Opinion | Black Women Have Been Waiting for Kamala Harris Far Too Long

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In fact, research shows that Black women are more likely to support “one of their own” more enthusiastically than voters in other race-gender pairings. Her presence on the ticket could serve as a motivation for voter mobilization and turnout for all African-Americans, and she has the potential for broader appeal to women voters of all races.

Some may view this vice-presidential decision as merely strategic, a play for turnout of African-American voters. I would contend this is the nature of politics, like choosing a vice-presidential candidate because that person lives in a swing state. Ms. Harris was selected through the same vetting process that other candidates have gone through. And what’s more, she is at least as qualified, if not more so, as previous running mates.

As a Black and woman candidate, Ms. Harris can expect substantial scrutiny. There will be some in the Black community who have reservations because of her prosecutorial record. This is particularly true for Black mothers, who may not like her enforcement of truancy laws as the state attorney general in California.

Ms. Harris will also face expectations that Black women politicians have faced: She will be expected to be everything to everyone. Indeed, research on attitudes toward Black women shows that there are expectations and stereotypes often leveraged against them to be more assertive and tough, while also nurturing and caring.

And she will be running in the wake of the loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and against the suggestions that sexism was at least part of the reason for her loss.

If anything, Kamala Harris will run into significant obstacles because of her sex and race. But I suspect she knows that. After all, Black women who get involved in politics learn this very quickly.

Yet like Ms. Harris, they are more patriotic than people imagine because they are up against such challenges. From her days as a child in California to her days at Howard University to her steady rise in politics, Ms. Harris has lived and worked in this legacy and, in many ways, thrived.

Chryl Laird, an assistant professor of political science at Bowdoin, is a co-author of “Steadfast Democrats: How Social Forces Shape Black Political Behavior.

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