Kamala Harris’ father said she disgraced her Jamaican family by using a ‘fraudulent stereotype’ to joke about smoking weed

Sen. Kamala Harris.

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Sen. Kamala Harris.
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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • Sen. Kamala Harris’ father criticized a joke she made referring to her Jamaican heritage in response to a question about marijuana, according to the news website Jamaica Global Online.
  • When Harris was asked on a radio show last week whether she had smoked marijuana, she said jokingly, “Half my family’s from Jamaica – are you kidding me?”
  • Donald Harris, a professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University, said in a statement to Jamaica Global Online that the senator’s grandparents “must be turning in their graves.”
  • Kamala Harris last year said that “making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.”

Sen. Kamala Harris’ father accused her of disgracing her family by using a “fraudulent stereotype” to say that she had obviously smoked marijuana because she is part Jamaican, according to the news website Jamaica Global Online.

Harris was asked on the radio show “The Breakfast Club” on February 11 whether she had ever smoked weed. She jokingly responded, “Half my family’s from Jamaica – are you kidding me?”

She said she smoked a joint in college. “And I did inhale,” she said, laughing. “I just broke news.”

Her father, Donald Harris, a professor emeritus of economics at Stanford University, criticized his daughter in a statement to Jamaica Global Online last week.

“My dear departed grandmothers (whose extraordinary legacy I described in a recent essay on this website), as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics,” he said.

“Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.”

Harris discussed the legalization of marijuana on the

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Harris discussed the legalization of marijuana on the “Breakfast Club” radio show in February.
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YouTube/The Breakfast Club

Donald Harris previously wrote a piece for the outlet called “Reflections of a Jamaican Father” about his family’s history and Kamala Harris’ connections to Jamaica.

“To this day, I continue to retain the deep social awareness and strong sense of identity which that grassroots Jamaican philosophy fed in me,” he wrote. “As a father, I naturally sought to develop the same sensibility in my two daughters. Born and bred in America, Kamala was the first in line to have it planted.”

Kamala Harris’ parents separated when she was young and divorced a few years later, according to Politico. She and her sister were raised by their mother, though their father remained in their lives, the site said.

Harris launched her 2020 presidential bid in January with a rally in her hometown of Oakland, California.

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Harris launched her 2020 presidential bid in January with a rally in her hometown of Oakland, California.
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Katie Canales/Business Insider

Harris, California’s former attorney general, had stayed quiet on whether she supported marijuana legalization until last year, when California legalized recreational use and Harris cosponsored a Senate bill to end the federal prohibition on the drug.

“Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do,” she tweeted in May.

Harris’ campaign told Politico that it had no comment on her father’s statement.