What Is Kamala Harris's Ethnicity?

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What Is Kamala Harris's Ethnicity?
Entertainment And News

It's a pretty big deal that Joe Biden decided to pick Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election, but it's not just a big deal because she's a woman — it's because she's a person of color, too. Though some may disagree with Harris' policies and the way she's voted as a member of the Senate, it's hard to deny the impact she's making and the way she's changing the world by virtue of the barriers she's breaking down, and even if she and Biden don't end up victorious come this November, she's still managed to change the world with her accomplishments. 

But as she steps even more into the spotlight, some people are wonderingL

What is Kamala Harris's ethnicity?

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Where are Kamala Harris' parents from? They're both immigrants.

Though Harris herself was born in Oakland, California, her parents were not. Her father, Donald Harris, was originally born in Jamaica, while her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, came from India. They met after they both traveled to the United States to attend the University of California Berkeley to go to grad school and got involved in the civil rights movement, and little did they know that they'd give birth to a daughter who would work to change the country as well. 

Who is Kamala Harriss' father? Donald Harris is Jamaican.

Donald Harris, a Stanford professor turned economist, comes from St. Ann's Bay in Jamaica. He and Harris's mother got a divorce when she was young, leaving custody of her and Harris' sister, Maya, to their mother.

RELATED: Who Is Kamala Harris' Niece, Meena Harris?

Who is Kamala Harris's mother, Shyamala Harris? She was from India. 

Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who was known for her work In breast cancer research, was from Tamil-Nadu, India, and attended the University of Delhi for undergrad before moving to the U.S. to continue her education. Harris has always spoken about how close she was with her mother and how much she was influenced by her — and continues to be influenced by her in this new chapter of her life and her career. 

Harris said she was raised with her black heritage In mind.

In her book, The Truth We Hold, Harris wrote that her mom wanted her daughters to be raised to be proud to be black women, even though she herself was from India.

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“My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters,” Harris wrote. “She knew that her adopted homeland would see [my sister] Maya and me as black girls, and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women.” 

Kamala Harris also acknowledges her Asian heritage. 

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Harris shared this video about what it meant to her to be the daughter of an Indian immigrant, and what her mother's journey meant to her.

"My mother had the ability to dream anything was possible. Born in India, she came to the United States alone at age 19 with the hope of curing cancer," she shared on Instagram. "This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I’m thinking of her and other members of the AAPI community who overcame obstacles to make the world a better place." 

Kamala Harris defines herself as "American." 

Instead of putting herself in any specific category, Harris said in an interview that she simply defines herself as she chooses to, and doesn't worry about what other people say. 

"When I first ran for office that was one of the things that I struggled with, which is that you are forced through that process to define yourself in a way that you fit neatly into the compartment that other people have created," she said. “My point was: I am who I am. I’m good with it. You might need to figure it out, but I’m fine with it." 

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.

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