In a recent speech, Vice President Kamala Harris compared chattel slavery to the June 24 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to place restrictions on abortion.
Speaking at the 113th NAACP national convention on July 20, Harris said, “We must recognize there are those who are fighting to drag us backward. Extremist so-called leaders who are attempting to undermine our democracy and assault our most fundamental freedoms: the freedom to be safe from gun violence, the freedom to make decisions about our own bodies, and the freedom to vote.”
Harris contended that “our freedoms are all connected,” The Washington Examiner reported.
She added, “You know, NAACP, that our country has a history of claiming ownership over human bodies.”
The Supreme Court on June 24 overturned its 49-year-old ruling in the case known as Roe v. Wade, which had legalized abortion in the entire U.S.
Interestingly, the history of how the Supreme Court once considered Black bodies can be seen in Supreme Court Chief Justice Tanner’s ruling on the Dred Scott case, also known as Dred Scott v. Sandford, in which a Black slave sued for his freedom. Taney wrote in 1857, Black people were “regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights that the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his own benefit.”
Harris, the first woman to be elected vice president and is also the first Black person to hold that office, continued in her NAACP speech, “Think about it: For the first time in generations, the United States Supreme Court — the highest court of our land; the former court of Thurgood Marshall — took away a constitutional right that had been recognized, from the people of America, from the women of America.”
At a briefing later that same day, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she had not seen Harris’s comment, but she still went on to agree with Harris’ statements.
Jean-Pierre said, “She is correct. Today’s decisions are criminalizing doctors and essentially taking the rights away from women, taking the freedom away from women. Really taking away people’s privacy,” CNBC reported.
“That does matter. And that is important,” the spokeswoman said.
Black America had lots to say on Twitter. Many were offended by Harris comparing slavery and abortion rights.
“Neither Kamala Harris nor any other politician would dare compare abortion restrictions or anything else to the Holocaust. But, they are more than willing to disrespect our ancestors and compare it to slavery,” tweeted Bishop Talbert Swan, a prelate of the Church of God in Christ serving as the bishop of the Greater Vermont Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in the U.S.
“I know that talking about race & acknowledging historical facts are now “controversial” & “divisive” topics. But I have to admit, that I was surprised at the reaction to when VP Harris. Maybe the VP is biased. She might be completely wrong, so I check the facts,” tweeted writer Michael Harriot.
Dr. Deborah Jenkins called out Harris and the NAACP. “So, we’re not going to say anything about the VP comparing the SCOTUS abortion ruling to slavery?!I’m offended if other descendants of United States chattel slavery are not. The NAACP should have checked her, so shame in them too!” she tweeted.
Others said Harris had no right to talk about American slavery. Her mother is from India and her father is from Jamaica.
Just the headline is enough to boil my blood. She isn’t an FBA/Freedman in ANY FORM. So, She needs to keep her mouth closed on Chattel Slavery in America. She is NOT a spokeswoman for Blk America nor FBA nor Freedmen. Stay in your lane Copmala,” RoeCity93 tweeted. FBA stands for Foundational Black Americans; these are descendants of Black slaves in the U.S.
Photo: Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the International Conference of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, July 14, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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