Kamala Harris says her name should be pronounced 'Comma-La'; Twitter says 'she can't pronounce her own name'
Photo by AFP

Senator Kamala Devi Harris scripted history when she became the first African-American woman, the first Indian-American and the first Asian-American, to be appointed as running mate by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the November presidential elections.

As the campaign kicked in, Harris posted a video that showed kids explaining how to pronounce her first name correctly. For those unversed, Kamala in Sanskrit means lotus - also India's national flower.

"It's not CAM-EL-UH. It's not KUH-MAHL-UH. It's not KARMEL-UH," the kids said in the video.

Harris then stated that Kamala is pronounced "'comma-la,' like the punctuation mark."

She described the meaning of her name in the preface of her 2019 memoir, "The Truths We Hold," as "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."

This however didn't sit well with a section of Twitter. Many had a field day trolling the US Senator on not being able to pronounce her own name ‘correctly’.

Here are some epic reactions.

Harris was born to two immigrant parents: a Black father and an Indian mother. Her father, Donald Harris, was from Jamaica, and her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a cancer researcher and civil rights activist from Chennai. She, however, defines herself simply as 'American'.

After her parents divorced, Harris was raised primarily by her Hindu single mother. She says that her mother adopted black culture and immersed her two daughters - Kamala and her younger sister Maya - in it. Harris grew up embracing her Indian culture, but living a proudly African American life. She often joined her mother on visits to India.

"My mother understood very well that she was raising two black daughters," she wrote in her autobiography The Truths We Hold. "She knew that her adopted homeland would see Maya and me as black girls and she was determined to make sure we would grow into confident, proud black women." Harris was born in Oakland and grew up in Berkeley. She spent her high school years living in French-speaking Canada - her mother was teaching at McGill University in Montreal.

Her mother told her growing up, "Don't sit around and complain about things, do something," which is what drives Kamala every single day, according to the Biden-Harris joint campaign website.

"The first Black and Indian-American woman to represent California in the United States Senate, Kamala Harris grew up believing in the promise of America and fighting to make sure that promise is fulfilled for all Americans," it says.

She attended college in the US, spending four years at Howard University, which she has described as among the most formative experiences of her life.

After Howard, she went on to earn her law degree at the University of California, Hastings, and began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

She became the top prosecutor for San Francisco in 2003, before being elected the first woman and the first black person to serve as California's attorney general in 2010, the top lawyer in America's most populous state.

In her nearly two terms in office as attorney general, Harris gained a reputation as one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party. She was elected as California's junior US senator in 2017.

Harris has been married to her husband Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer, for the past six years. She is the stepmother of two children, Ella and Cole who are her "endless source of love and pure joy," the website says.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in