“I eat NO’s for breakfast.” -Vice President of the United States, Kamala D. Harris
It feels right to start Black History Month/28 Days Of Blackness with Madam Vice President. It does! I have lived long enough to have seen a Black man become POTUS, and now a Black woman become VPOTUS. The night that I saw Senator Barack Hussein Obama win the 2008 Election, I was pregnant with my youngest child and broke down in tears. I didn’t believe that I, at 27, would ever live to see a Black president, but I prayed my children would!
That sense of time and mortality is not, was not, is never lost on me. In seeing Senator Harris become Vice President Harris, I cried. I cried again. I tried my hardest to keep it together! But that same feeling I had when President Obama was sworn in, I had again. This elation of having participated in a process that elected both of these people is not lost on me. I also know that Vice President Harris is not perfect, nor should she be expected to be! I cannot imagine what she is going through when the cameras are off, the phone is charging, and she talking to her husband while she wraps her hair at night.
For all that she has fought to get, pressed to achieve, there is still chatter that follows her–and shouts at her from low places as she is on the largest stage she may have ever dreamt of being on. From the Evangelical right that calls her a Jezebel; newspaper articles that didn’t print pictures of her father (although there are many of them); some Black folk thinking that she isn’t ‘Black enough’ and she ‘hijacked’ what constitutes American Blackness for her own ends; she slept her way to the top to become an Attorney General; former Vice President–now President–Joseph R. Biden, Jr. choosing her as his VP Candidate to ‘secure the Black vote’–not because she was capable of being it!
This is what it is like to be a high-achieving, ambitious Black woman in this nation, this republic founded by White men. This is what it is like to deal with sexism and internalized misogyny from Black men whom are either (1) intimidated by your ambition or (2) upset that you have surpassed where they are or thought they could go!
What I wish for Madam Vice President is simple: govern accordingly. Govern fairly. Take all experiences with you and reach those who must be talked to! I want her to be the full expression of what it means to be Black, ambitious and woman. I want her Chucks to never wear out so that she can keep running as far as they will take her. That way, the trail cut behind her is never hidden.
I need Madam President Kamala Harris to continue to eat NO’s for breakfast–to remind us that we ALL can.