Raised to identify as Black, Harris steps into role as a voice for Asian Americans amid rise in hate incidents

By David Nakamura, The Washington Post |

“When she ran for president, some criticized her for not emphasizing her Indian heritage enough,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, a political scientist at the University of California at Riverside and co-founder of AAPI Data, a polling and research organization. “She generally had not done much to put herself out there, in terms of not talking much about her identity, but that changed under the glare of the presidential race. What you did see once she was tapped to be vice president was an outpouring of enthusiasm among South Asians and among Asian Americans more broadly.”

They also rallied to her defense in the fall after then-Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) mocked the pronunciation of Harris’s first name at a Trump campaign rally — a reminder that despite her pedigree, Harris is subject to the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype so often aimed at Asian Americans. The incident prompted a wave of support from actors Kal Penn, Kumail Nanjiani and Daniel Dae Kim, Olympian Michelle Kwan, and comedian Ken Jeong, who led a social media campaign titled #MyNameIs aimed at mobilizing Georgia voters.