The father of Democratic presidential hopeful Kamala Harris said he wanted to “dissociate” himself from his daughter’s “fraudulent stereotype” of attributing her support for smoking pot to her Jamaican heritage.
Last week, on New York’s “The Breakfast Club” radio program, Harris denied opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana use. “That’s not true,” she told co-host Charlamagne Tha God.
“And look, I joke about it — half joking — half my family is from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?” the former prosecutor added.
Harris’ father, Stanford University economics professor emeritus Donald Harris, responded in a statement to Jamaica Global Online, arguing his daughter is trafficking in “identity politics.”
“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,” the professor wrote.
“Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty,” he added.
The Daily Mail reported that Donald Harris has lived in the U.S. since 1960, but has maintained close ties to Jamaica, serving as an economic adviser to at least two of its prime ministers.
He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he met and married Kamala Harris’ mother, Shyamala Gopalan, in the early 1960s. Gopalan emigrated to the U.S. from India.
The couple had Kamala in 1964 and divorced seven years later.
Jamaica Global reported, “(Kamala) Harris tends to downplay her Jamaican heritage when it suits her, crediting her Tamil Indian mother with the most significant influence on her life and outlook and rarely talks about her father’s influence.
“Her father Donald, hardly ever gets credit except when mentioned alongside her mother, but rarely as an individual.”
Harris appeared to be caught in an impossibility during her “Breakfast Club” interview when she claimed to have smoked marijuana in college while listening to music rappers Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur.
Asked if she ever smoked pot, the candidate answered, “I have. And I inhaled. I did inhale. It was a long time ago,” then revealing it was in college.
Harris deflected when asked if she would use now if marijuana was made legal nationally. “I think that it gives a lot of people joy, and we need more joy,” the senator said.
Shortly thereafter, Charlamagne tha God asked, “What were you listening to when you was high? What was on? What song was on?”
Before she answered, co-host DJ Envy (Raashaun Casey) wondered if it was rapper Snoop Dogg.
“Oh yeah, definitely Snoop,” Harris said. “Tupac, for sure.”
Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986 and from law school by 1989.
However, Snoop Dogg’s debut album “Doggystyle” was released in 1993, and Tupac’s first album, “2Pacalypse Now” came out in 1991.
In other words, neither work would have been available when Harris was either a college or law school student.
When the albums did come out, Harris was a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California, where marijuana use was illegal at the time.