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Professor Donald Harris Kamala Harris’ Jamaican father, has vigorously dissociated himself from statements made on the New York Breakfast Club radio show earlier this week attributing her support for smoking marijuana to her Jamaican heritage. Professor Harris has issued a statement to jamaicaglobalonline.com in which he declares:

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


“Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”.

Kamala Harris

This is the line that has been repeated over by virtually every news media since Kamala Harris gave that response to the interviewer on New York’s Breakfast Club radio show when asked if she smoked marijuana.

Jamaica’s venerable Gleaner newspaper headlined:

US Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris wants Marijuana Legalized, cites Jamaican roots.  

While the locally based online news source Loop reported:

Kamala Harris cites Jamaican roots in support of ganja legislation.

The Georgia based Macon Telegraph  was less subtle. Its report screamed:

Kamala Harris supports legal pot. “Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?”

Kamala Harris on The Breakfast Club
Kamala Harris on The Breakfast Club

The 2020 presidential hopeful with a Jamaican heritage said she not only smoked but added “I inhale”. Perhaps said jokingly at first in the spirit of the interview, she proceeded to suggest that her Jamaican father’s side of the family would be disappointed in her if she did not support the legalization of marijuana. And that IS a serious statement. Now Harris’ father has come out vigorously dissociating himself from his daughter’s statement.

And well he might. V.G. McGee in a op ed piece published on January 12 in Urbanislandz writes “ Back in 2014 while running for re-election for California attorney general, she wasn’t in support of legalizing recreational use of the plant , but it is good that she has evolved on the issue and we can thank her Jamaican relatives for influencing her changing opinion.” So, the perception created by Ms. Harris’ statement is real and has caused some unease amongst Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora and now, it seems, her father and his Jamaican family. For some, it is more than mere unease; one Jamaican commenting on social media expressed the concern that “soon my job will be singling me out to drug test me since I am from Jamaica. What a stereotype”. Her concern is not unfounded given the experience of Jamaicans travelling to US ports having sniffer dogs around them in customs halls.

The Indian/Jamaican Marijuana connection: Did Kamala Harris deliberately and unfairly stereotype Jamaica as a nation of pot smokers? 

An ironic twist in Ms. Harris’ associating marijuana smoking with her Jamaican heritage that seems to have escaped her as well as media watchers is the fact that it is also very much a part of her Indian heritage that she is so proud of claiming. Is she aware that it was India that bequeathed a marijuana culture to Jamaica? In her authoritative Encyclopedia of Jamaican Heritage (2003) Oliver Senior writes:

         ‘The practice of cultivating, smoking and otherwise consuming the herb (marijuana) is believed to have been popularized by Indian indentured immigrants who began to arrive from 1845. The local name ‘ganja’ is Indian. The concept of ganja as a holy herb is a Hindu one; it is widely used to enhance the religious experience in parts of India (despite government prohibition).

This seeming lack of knowledge about the connection between her Indian and Jamaican heritage provides additional ammunition for some Jamaicans who are of the view that Ms. Harris tends to downplay her Jamaican heritage when it suits her, crediting her Tamil Indian mother with the most significant influence on her life and outlook and rarely talks about her father’s influence. Her father Donald, hardly ever gets credit except when mentioned alongside her mother, but rarely as an individual. Even when asked by her host in the now famous ‘marijuana interview’ about her motivation to enter the presidential race, Ms. Harris referenced ONLY her mother whom she said, raised her and her sister Maya with many beliefs and rules – one being never to sit and complain about something, but to do something about it. Yet, anyone who has read ‘Reflections of a Jamaican Father’ Donald Harris’ heart-warming account of how he raised his two daughters, will immediately realize that there is another side to the Kamala Harris story. In that article Donald Harris writes:

Donald Harris
Professor Donald Harris

         “As a child growing up in Jamaica, I often heard it said by my parents and family friends ‘member whe you come fram’ (remember from where you came). To this day I continue to retain the deep social awareness and strong sense of identity which that grassroots Jamaican philosophy fed in me. As a father, I naturally sought to develop the same sensibility in my two daughters.”  Continuing Harris says:

My message to them was that the sky is the limit on what one can achieve with effort and determination and that in the process, it is important not to lose sight of those who get left behind by social neglect or abuse and lack of access to resources or ‘privilege’.


If Kamala Harris inherits some of ‘that deep social awareness’ and heeds the advice of her Jamaican father, she will make an excellent President of the United States of America.


Read the full article by Donald Harris in:

Article: Kamala Harris’ Jamaican Heritage.

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Joan Samuels McKenzie March 19, 2019 at 4:19 pm

That Breakfast Club performance by Kamala Harris is a disgrace. Laughing and giggling while trashing her Jamaican family and their national identity by tying them to ganja smoking. A public message beamed out to the whole world by every news media, not a private conversation – as if that was just a joke. In fact, it was a nasty stereotype that disparages all of us as Jamaicans here in the diaspora and at home.
This is not only a sign of confusion and naivete, even ignorance, on her part about who she is and her heritage. It also shows clearly how low she is prepared to go in order to pander to her audience to gain political advantage. The contrast couldn’t be sharper, comparing this performance with the dignity and integrity and respect for his origins as shown by her father in the article published on this site.
She has a lot to learn from this incident and, if she does, that should make her a better person and political leader.

Debbie March 16, 2019 at 7:05 pm

I agree with her dad totally. The Jamaica that I know, looks down on marijuana smoking people. I do not know any Jamaicans who smoke marijuana, except the artists, whom I do not know on a personal level, however, we hear of them exalting the drug.

Desi February 25, 2019 at 12:01 am

seeing the bigoted sexist comments on this site makes me happy I don’t live in Jamaica. What a miserable group of puritans you all seem to be. judgemental and mean spirited.

bill February 23, 2019 at 6:31 pm

He forgot ‘conniving slut”. #williebrownmistress

Desi February 24, 2019 at 11:59 pm

your sexism is noted.it’s sad men react this way toward women EVERY TIME a woman runs. you try to slut-shame and view well-accomplished female candidates only by sexual partners. you are a limited minded caveman.

Harry February 23, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Its not the marijuana which embarrasses her father but the identity politics and the lack of honesty. He refers to proud Jamaican forebears, and to my mind makes a fine point.

californiaqueen February 22, 2019 at 1:16 pm

kamala emhoff is 54-years-old. If she hasn’t internalized any of her father’s values by now, it ain’t happening! She is a complete hypocrite … so she smears jamaicans by inferring that they all smoke weed, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME she locked up multitudes of black american men for selling/possessing marijuana in california (ruining their lives forever).
f feel a little bit sorry for donald harris. as a parent myself, i would hate to see one of my children become a soulless, empty-shell, egomaniacal careerist. kinda sad …

bianca February 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm

There already are those who feel she can’t relate to the common person because of her family and her father’s “uppitiness”, now he just confirmed it.

B February 21, 2019 at 3:03 pm

And what about the many Jamaicans who do smoke ganja? Are they terrible people? Should their families be turning over in their grave? A travesty? No, this guy is an old man who probably feels like he is an order of the British Empire and associates weed smoking with poor people, country people or Rastas and the mere fact his daughter would link him to something linking him to “those people” is what bothers him. That says more about her ignorant father and about Kamala when she knows she would have grown up with a father who wouldn’t tolerate that, but she is trying to relate to everyday people. There already are those who feel she can’t relate to the common person because of her family and her father’s “uppitiness”, now he just confirmed it.

Janice February 21, 2019 at 12:18 pm

Why would a father publicly lash out at his daughter? Shame on him. Reminds me of father Merkle. If he did not have anything good to say, keep it in the family and not air in the public, no matter which high horse he rides.

Michele February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am

I can see these comments are mostly non-Jamaicans. You non-Jamaicans can go ply your conspiracy theories elsewhere. Share your thoughts with people who just follow the masses on your Fox News programs. We Jamaicans are not Americans and we don’t think like you. Most Jamaicans are a friendly, open, honest people. We will welcome all to our land and home. But don’t belittle us or disparage us. We support each other, for the most part. But we are honest when we don’t agree with you or when we think you are wrong. We don’t, however, throw the baby out with the bathwater, as most of you making comments here seem to want.

Janeta February 22, 2019 at 9:42 pm

The problem is Jamaicans cannot vote for her. So while you may agree with her, she has to aim for the American voters.

Desi February 25, 2019 at 12:08 am

ok. I was confused and thought a lot of comments on here were Jamaicans but I read a comment expressly disavowing it. Thank goodness! I was so shocked as I always felt Jamaicans were open minded but I understand it’s more fox viewers making these bigoted comments. I am so sorry I confused you good people with American conservatives

Arel February 21, 2019 at 7:57 am

Big Papi said Nah

Cy White February 20, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Do you have an online newsletter?

Jamaica Global February 20, 2019 at 8:45 pm

No, we do not have online newsletter, but you can like our facebook page to receive all our updates.

Linda M. Brown February 21, 2019 at 8:04 am

I feel empathy for professor Donald Harris. Kamala’s response was disturbing and trivial. Her behavior is a bit over the top. Kamala gave Jamaicans a big Ganga smoking Stain. As a USA Senator and former California District Attorney she should be careful with her words. Professor Harris’ Mother Miss Beryl from Inverness, Saint Ann, would be very proud of her granddaughter’s excellent Achievements.. Walk Good and be Blest!
She still has a lot to learn.

John February 20, 2019 at 5:34 pm

“heels up” Harris will do anything to claw her way into power, including writhing on Willie Brown’s root to initially launch her career. Is is a prostitute, plain and simple.

jasmine torres February 20, 2019 at 3:12 pm

she appears primed for the negative rather than the positive

moon February 20, 2019 at 10:51 am

Try to act “cool” and incur the wrath of your father.

Alex Sampson February 20, 2019 at 10:48 am

They should be proud of her for finally coming around. Only thing worse than a prohibitionist Democrat is a Jamaican against cannabis. Bob Marley is an official symbol of Jamaican culture and identity, the association is not arbitrary. ‘Member whe you come fram’ dude…

teachem2think February 20, 2019 at 9:02 am

One ought never assume too much: Miss Harris will NEVER be a President of the United States. Her heroes, Mr. Soetoro and Mrs. Clinton, have tainted that pool to the point whereby it could be declared an EPA Superfund Cleanup Site.

I must admit, though, that Prof. Harris sounds and seems like a very decent man who tried his very best to raise a proper young woman. Ultimately, of course, the father cannot be blamed for his daughter’s arrogant, racist, irresponsible, and subversive politics.

beardawg February 19, 2019 at 11:19 pm

That’s funny. So do we.

Gloria Negro February 19, 2019 at 5:37 pm

Sounds like a sensiable guy….Bet he didn’t whore his way to the top with Willie Browm!

Richard Rail February 19, 2019 at 5:22 pm

“If Kamala Harris inherits some of ‘that deep social awareness’ and heeds the advice of her Jamaican father, she will make an excellent President of the United States of America.”

If she does not – and she appears primed for the negative rather than the positive – she will fail as president just like she did as prosecutor.

Max Conrad February 19, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Kamala would take a dump all over Jamaica if she thought it would buy her a crown. She’s a political prostitute that traded sex for advancement and a born liar.

Shasta February 19, 2019 at 12:07 pm

Obviously Kamala is willing to lie and trash her own family good name in lustful pursuit of power and ego satisfaction. How very shallow this woman is!

She is but a female Corey Booker!

D Cook February 20, 2019 at 10:10 pm

CoreyBooker, mmmmmmm, very well said. COLD Calculating, boastful lie.

jfhdsiu February 19, 2019 at 11:48 am

“as well as my deceased parents”
“Now Harris’ father has come out vigorously dissociating himself from his daughter’s statement.”

Liars lie. Liberals are known proven liars, cheats and thieves so Liberals LIE……… the old deceased geazer sure is VOCAL for a dead guy……..

Katya February 21, 2019 at 9:44 am

Her father said that in his statement.

Meremortal February 18, 2019 at 5:38 pm

This clown exercise is a charade by the party. After this current crop of ‘candidates’ burn themselves out with their idiocy, and Democrat voters are in a panic that all their candidates are no hopers, Michelle (Hillary Clinton on steroids and in blackface) will sweep in and take the nomination.

TB February 17, 2019 at 7:31 pm

Pretty much the reaction I’d expect from most fathers. It’s time they learn that Reefer Madness was propaganda.

BigErn February 18, 2019 at 4:56 am

Kamala’s father may not be against the legalization of marijuana-his statements here are explicitly against stereotypes and political pandering via identity politics. Donald Harris may well have been supportive of his daughter’s statements had she framed the marijuana issue as a needless drug war that unfairly targets certain socioeconomic groups (but considering Kamala’s prosecutorial history, this would also be disingenuous johnny-come-lately garbage).

AK February 21, 2019 at 2:54 am

” disingenuous johnny-come-lately garbage” maybe, but she’s learned there are no consequences to words and actions for one side of the political aisle, as those who report/write the news & history have zero regard for facts, truth and …well, history https://goo.gl/kbL7Sr; https://goo.gl/DBmFWF

Californiaqueen February 22, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Yes, that would be true to form. I actually think that Hillary herself might try to make another appearance. LOL !!


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