While Wednesday’s vice presidential debate was a welcome relief from the verbal carnage that was the presidential debate, it remains troubling how Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris had to defer and demur because she is a Black woman.
We should be sick of this.
The moderator, USA Today Washington Bureau chief Susan Page, continually allowed Vice President Mike Pence to go over his time limit and unfairly often cut off Harris when Harris tried to do the same, even responding to criticism of her record.
Debate analysts noted that Harris likely felt the need to defer and not express her frustration for fear of looking like an angry Black woman to an audience that still has systemic racism and prejudice in their consciousness.
As a result, the debate was unfair to Harris.
Still, under the circumstances, she did remarkably well, making her points assertively — but not overly so — and directly. She answered more questions directly than Pence, who answered almost none directly. Again, the Black woman had to show respect to the moderator while the white man didn’t.
It’s a double standard we should consider in the context of the debate. If it was a draw, Harris should get extra consideration for the racial barrier she faced.
While analysts pointed out Harris was probably purposely not “creating a moment” because the Biden-Harris ticket is up in the polls by double digits, it’s unfortunate candidates for the highest office have to adhere to such limits in the year 2020.
Women, and Black women especially, are held to a higher standard in American politics than white men. None of us should be proud of that.