Double standards

News Editor Maggie Huang ‘21 discusses negative coverage surrounding vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

One of the most significant political moments of 2020 was when democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his running mate for the White House. Senator Kamala Harris was the third woman in history selected to be a major-party vice presidential nominee. Even though this decision has been celebrated by many across the country, it has also been met with abundant criticism.

According to a TIME’S UP Now report, approximately one fourth of the coverage surrounding Senator Harris has included sexist, misogynistic, and racist stereotypes, such as the ‘angry Black woman’ trope. Nearly two-thirds of reports on Senator Harris have mentioned her race and gender compared to only five percent for Vice President Pence. While Senator Harris has been categorized as ‘mean’ and ‘extreme’, Vice President Pence has been depicted as ‘safe’ and ‘experienced’. Other unfavorable coverages on the Senator include racist ‘birther’ conspiracy theories.

While these acts of discrimination have not been surprising, they should not be normalized in our society. Media is a very critical part of our lives today, and labeling women in power with simply oversimplified stereotypes can have a substantial impact on how others view them. These distorted statements regarding women of color are not only false but damaging to such individuals. Allowing for the use of these insensitive terms puts us back in a position where sexism, racism, and misogyny were accepted by society.

As a young woman of color growing up in America, I am sick of the double standards. A society where being ambitious is out of place for a woman but meriting to a man should not be tolerated. The idea of white men holding positions of authority has become so institutionalized that anything other than is denounced by the media. While such diversity in politics should be acknowledged, it also should not overshadow the politician’s professional accomplishments.

As a young woman of color growing up in America, I am sick of the double standards.”

— Maggie Huang '21

As former district attorney of California, Harris fought to secure 25 billion dollars for homeowners during the foreclosure crisis. Harris is also known for her sharp questioning during senate hearings, such as the Supreme Court Confirmation hearing for Justice Brett Kavanaugh. If elected, Harris would continue to support a pro-choice stance on abortion, equal pay, affordable healthcare, immigration reform, expand access to voting, and the Paris Climate Accord.

While many have simply given in to this form of oppression that has been present in our society for all of its history, it is not good enough. A society where politicians belonging to marginalized groups are not met with attacks from the media should not only be feasible in a utopia. This should be the new reality. Although it may take hard work to get rid of such deep-rooted prejudices, it can be achievable through demanding change.