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Social media users misrepresent Kamala Harris’ racial identity

August 12, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Kamala Harris is not Black because she is of Indian and Jamaican descent.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris identifies as both Indian American and Black.

The California senator’s mother was born in India and her father was born in Jamaica. 

The census category for Black or African American, “includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Examples of these groups include, but are not limited to, African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Somali. The category also includes groups such as Ghanaian, South African, Barbadian, Kenyan, Liberian, and Bahamian.”


The census invites Americans to mark more than one box when declaring race, and more than nine million Americans identify with more than one race, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Yet posts on social media have falsely claimed Harris is not Black.

“Sorry folks, we have to say the truth,” reads one post. “Kamala Harris is not a black woman. She is a mix of Indian and Jamaican.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: