UNITED STATES−On August 11, Joe Biden named his VP pick to be California Senator, Kamala Harris. By August 12, headlines read, Kamala Harris was, “The first African-American”, “The first Asian-American woman”, and at one point, “The first American Indian woman” to be nominated VP.

Senator Harris publicly refers to herself as, “The first woman of color,” to run for Vice President of the U.S.  Vice President, Mike Pence congratulated her on the position during the October 7, VP debate, and Senator Harris thanked him.

It is not clear why news outlets, social media, or Senator Harris find it necessary to use the Senator’s skin color to describe the VP nominee.  In today’s world, the skin tone does not define a person.   Continually pointing out an individual’s race could be construed as a form of racism.

Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California on October 20, 1964, to an Indian immigrant, Shyamala Gopalan, and Donald J. Harris from Jamaica.  Kamala Harris’s father was not a descendant of Africa, and neither is Senator Harris.

Shyamala Gopalan, the mother of the California Senator,  immigrated from India.  She was not a native American but born in India.

A brief search on the history of the first African-American to run for Vice  President brings up another woman in history.  Charlotta Spears-Bass was from a family that truly descended from Africa.

Charlotta Spears-Bass, 1874-1969

Charlotta Spears-Bass was not only the first African-American woman to run for Vice President of the United States, she was the first African American woman to run for any National Office. Bass ran as an Independent in 1952.

For more information on the life and contributions to the civil rights movement of Charlotta Spears-Bass, see the episode of “Unladylike2020,” brought to you by American Masters.