzzFeed News’s Clarissa-Jan Lim reported, Twitter users began using the hashtag #MyNameIs to share their names and the meanings behind them, emphasizing that pronouncing them correctly was simply a “basic form of respect.”
“#MyNameIs is giving me life. Your name is the prayer your parents breathe into you. It is a promise, a hope, and a gift,” wrote NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill. “It should be respected ...
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