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Posts mislead about how Kamala Harris portrayed her heritage

August 13, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Kamala Harris was sworn into Congress as an “Indian-American,” and now plays the “I’m a black woman” card. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Kamala Harris for years has identified herself as both Black and Indian American. In interviews, she has regularly talked about how her mother, who was from India, raised her as Black. 

THE FACTS: Social media users are falsely suggesting that Harris only recently began identifying as Black. 

The posts claim that in 2017, when she was sworn into the U.S. Senate, she only identified as Indian American. 


That’s not true. 

Harris has for years talked about how she was raised and identifies as Black, before she was announced as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate Tuesday. 

In 2016 when Harris was elected to the Senate, The Associated Press reported, “Harris will enter the chamber as the first Indian woman elected to a Senate seat and the second black woman, following Carol Moseley Braun, who served a single term after being elected in 1992.

In a 2016 interview with the New York Times, ahead of her Senate election, Harris talked about how her mother raised both her and her sister in a Black neighborhood in Berkeley, California. During the 1960s and 1970s. 

“She had two black babies, and she raised them to be two black women,” Harris told the New York Times at the time.  

Harris also attended a historically Black college, Howard University, telling her alma mater’s magazine in 2016 that her time on the campus was “formative” to her development as a Black woman. 


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: