Politics - News Analysis

Dinesh D’Souza: Kamala Harris Can’t Claim To Be ‘African-American’

In an appearance on Fox News Tuesday, conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza attacked presumptive vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), saying she “shouldn’t be considered African-American” because her ancestors purportedly owned slaves, Media Matters for America reports.

He had this to say on The Ingraham Angle, according to Joe.My.God:

“What I want to point out is that African — American, in the American context generally means having a direct relationship to the experiences of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and so on. Very interestingly, Kamala Harris’s father, Donald, a Stanford professor, wrote an article in a Jamaican magazine several years ago, claiming, in fact, sort of boasting, that he was descended from the largest slave owner, slave owner in Jamaica, one of the largest slave owners in Jamaica, a fellow named Hamilton Brown.”

He followed that up with:

“The point I want to make and the reason this is interesting is because there’s been this effort in the Democratic Party and on the left to eradicate all connections to the slave plantation. And the point I’m trying to make is that Kamala Harris seems to be descended less from the legacy of, let’s say, Frederick Douglass, than she is from the legacy of the plantation itself,” he added.

D’Souza, convicted of making an illegal donation to a Republican Senate candidate in 2014 and subsequently pardoned by President Trump, hasn’t got his “facts” quite straight here, according to Dan MacGuill, writing for Snopes, a well-sourced and well-respected fact-checking website.

Responding to the question: “Did U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ Ancestor Own Slaves In Jamaica?” MacGuill found that claim to be “unproven.” While her father Donald was born in Jamaica, he met Shyamala Gopalan, an Indian cancer researcher while he was studying for his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. They married and Kamala, California’s future Attorney General, was born in Berkeley in 1964.

In an article for Jamaica Global, Donald Harris wrote:

“My roots go back, within my lifetime to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown, who is on record  as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town).”

He noted his maternal grandmother was of Irish ancestry and that the Harris name came from his grandfather, who was a plantation owner and produce exporter, and MacGuill notes:

“There is no doubt that Hamilton Brown was a prominent plantation owner during the first half of the 19th century, owned slaves, and also advocated against the abolition of slavery and sought to downplay the difficult working and living conditions of slaves in Jamaica.”

But MacGuill also said the website wasn’t able to verify that a line of exists between Kamala Harris’s family and the 19th-century slave owner. And that means “the claim that an ancestor of Sen. Harris owned slaves in Jamaica remains unproven.” He pointed out that Brown had racially mixed grandkids and fathered a daughter with a woman whose name didn’t appear on the baptismal certificate. So that means that in part, Brown’s family tree also descends from an enslaved woman whose name is apparently lost to history. And at any rate, MacGuill said the site will update the information if new evidence is found.

So D’Souza is off the mark here. I’m going to include his Twitter comments below, and including previous nasty tweets he’s posted. Donald Trump wasted little time in calling Kamala Harris “nasty,” but if anyone’s nasty, it’s Dinesh D’Souza.

Here’s what he had to say to the students victimized by the Parkland, Florida, shootings:

His thoughts on Adolf Hitler, who killed thousands of LGBTQ people during his reign of terror:

And finally, D’Souza proved he’s a vile racist.

You can watch him in action in the video below. I’ve included it with a clever Twitter smackdown from Media Matters for America’s Nikki McCann Ramirez.


meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity.


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