Senator Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Howard University discussed on 1A

KQED Radio
| KQED Radio


I'm Jen White back, Not our conversation on the making of Senator Kamala Harris, Joe Biden's VP pick. I'm here with Robin Givens, staff writer at The Washington Post, and Cornish, a grant, political science professor at Howard University. Robin. Let's get back to Mike's question about those years in Canada and how they shaped Senator Harris's outlook. Well, I'm not as first in her time in Montreal, but what I can say about that is you know, One of the things that you know she has talked about is the challenge of landing in this new country where she had to learn French. On and that that was a high hurdle for her. And it was also you know, again, an instance in which she wass sort of the odd duck out. She was very much in the minority it wass. She went to a predominantly white school and she was also you know, the American But I do think that, as is often the case with as people who spend some their formative years abroad, it does. It broadens your sense of the world and it broadens you understanding that, you know, the place that you occupy in it is a bit more humble. That one might presume if you spend your time always being in the majority in this, you know, in the thick of it. What's the significance of having the first Hbcu grand on a major political party ticket? Well, I have to say that during my time reporting on her experience at Howard, I got a really sense of the incredible devotion and pride. That the alarm have in their institution. And in many ways, I think what it really speaks to is this philosophy of black excellence. And the reality particularly coming out of Howard, You know, in the late eighties that you didn't necessarily have tio up and the system in order to find success that you could strive and be successful within the system. And you know, it was also a period soon after he threw the first generation of post civil rights kids who whose parents felt that every possibility was open to them. And that it was almost a moral obligation to take advantage off those all of those possibilities on so I think when you see her you you do see some of that sort of Howard swagger and confidence and pride in the way that she carries herself. And you also, I think I see the reflection of being a member of a K, which is sort of bound up in both public service and history on pride in black womanhood. Commissioner. You have as close as we get to a front row seat thes days to the response of Howard University alumni and students. What are you seeing in hearing? Are absolutely over the moon. As I think alumni of all HBC news are we often get questions about whether the hbcu experience is sufficient to send people out into the real world. The quote unquote real world, given that The real world has more racial diversity. And the response that hbcu grads usually give is that the experience there is diverse that there are black people from all different types. Of backgrounds from all different walks of life, and that the education is on par with elite education around the nation in the world. And so we now have a shining example. And I think Hbcu GREss everywhere have been pointing to Senator Harris as a shining example of what can happen coming from an hbcu. Education. I think students are a bit different. I'd be remiss if I didn't miss. If I didn't tell you that. My students have questions that many of them are activists that many of them are progressives and are on the left side of the political spectrum and that they have questions about Senator Harris's record. Of questions about some of the things that happened while she was a prosecutor and attorney general. And so some of them will be presenting those questions, both to her anti vice president Biden as they think about where they want to put their votes. But I think there is still ah, large number of students to who are just very proud. To be associated with Howard University at a time where one of its graduates is making history in the nation. Well yesterday, Senator Harris gave her first speech as Joe Biden's running mate. Here's devoted a good amount of time in her speech, going after the president as you'd expect, but says in her darkest moments this year, she drew inspiration from her parents who took around protest marches in the sixties as a toddler. And those taking to the streets today, all across this country, a whole new generation of Children. Is growing up hearing the cries for justice and the chance of hope. I was raised. Some strapped into strollers of their own. And trust me, It's a song you'll never forget. What can you tell us about the role of black women in politics that helps us understand? Biden's pick of Harris Black women have been very loyal and active participants in the Democratic Party for many years, even when the Democratic Party was not Responsive to black people or two black women, in particular thinking here about Fannie Lou Hamer, who talked about being sick and tired of being sick and tired because she wanted to participate in the Democratic Party convention and was not able to do so fully. And so there's a very long history of black women not only giving their individual votes to the Democratic Party and doing so, in in accountable or ways that we know Democrats count all, but there is also a history of black women doing the organizing. Of black communities. When we think about the black vote as a dependable vote for Democrats, we think about how those things happen is not always because Democrats are doing where the Democratic Party is doing. The work of getting people out often is people in our community and black women in particular. Who are doing the work of organizing black communities. And so I think it's a very, very big deal to see the Democratic Party and Joe Biden, in particular, respond to that long history of work their long history of contribution by putting a black woman on this ticket as the vice presidential nominee. That's Ganesha, grand professor of political science at Howard University, also with us. Robin Givens, staff writer at The Washington Post. Another key point in Kamala Harris. Life is her career beginnings as a prosecutor in California to learn more about that we're bringing another voice into the conversation. California Attorney General Javier Becerra, attorney general, but zero It's great to have you here. Thanks for having me. So what can you tell us about Harris early years as a prosecutor? Well, you have to put it on perspective. She was a pioneer. She was blazing trails. She was not expected to become the district attorney in San Francisco. She took on incumbent she was not expected to win her raised for attorney general. I mean, all the way through that campaign, I recall Republicans expected that the district attorney from Los Angeles Steve Cooley, would be the victor and they were they were getting ready to take over that city and all of a sudden Come on, Harris..

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