With Kamala Harris taking the stage Wednesday to deliver her speech accepting the vice presidential nomination, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah decided to delve into one big smear she has faced from Fox News and other conservative pundits since she was announced a week ago: With a mother from India and a father from Jamaica, she’s just not “Black enough.”
After playing a montage of commentators like Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh and Dinesh D’Souza leveling that particular attack against the California senator, Noah said, “You can dissect Kamala Harris’ heritage all you want. But to say she’s not Black?”
“Is she Black enough to get kicked out of a restaurant back in the day in the Jim Crow South?” he asked. “Would she have been Black enough to get redlined? Was she Black enough to be kept out of a whites-only school as a little girl? Then she’s Black!”
The host then offered up a simple test: “You know how you know you’re Black? If you’re dating a white person and before you meet their parents for the first time, they start a sentence with, ‘Hey, listen, so before we head inside…’—you’re Black!”
What’s “especially ironic” about conservative media “trying to exclude” Harris from Blackness, he continued, is that “it’s the reverse of what white America did for centuries” by “defining as many people as Black as possible, whether they wanted it or not.” Following a long explanation of the so-called “one-drop rule,” Noah said, “So yes, it is disgusting that these people are now trying to exclude Kamala Harris from being Black.”
But he also called it a “rite of passage on the road to greatness,” exposing how Wednesday night’s other big DNC speaker faced the exact same thing during his 2008 presidential campaign.
“Your Blackness as a person is never questioned in failure,” Noah explained. “But in success, it gets put under the microscope.” When a Black person commits a crime, he said you never hear Fox News go, “Hold on, this may not be Black-on-Black crime. Maybe it’s half-Indian-on-Black crime.”
“But as soon as Blackness is being considered for excellence and perfection, what has often been considered the domain of whiteness, that’s when white people start questioning someone’s Black credentials,” he added.
Everyone wanted to question Obama’s Blackness when he was running. “But once Obama got into the White House and conservatives didn’t like his policies, he magically transformed into that Blackass homeboy who’s destroying the country,” Noah said. “So I guess that’s the silver lining for you, Kamala. Fox News may be questioning your Blackness now. But best believe, the second you step foot into that White House with Joe Biden and you make a few decisions they don’t like, trust me, you’ll be Black as can be.”
For more, listen to ‘Daily Show’ correspondent Dulcé Sloan on The Last Laugh podcast.