Senator Kamala Harris was interrupted
TWICE by her white male colleagues.
Demand Senator John McCain & the rest of
the Senate Intel Committee stop trying to
Sen. Kamala Harris was interrupted this week for the SECOND time in a row by Sens. John McCain and Richard Burr--and we need to have her back.
As Sen. Harris bravely took Sessions to task on his refusal to answer the committee's questions, Sen. John McCain, closely followed by Chairman Richard Burr, cut her off telling her to let Sessions "answer the question."1 Feeling emboldened by his GOP friends, Sessions started to lament that he couldn't focus because Sen. Harris was "making [him] nervous."2 And this all comes only ONE WEEK after Sen. Kamala Harris was interrupted by McCain and Burr and told to be "courteous" to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.3
After being called aggressive, bullish and overbearing, Sen. Kamala later tweeted "It was a simple question."4
There is nothing more tired and played out than white men silencing Black women and claiming to feel threatened by them at the same time.Sen. Kamala Harris already carries many burdens as the only Black woman in the Senate--being silenced by white men in public hearings should not be one of them.
Yesterday, Sen. Kamala Harris did a damn good job drilling Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he spent nearly an hour refusing to answer questions during the Senate Intel Committee hearing. Repeatedly, Sessions said that he "did not recall" having meetings he was actually pictured in.5 And kept claiming that some DOJ policy allowed him to flat out refuse to answer many of the questions senators asked. When it was Kamala Harris' turn, she was the only senator with the guts to ask him a straight up : can you point to this supposed policy in writing that allows you to decide you don't want to answer us today ?
And the week before, she simply asked Deputy AG Rosenstein whether he would give full independence to Bob Mueller to run the special counsel. When he started deflecting and beating around the bush she said : "I just need you to answer yes or no" before she was cut off by Burr and McCain.6
Many of the other white male senators were quite aggressive in their questioning, some even going back and forth with Sessions and Rosenstein. Yet, none of the white men were interrupted. Not a single one.
Show John McCain and his white male counterparts just how many people won't stand by and allow Black women to be silenced. Sign the petition.
The "scary" "angry" or "aggressive" Black woman trope isn't just damaging emotionally, it fuels real life economic disparities and places barriers in front of Black women in every facet of society. Kamala Harris is only the SECOND Black woman to ever be elected to the Senate. Black women make 64 cents to every dollar a white man makes.7One in four Black women are uninsured, and the Black maternal mortality rate is three to four times the rate of white women.8 None of this is a coincidence. And it's why when women like Kamala Harris stand strong in the face of these damaging stereotypes, we have to show a groundswell of support.
Sen. Kamala Harris is one of the only senators committed to getting the full truth out of this administration and doing her job of asking the probing questions. Senator John McCain keeps trying to silence her, but she won't give up. And so we can't give up in supporting her and showing her white male colleagues just how many people will not stand by and allow Black women to be silenced.
Until justice is real,
Arisha, Rashad, Scott, Clarise, Anay, Malaya, Enchanta, Katrese, and the rest of the Color Of Change team.
1. "Kamala Harris Once Again Interrupted By Male Colleagues During Senate Hearing," Huffington Post, 06-13-2017
3. "Why Was Kamala Harris Interrupted But Not Her Male Colleagues?" Refinery29, 06-07-2017
4. "Kamala Harris Once Again Interrupted By Male Colleagues During Senate Hearing," Huffington Post, 06-13-2017
5. "Sessions 'I May Have Had Encounter With Kislyak, But Not Meeting,'" Taling Points Memo, 06-13-2017
6. "Why Was Kamala Harris Interrupted But Not Her Male Colleagues?" Refinery29, 06-07-2017
7. "Fact Sheet: The State of African American Women in the United States," Center for American Progress, 11-7-2013
8. "The Black Maternal Mortality Rate in the US is an International Crisis," The Root, 09-30-16