Perhaps unlike most people of Jamaican or West Indian descent, I was somewhat conflicted by Biden’s selection of her to be his vice president. During her presidential run, a lot of people focused on her responses to the questions about whether or not she smoked weed in college (and what music she listened to). What put me off about her response was not that she smoked, but that she used the Jamaican part of her heritage as an excuse to lean hard into a stereotype about the island and its people. Her father apparently had a similar reaction.
Even without the bad weed joke, some of my conflict was regret that Colin Powell wasn’t first. I came of age politically at a time when his name was bandied about as a possible vice president and when he thought about running for president himself. As a teenager, I was thrilled at the prospect that someone just like me–right down to both parents immigrating here from Jamaica–would run for president. I even said at the time (and again in a recent family group chat) that I’d have volunteered for a Colin Powell presidential campaign.
Despite my conflict, I wish the Biden-Harris ticket success. They would give this country at least a chance to move toward its stated ideals. And as for the commentary in some quarters regarding how insufferable Howard graduates will be, or AKA sorority sister will be, (or Jamaicans), I welcome that prospect. Jamaica has always punched above its weight culturally. A vice president of Jamaican descent would just be the latest example.