In Kamala, a lesson on why speaking your mind is never a bad idea

Senator Kamala Harris speaks at an event last year. Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has picked her as his running mate, making her the first black, Asian American woman on a presidential ticket in the US.

Photo credit: File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Kamala, 55, becomes the first black woman to be nominated for national office by a major political party. She is also the first person of Indian descent to rise to the position.
  • Kamala’s achievement is not only a testimony of her leadership, but also a signal to young black women that no dream, no office, no accomplishment is too big to achieve.

History was made this week when US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the upcoming November 3 elections.

Kamala, 55, becomes the first black woman to be nominated for national office by a major political party. She is also the first person of Indian descent to rise to the position.

If Joe Biden nails this one, a black woman will be a heartbeat away from the US presidency. Whichever way you look at it, this is a historic moment.

A child of two immigrants — a British Jamaican father and an Indian mother — who both went to the US to pursue studies, Kamala grew up in the ’60s amid racial discrimination, working her way from Howard University to Attorney-General of California, to Senator and now tipped to be the next Vice-President of the United States.

Serious debates

Known for her fast, tactful and intimidating interrogation of President Trump’s nominees appearing before the Senate — an absolute joy to watch, by the way — Kamala announced her bid for presidency last year before ending it in December and later endorsing Biden.

While her selection elicited applause, it has also sparked off serious debates based on her past political and professional decisions. However, we must not forget what her nomination means to the millions of young black women looking up to her.

Kamala’s achievement is not only a testimony of her leadership, but also a signal to young black women that no dream, no office, no accomplishment is too big to achieve.

The possibility of a black woman becoming one the most consequential individuals on the planet in the next less than 90 days is a confirmation of several things, especially to young black women.

Supportive spouse

That is okay to be smart, to know your stuff and to be confident in your capabilities. That you cannot be ‘too ambitious’ because there is no shame in ambition. That it is okay to be opinionated, to speak your mind and let your voice be heard even when they say you are intimidating.

Most importantly — and readers believe me when I observe this — Kamala’s nomination shows that, for successful women like her, it helps to have a supportive spouse.

That the most important decision you will make is your spouse. In this case, we must recognise Douglas Emhoff, Kamala’s husband who was by her side as she accepted her new challenge.

A successful entertainment lawyer in his own right, Emhoff proudly takes on the role of being ‘Mr Kamala’ devoid of the drama and hang-ups of deep-seated insecurities and toxic masculinity.

For a woman of Kamala’s ambitions, when it comes to choosing a spouse, it is either an all-supportive one or no spouse at all.

Meanwhile, I wish Kamala the best in this tough journey and take this early opportunity to chime into the global chant of ‘Yes we Kam! Yes We Kam!”