Even Though I'm Not A Fan Of Kamala Harris – Her Role As Vice President Still Brings Me Hope

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Nia Tipton and Kamala Harris

In less than 24 hours, Kamala Harris will make history as the first Female Vice President.

Kamala Harris will also make history as the first Black and South Asian Vice President.

Harris's win is a monumental one for many communities of color — something that no one something that no one ever expected to happen, including me, a Black woman.

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Watching the last four years, though, and the way the Trump administration spewed hate and bigotry throughout their time in office, reaching such a pivotal moment in history makes me believe in hope again.

Hope for not only the future of America, but for the future of democracy. 

I have faith that the Biden/Harris administration can fix the wrongdoings of Trump, and if not, they will be met with criticism from activists and communities alike, where I’m sure they will listen to the voices of the American people.

But, even though people everywhere are celebrating Kamala Harris’s win, I have to emphasize that I am not celebrating Kamala as a politician.

I have not been her biggest fan, especially when she announced her run for President before bowing out of the campaign in early December of 2019.

And that was the reality for many Black Americans when viewing Kamala Harris.

Many people were critical of her history in politics, especially in her position as attorney general from 2004 to 2011 in San Francisco and then from 2011 to 2017 in the state of California. 

Kamala Harris was regarded as a “top cop” and “progressive prosecutor” in California, much to the dismay of prison abolitionists, and anti-police activists.

I mean, just remember those “Kamala is a cop” memes.

Kamala Harris is known by most Black democratic voters as someone who incarcerated the most people in California, sometimes for crimes that didn’t always require such heavy sentencing.

Many of those crimes fell between marijauana possession, and Kamala Harris had made it quite clear that during her time as attorney general, she was against the use of recreational marijuana.

Then, it was her anti-truancy policy. 

Kamala Harris passed a law making it a criminal misdemeanor for parents to allow their children (kindergarten through eighth grade) to miss more than 10 percent of school days without an excuse. The parents or guardians of truant children could face a $2000 fine or up to one year in jail.

However much good Harris hoped to gain from that policy, it ended by criminalizing some parents whose circumstances were out of their control. 

Harris has since apologized for that policy in a Pod Save America Interview, where she said, "This was never the intention. I regret that that has happened and the thought that anything I did could have led to that."

And I just want to make it clear that I am not holding any of that against her.

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Many of her stances when it came to policing and prisons were done over a decade ago — and she has since shifted some of her views.

But, I am also not going to forget or label Harris as someone who is now much more liberal in her thinking, because at the end of the day she is still a politician — and now, a Vice President.

It’s okay for people to celebrate Kamala Harris's historic win while also criticizing and being rightfully wary of how she will carry her practices into The White House.

Right after the murder of George Floyd, and the rise of of the Defund the Police Movement, Harris was on ABC’s The View as she was asked for her opinion on the movement.

After asked, Harris said the following:

“We have confused the idea that to achieve safety you put more cops on the street instead of understanding to achieve safe and healthy communities, you put more resources into the public education system of those communities, into affordable housing, into home ownership, into access to capital for small businesses, access to health care regardless of how much money people have.”

Many politicians have expressed their distaste for defunding the police, such as Obama, who are instead calling for police reform.

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Even though police reform has only ever been a temporary fix, it's almost like putting a band-aid on a crack —sooner or later, that band-aid will not stick anymore.

Despite all of Kamala Harris's fumbles as attorney general, along with her controversial views, it is still no secret that her win as Vice President gives everyone something to hold on to.

Looking back at not only 2020, but the last four years, historic moments for people of color — especially Black people, have been slim.

We’ve been dealt horrible cards in America, almost as if we are moving backwards in history.

But tomorrow’s inauguration almost feels like that first step towards a different kind of future — especially for Black women.

It’s extremely rewarding to be alive and to witness such a significant moment in history, and I’m hoping it will not be the last.

Here’s to hoping for a Black female president in the future!

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.