Misogynoir and Kamala Harris

Image of Kamala Harris in front of American flag

While legitimate critiques of Harris’ record and political positions are ignored, the Jezebel stereotype of Black women as hypersexual and the “Angry Black woman” myth of Black women as loud and irate, dominate the framing of Harris in the public square.

In a recent study by TIME’S UP Now, researchers found that one-quarter of all reporting on Harris was racist and sexist, with the “Angry Black woman” stereotype used the most. Her Indian heritage is rarely brought up in media and when it is, it is often in ways that affirm her lineage, despite there being legitimate questions about the way caste and colorism may inform her politics. Harris is disparaged because she is a Black woman, not because she is a woman of color. 

In my forthcoming book, Misogynoir Transformed: Black women’s digital resistance (NYU Press), I discuss the ways that Black women are using digital spaces to challenge the way misogynoir informs their lives and health. While mainstream and digital media can focus on Harris’ heritage and gender, Black women and their allies are wielding this same digital media to have more nuanced conversations about Harris as a candidate. With misogynoir clogging mainstream media, Black women have been reluctant and careful in how they bring scrutiny to Harris’s politics. Digital roundtables and webinars like the one held by Black Women Radicals and the African American Policy Forum provide platforms for Black women to engage one another about the substance of Harris’ campaign without the specter of misogynoir.

– Moya Bailey on NYU Press Blog

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