TRANSPARENT(s) at their FINEST

Everyone has a story, a testimonial or simply put, an experience that put them in the trajectory that they are in today.  No one is alone.  I’m thankful to capture moments like these.  I’m thankful for the people who hear my story and also oblige to share a bit of their story with me.  A piece of advice to you: never be afraid to share your story, you’d be surprised with how many people share a common story with you.

If you want to be featured as a future TRANSPARENT, email transparency.is.beautiful@gmail.com and we can set up a time for a 5 minute interview on how transparency affects you and your life along with answering some customized interview questions.

From Shirley Chisolm….to now Kamala Harris. The first woman of color, the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for a national office as Vice President by a major party and the 4th woman in U.S. history to be chosen for a presidential ticket.

Our VP-elect Kamala Harris continues to break glass ceilings, defy the odds, and faces continues scrutiny from all corners, even within her own community, YET she continues to persevere. In the words of @masterwilliams:

“Here’s what I do know. Whether you like Kamala or not. The current administration is going to unleash a disgusting and disrespectful attack on her mainly bc she is a black woman. We have to protect her and uplift her as much as possible throughout this campaign.”

Gary, AKA “MasterWilliams”

MasterWilliams was extremely right when he said the current administration will be after her in the most disrespectful and disgusting way. She hasn’t received some welcoming arms even within our community, the Black community, however she continues to strive for transparency even if her quality of work is not accepted by many. Transparency requires resiliency. Transparency requires vulnerability. Transparency also requires acceptance. Acceptance of the unknown, of opinion, and most importantly acceptance of ‘self’. Despite all the scrutiny from all angles, Senator and VP-elect Kamala Harris exudes all these qualities and hopefully her journey either opens people’s eyes, makes her story more relatable, or you learn more about her as a daughter, wife, politician, aunt, sorority sister, and many other titles that she continues to achieve and break in barrier.

The Birther Issue: The first 48 hours after the announcement of Democratic VP selection

We couldn’t even wait a whole 48 hours, let alone 24 where Trump decides to support the idea of the ‘birther’ issue and Kamala not being born in the United States from what he says that was a reliable source. That supposedly she is an ‘anchor baby’, which would disqualify her for her candidacy as Vice President of the United States of America. An anchor baby is defined as a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country which has a birthright citizenship.

Kamala was born in Oakland, CA at Kaiser Permanante Hospital. I guess anyone who has immigrant parents (which is technically everyone except Native Americans), specifically of first-generation US born-citizen descent in the United States has a birther conspiracy when it comes to Trump. In that case, Trump should call himself an anchor baby as well, NO? (Trump’s mother was born in Scotland, UK and emigrated to the United States in the 1930s) Enough with the conspiracies. Yes Kamala is the product of immigrant parents, like MANY, who come to the United States with aspirations of providing a better life for themselves, their future and their families abroad. Kamala’s father, who hails from Jamaica 🇯🇲 and was an Economics professor at Stanford University and a mother who migrated all the way from India 🇮🇳, a biologist who later went to achieve a PhD and continue her work in breast cancer research and endocrinology.  Forget accolades, but Kamala exceeds the criteria to become Vice President let alone hold all her previous political career titles within the United States. It is beyond me that we are revisiting this issue AGAIN with another politician for a high rank that is of color.  Me, myself felt so degraded that my FOREVER president Barack Obama had to publicly show his birth certificate not even to silence the mania, but just to settle some of the huge conspiracy theory.  Not eliminate it.  It simply broke my heart.  But it got to a point that Obama HAD to do it because this conspiracy theory that Trump created had expanded out of control.  Trump allowed it, but unfortunately, America and Trump’s avid supporters wanted this idea to exponentially get out of control.  Kamala, I beg of you, no matter how low these last 70 days are until the election, do not allow this current administration to belittle you that much that a birth certificate has to be displayed.  The harassment and exploitation is ENOUGH.

Is Kamala BLACK enough? Does she even represent her cultures?

You would be surprised that some of the harshest scrutiny has come within her own community. Specifically black people. Social media can be a blessing and a curse in disguise. As I go and visit certain Black celebrities pages on Instagram who are showing their support for Kamala, the people who choose to comment and share their mind have no mercy in how they choose to attack her.

Kamala has said time and time again how she is a PROUD Black and Southeast Asian woman of color.  She doesn’t hold one more superior than the other even though she was primarily raised by her Indian mother, Shyamala Gopalan since the age of 7 when her parents had separated and later on divorced.  She is a proud Indian as she would travel to visit her Indian relatives in India as well as go to Jamaica with her younger sister and father on occasion.  Kamala still gravitated most of her blackness within the community she grew up in, from various parts of California, aside from identifying as Caribbean. Many critics, particularly within the Black community, will comment on Instagram and other platforms saying she is not Black and just an Indian woman.  You don’t realize the damage you create by association.  By that simple statement you are ignoring and wiping away her father’s history let alone her surname, which she still identifies with to this day.  Shame on you.  Then I’ve heard some critics claiming that her father is not a true Jamaican and that he has white blood.  I don’t even like to entertain this negativity but this needs to be addressed.  There was also a conspiracy theory that I saw someone post on Facebook that said her father and/or paternal grandparents come from a lineage that were one of the most famous slaveowners in all of Jamaica.  Like, seriously?!  Do people forget the history of the West Indies countries, South America, and even within Africa such as South Africa, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Gabon, and many others?  Most of these Black critics who even want to question Kamala’s blackness tend to forget that if you even just self-identify as ‘Black’, do you know that your lineage also probably has ‘white blood’ from slaveowners and rape from your generations before you when it comes to this America?  Please stop with the madness.  I will never forget when I went for the first time even to Jamaica and I went to a market to buy some souvenirs for family and friends back home in the states, there was this beautiful shop that looked like the owner was of Nepali or Indian descent.  After thanking her for my items that I bribed down because I bought so much and expensive things that I had to get cleared through customs and then graciously tipping her, I kindly asked where she was from….do you know this sweet elderly woman who externally looked like a Southeast Asian politely cussed me in Patois and told me she was a Jamaican?! That she was born in Jamaica and her parents had migrated to the country in the 1910s via her grandparents (thank God I understand broken English which is very similar to Patois 😂).  That is the BEAUTY of CULTURE. Yes you can try to trace people’s origins originally, but simply remember the first hominid came from West Africa (if you don’t know, please educate yourself or pick up your basic anthropology book).  Even myself who strictly identifies as an African born in Harrisburg, PA by way of two very different stories via mother and father from two different countries in Africa, I can at least say on my dad’s side, I wouldn’t be surprised by looking at my grandfather externally that we don’t have Asian blood.  Igbo people look up your anthropology and history as even the Igbo people have linkage to Asians.  If I had to claim based on my love for the Asian culture as I constantly myself get asked if I have Asian blood in me probably thanks to Grandfather Gabriel, I would either say South Korea or Thailand.  You can see a pic from a blog post of my grandfather here All this to say, Kamala is a child of a Jamaican, a father who can probably sing a Movado, Beenie Man or old school Bob Marley song and the other greats better than you and gracefully cuss you in Patois, Broken or any other language he inhibits just like that market seller did to me in Ochos Rios. Stop with your own personal identification criteria to dictate people within your own community who can actually trace back their roots, especially if they wanted to flee the United States of America.

If its not the Birther issue or how Black Kamala is, then its her own personal preferences of life.  Kamala is a PRODUCT of one of the most respectful historically black college & universities (HBCU), Howard University in Washington, DC.  She’s apart of various organizations both with the Indian community and Black community.  She continuously advocates for South Asian Indian relations such as being a keynote speaker for Pratham USA, co-hosting briefing for SAALT on immigration, along with many other events.  She is a member of noted Black organizations such as the CBC, NAACP, and my illustrious sorority of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  Kamala is for the CULTURE, and even shows she’s an example of her presidential campaign, “For the People”.  When Black critics can’t accept the debating, then they choose to attack her on who she loves as her husband is of white descent, Douglas Emhoff.  To me all this negativity that I constantly see from our people especially aside from the nonsense that we deal with in politics and the current Trump administration just baffles me and is really disheartening when we have bigger bullets to dodge and just keep ourselves alive. At the end of the day, Kamala is UNBOTHERED and if you don’t understand just yet, she is covered.  It takes a VILLAGE and Kamala has multiple villages; from various sectors, creeds, communities, etc.  Those that are apart of those villages will continue to be her backbone even in times of the outmost negativity.  It is what it is.   In the words of the late Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, “OSONDI OWENDI.”  PERIODT.  

Everyone has a past.

The last main thing that I want to address in reference to soror Kamala that can be a roadblock from my perception of the reactions I see on social media within our community and abroad are her reputation with her career.

Anyone can tell you that if you try to debate Kamala, argue, or battle with her, you need to come extremely prepared. Her record in California in her law and political career is being a top ‘Prosecutor-in-Chief’. Many want to only focus on the negative instead of seeing also the positive successes and you just can’t. When you make a cake or bread, if you don’t have a certain amount of yeast or utilize the primary ingredients of the recipe, there is no cake. You have to acknowledge BOTH positive and negative. Not just one side. And yes, Kamala is known for things that do not sit well within our community, such as Kamala’s handling of the second largest non federal prison system when she first became Attorney General of California in 2010, prosecutorial misconduct, and the support of the prison reform ballot initiative that would repeal sentencing laws and parole programs for inmates. Yes Kamala has some negative.

Did anyone choose to also on the positive also? What of her prosecution on human trafficking that happens to be one of the top public issues of today in missing children and adults with exploitation? What of her work with the LGBTQ community that led to SCOTUS having marriage equality legal and her Hate Crimes Unit she created in protection of LGBTQ teens in school for protection towards them and equal prosecution? What of her $1.1. billion settlement for for-profit schools in predatory and unlawful practices? How about how Kamala saved over 84,000 families from losing their homes during the housing crisis?

As far as I’m concerned EVERY politician has a past, both good and bad. You simply cannot please everyone. Politicians are NOT Gods. What pleases one person will not satisfy the other. It’s just that simple. Even your most favored politician that is either not running for the Democratic ticket as President or Vice President has had their downs. So understand the facts and not just opinions or heresays before analyzing for yourself or personally hearing from someone who was affected by a policy that has them on the opposing side. If directly affected, those people/critics are the ones who hold weight in opinion, both good and bad. Hear their story, rationalize with them, empathize with them, and then make your EDUCATED decision. You have to do the research, on YOUR OWN. If you want to debate, productively be in an argument and make a sound decision you need to understand both sides. Monday, August 24th will be the start also of the Republican National Convention. Even if you oppose the Republican side, you must educate and understand their platform just as highly as you would defend an Independent, Democratic or other party for voting.

On the 19th of August (08), Kamala Harris humbly accepted her nomination for the Vice President candidate of the Democratic Party. May we continue to see her transparency and vulnerability that will continue to create historic milestones for the near future. All the best until November 3rd!!!

Sources:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/04/17/shes-a-black-woman-shes-an-indian-american-also-226656

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/16/15808396/kamala-harris-democrat-rising-star-interrupted

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