It is no longer news that Joe Biden, US Democratic Party candidate has chosen Senator Kamala Harris, the daughter of an Emeritus Professor at Stanford University, as Vice-Presidential candidate.
But Kamala Harris is the news in herself in an age of identity. Her tri-continental identity would, like Obama’s case, keep her in the news whether she gets elected or not. Kamala is heavily African-American. Deeply embedded in African-American culture: attended Howard university—America’s leading historically black college; she’s a member of a black or African American sorority of more than 300,000 members and she’s a member of a black or African American church. The African American dimension of her identity is strong. Then the Indian and the Jamaican/Caribbean roots. And, of course, the American nationality!
Should the Democratic Party win the election, she more than anything else, would explain this phase of the globalisation of the American Presidency. Obama arrived at the White House with multiple traces in him – African, Asian and American. Kamala would be arriving with the gender dimension over and above Obama’s.
The world should make a show of hands in appreciation to the late Tanzanian president, Julius Nyerere who foresaw this though from a different angle but nevertheless in saying we should all be voters in the election of an American president. At the time he said so, he was looking at it from a different concern – the reality of American power and how it affects people far, far away from the US itself. Now, it is that emerging American presidential and Vice-Presidential materials carry identity mix that compels everywhere voters. Look at this case which is circulating on social media already:
Nicolas Ajagu is the son of Dr. Chris Ajagu from Nimo in Anambra State of Nigeria. Ajagu is a top executive with Facebook. He’s married to Meena Harris, niece to Kamala Harris. Meena is a staff attorney with Uber and both of them live at San Francisco. In the cover picture is Kamala Harris with her niece. The baby she is carrying is Amara Ajagu, a product of the marriage.
Can anybody say why the folks from Nimo, then the local government, then Anambra State, then the East and then Nigeria would be stopped from voting for her ala Nyerere?
Under no circumstances can human beings be compared to stocks but the puzzle about who owns the multi-national stock in a globalised world applies here. The puzzle goes like this: A South Korean Stock bought by a Turk in London belongs to which of the countries?” The stock belongs neither to South Korea nor Turkey and certainly not Britain at that stage. Similarly, the question may be asked: An African-American with Carribean and Asian roots or tentacles unfolding as a phenomenon in the US belongs to which culture or civilisation? She belongs to all and to none simultaneously and thus embody in herself the centering and decentering powers of identity.
Well, the US is not like Nigeria in cultural attitudes to people in government. That does not invalidate this joke: In case they win, 9ja don dey near White House!