Celebrities and politicians joined people of color using the hashtag #MyNameIs on Saturday to support Kamala Harris after a Republican senator from Georgia mispronounced and mocked her name.
On Friday, Sen. David Perdue repeatedly mispronounced Harris' name at a rally for President Donald Trump.
Harris has spent years teaching people how to say her name, releasing videos and correcting people during interviews and talk-show appearances.
A day after a Republican senator from Georgia mispronounced and mocked his colleague Kamala Harris' name, people on social media rallied in her defense.
The hashtag #MyNameIs took over Twitter on Saturday, with celebrities, politicians, and people of color sharing the pronunciations and origins of their names.
Sen. David Perdue is facing backlash for repeatedly mispronouncing Harris' name at a rally for President Donald Trump on Friday in Macon, Georgia. Many people, including Harris' staff members, denounced his mockery of her name as racist.
"But the most insidious thing that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are trying to perpetrate, and Bernie and others with them, kah-MAH-la, KAH-mah-la, kah-MAH-la, Kamala-mala-mala, I don't know, whatever," Perdue said as audience members laughed.
—Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) October 16, 2020
"Well that is incredibly racist," Sabrina Singh, Harris' press secretary, tweeted. She added that Perdue and Harris had been colleagues in the Senate for more than three years and had interacted on the floor on several occasions. The two also serve on the Senate Budget Committee together.
His remarks didn't land with politicians and other people on social media, many of whom described them as disrespectful and deliberate.
—Versha Sharma (@versharma) October 16, 2020
—Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 17, 2020
—Qasim Rashid for Congress (@QasimRashid) October 18, 2020
—Dr. Pritesh Gandhi (@priteshgandhimd) October 17, 2020
—Michelle Kwan (@MichelleWKwan) October 17, 2020
Perdue is up for reelection this November. His Democratic challenger, Jon Ossoff, also slammed the remarks.
"Senator Perdue never would have done this to a male colleague. Or a white colleague. And everyone knows it." Ossoff tweeted.
Perdue's campaign downplayed his remarks. His communications director, John Burke, said the senator "simply mispronounced Senator Harris' name, and he didn't mean anything by it."
Despite Harris' years as a lawmaker and her rise as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, people still mispronounce her name. Harris has spent years teaching people the correct pronunciation, "comma-la."
In 2016, she released a video in which kids went through the wrong pronunciations until one said it correctly.
—Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 24, 2016
During Harris' presidential campaign, pundits and lawmakers continued to mispronounce her name. In an interview with the New York Times last year, Trump pronounced her first name as "kah-MEE-la," and he's pronounced it incorrectly during White House press conferences.
In her 2019 memoir, "The Truths We Hold," Harris again addressed the pronunciation of her first name.
"First, my name is pronounced 'comma-la,' like the punctuation mark," she wrote. "It means 'lotus flower,' which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom."
Harris would become the country's first Black and Indian American vice president if she and Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, are elected this November. She would also become the first woman to be vice president.
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