There is some 2020 drama, as California Democratic Senator Kamala Harris’s father, Donald Harris, has apparently slammed her for invoking Jamaican tropes to argue for marijuana legalization:
“My dear departed grandmothers(whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents , must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics. Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”
This is in response to Harris telling a radio show that “half my family’s from Jamaica! Are you kidding me?” when talking about her past experience smoking marijuana. Now, whether you think it’s an offensive trope that Jamaicans smoke pot or not, there’s probably a bigger point to be made here.
Harris cites her Jamaican heritage in portraying her experience with marijuana as more or less natural, of course she smoked pot — she’s part Jamaican. But if she was so natural with it, why did she oppose marijuana legalization until recently?
In 2014, her Republican opponent for Attorney General Ron Gold supported legalizing marijuana. Harris didn’t — she even laughed in the face of someone who asked her about it.
Now, she has come out for legalization and portrays it as a natural fit. But whatever changed in the meantime, it certainly was not her heritage.