Did VP Kamala Harris Pander to an Audience This Month? – Vice President Kamala Harris has been accused many times of offering a fresh plate of “word salad” when she speaks, but it wasn’t what she said at this month’s retirement ceremony for the Reverend Jesse Jackson from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, but rather how she spoke.
Critics of the first African-American VEEP called her out for adopting an accent that does not sound like her own.
The social media account of the Republic National Committee (@RNCResearch) shared a short clip in which Harris could be heard stating, “I said to the congressman, I didn’t know he could preach like that! Ha ha.” As the context was lost, it is unclear if she was mimicking Reverend Jackson and his style of speaking – but she was widely mocked for employing the accent – both online and even from the select mainstream media.
“That’s not how Harris talks. I don’t know what accent she was attempting to mimic, but it’s certainly not her own. It’s fair to assume that this is simply an example of Harris trying to fit in. It’s gross and, quite frankly, racist,” the Washington Examiner suggested.
“Upon taking the stage, Harris began to speak in a voice that she does not normally use. She began to speak in a heavy southern accent, raising the inflection of her voice at the end of each sentence. What has gotten into Kamala?” reported Troy Smith for Rare. “She attended the best law schools in the Country. It’s more than obvious that Harris is playing it up.”
RedState.com’s Jim Thompson also noted that VP Harris is hardly alone in adopting such an accent in an attempt to play to the crowd.
“Then she did what Democrat politicians always seem to do when pandering to a black constituency. Harvard-educated Barack Obama did it. So did the daughter of wealthy, urbane parents Hillary Clinton. There’s a term for it. It’s called code-switching. Politicians use it to appeal to the group they are speaking to. It is the worst sort of pandering. Kamala followed suit, and like Clinton, she isn’t very good at it. Although Harris spent a good deal of her time in Canada as a youth, she dutifully morphed into a Southern Baptist preacher for Reverand [sic] Jesse Jackson,” wrote Thompson.
Not the First Time for Kamala Harris
VP Kamala Harris has been accused of pandering to the audience by adopting a faux accent in the past.
During the run-up to the 2020 presidential race, in November 2019, Kamala Harris was asked about criticism of Pete Buttigieg’s approach to African-American voters at a debate in Georgia. She replied that the candidates seeking the nomination had been taking for granted, “The backbone of the Democratic Party… they show up when it’s, you know, close to election time and show up in a black church and want to get the vote.”
As noted, Harris is not alone in using a faux accent.
Politicians have long put on accents when speaking to an audience as a way to connect with them – even though it comes off as speaking down to them. Such past examples include Hillary Clinton’s southern drawl, Barack Obama’s heavily accented pronunciation of “Puerto Rico,” and infamously Donald Trump’s mockery of Asian accents.
Kamala Harris is just the latest to try to connect and fail miserably.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.