Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKlobuchar addresses reports of staff mistreatment after launching 2020 campaign Klobuchar hits back at Trump: ‘Looking forward to debating you about climate change’ Klobuchar says she will kick off campaign in Wisconsin, alludes to 2016 controversy MORE (D-Calif.), who’s running for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Monday pushed back on criticism she has faced over her black heritage, arguing that people in power are continuing to “sow hate and division.”
In a radio interview on New York City radio station WWPR‘s “The Breakfast Club,” Harris equated the criticism to similar pushback that former President Obama experienced. Her parents are immigrants from India and Jamaica.
When one of the hosts asked her about a meme that is going around saying that Harris is “not African-American, her parents were immigrants” Harris responded that she was “born in Oakland” and lived in the U.S. except for high school years in Canada.
“This is not new to us and so I think that we know what they are trying to do. They are trying to do what has been happening over the last two years, which is powerful voices trying to sow hate and division. We need to recognize when we’re being played,” the 2020 presidential hopeful said in the radio interview.
“I’m black, and I’m proud of being black,” Harris later continued. “I was born black. I will die black, and I’m not going to make excuses for anybody because they don’t understand.”
Harris, the former California attorney general and federal prosecutor, also defended her prosecutorial record regarding incarcerations that has come under fire from some progressives.
The California senator said she regrets “not having done enough,” particularly with reforms for the juvenile justice system. But she touted her work on a re-entry system as well as her record in the Senate calling for an end to the money bail system.
“There’s no question that this system is deeply flawed,” Harris said. “There’s systemic racism in the system.”
During the Monday interview, Harris also acknowledged that she has previously smoked marijuana. She also pushed back on accusations that she didn’t support marijuana legalization.
“That’s not true,” Harris said, adding with a laugh, “Half my family’s from Jamaica, are you kidding me?”