Since Joe Biden announced his candidacy for the Presidency of the United States, he has urged us to battle the cynicism that threatens the American political system.
A history of incompleteness is absent about those who have struggled to attain an academic and professional level about women who have reasonably affirmed the right to be unhesitant in their efforts to be affirmed in a profound, inextinguishable human right that lies at the core of achievement.
“How do I engage in meaningful dialogue about racial issues? How do I get past my fear? How do I get past my anger? Am I willing to take the risk of speaking up? Can I trust that there will be others to listen and support me? Will it make a difference anyway? Is it worth the effort?”
They say the victors write history. Perhaps that is why our history books tend to be dominated by the “accomplishment” of white men, with bit parts noted in the pages by white women. As a result, there has hardly been any mention of the struggle of black women. In this imperfect union, one of the most persecuted minorities has been hidden in this nation’s closet, and with it, one of history’s most inhumane social policies that savagely promoted male supremacy.
Despite the determination, decision-making, and competence of Senator Harris, she has been denigrated by a member of her own party who now criticizes her for being too “ambitious.” Perhaps former Senator Christopher Dodd’s entitlement has allowed him to wrongly define the senator as being “too ambitious” because of his unconscious cultural incompetence or old fashioned sexist attitude, in preference of a less harsh explanation.
Kamala Harris did not learn about representing the people of the United States from sourcing philosophical text or merely studying diplomatic theorists that developed from determinations of public policymakers or dogmatic workshops. Good leadership develops by understanding the people you serve, respecting their emotions, helping the nation achieve positive goals, and feeling sincere empathy for others.
Senator Harris did not just memorize the Constitution; she was cognizant of the fact that the Constitution protects the guilty as well as the innocent and that the vice president needs to have the vision to be a counselor to the President of the United States of America and not just a useless prop. She knows what legitimate power looks like and how legitimate power is maintained. That is precisely why she stood up to Attorney General, William Barr, and questioned him about his allegiance to the people.
In Barr’s world, politically powerful white men in privileged positions have only reality, while the worldviews of black women are less powerful and are dismissed as inconsequential, even those who are as capable as Senator Harris.
The attorney general’s conception of the nation’s privilege and power allowed by Donald Trump’s entitlement has not been part of the senators her ancestral social environment. Those who were fortunate enough to watch her embark on her career of service immediately attested to her passion and dedication, and there was not a doubt about the ones she has fought for. Her heart never left the community. When she became the Attorney General for the State of California, the community just became larger.
What is the real issue here? Why do we fear powerful black women? Should a qualified candidate like Senator Harris be politically jailed by the thought police marshaled by a conservative society? Should a political ruling class, or perhaps the extreme right, penalize this black female candidate for speaking of things that generate discomfort by those who may be offended by what she has to say, even though such words have been delayed for more than several decades?
Any loss of fair political competition is a perversion of democracy. Black women encounter extraordinary forms of discrimination not adequately addressed by white female rights advocacy organizations and the mainstream feminist agenda. Western societies watched the cultural explosion as the feminist movement that emerged were influenced by them. The women who fought against patriarchy in favor of equal dignity gained rights and improved women’s circumstances, which many white females benefitted from. However, others did not. Historically, feminists have dismissed women of color in favor of a brand of solidarity that centers on the safety and comfort of Caucasian women. The movement failed to recognize different latitudes and margins across the earth, as well as capacities that included the cultural agenda of women of different temporalities and circumstances.
White feminism has argued that gender should trump race and creed since its inception. That rhetoric erases the experiences of women who march to a different drummer.
Kamala’s parents divorced when she was seven; when she and her sister would visit their father in Palo Alto on weekends, the neighbors’ kids were not allowed to play with them because they were black. Those who see her as a potential imposition in the future of America’s political leadership, do her no justice, remain blind from the accumulation of her sacrifices and her multiple dimensions that contribute to America. Her efforts have made her a fierce competitor. As one who has been a victim of marginalization of society, she has been a spokesperson in support of those who have been marginalized as well. Christopher Dodd and even women among the Democratic Party high echelons have sought to impair her as an option for the Vice-presidency. Her experience has earned the senator the irrational wrath of those who disagree with the stance that she is an ambitious woman. Perhaps these same people had better consider ambition an earnest desire for achievement as is not the same fame. Solution-driven thinking, confident with a positive work ethic, and ready to complete the task of Vice-President of America cannot be a bad thing.
Slavery is over, so should the ideas that enslaved and condemned them to sexual assault and servitude. Outspoken and accomplished women of color are still criticized for their desire to achieve and told verbally or figuratively to stay in their place. Determination and labor, in most cases, still means in a white man’s office.
Joe Biden is about to announce who will run on his ticket as his candidate for the vice-presidency. I urge him to remember that one of the final messages of John Lewis, “Though I may not be here with you, urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and to stand up for what you truly believe.”
Truth requires us to be honest with not only others but with ourselves. Often this much honesty is painful for many of us, for it would permit our insecurities to surface, thus opening the floodgate to our vulnerabilities. This position is awkward for most of us when we are in the company of close colleagues. I cannot imagine the difficulty that must follow standing up for the strengths of truth; it is in the company of the entire nation.

Khalilah Sabra, MASJD // @khalilahsabra //

 by the author.




Dr. Khalilah Sabra, LL.M, (@khalilahsabra): Muslim American Doctorate in International Law, Executive Director (MAS Immigrant Justice Center)

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Khalilah Sabra

Khalilah Sabra

Dr. Khalilah Sabra, LL.M, (@khalilahsabra): Muslim American Doctorate in International Law, Executive Director (MAS Immigrant Justice Center)

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