Jimmy Failla: Kamala Harris' nomination proves that America has racism on the run

Democrats have refuted the very narrative they’ve been using to divide the electorate since Obama took office

Kamala Harris declared halfway through her historic vice-presidential nomination acceptance speech on Wednesday night that, "there is no vaccine for racism." The bad news is she’s correct. The good news is her nomination is proof our country may not need one.

When Senator Harris was announced as Joe Biden’s running mate it came as a surprise to absolutely no one, except maybe Joe. C’mon man. It’s a joke. But I digress.

In the days leading up to her selection, Harris was described by just about every TV pundit as “the safe choice” and the candidate who would “do no harm” to Biden’s lead in the polls. The print media agreed, with the New York Times calling her selection “safe and energizing” and the Boston Globe declaring it “safe, smart, and historic.”


Which begs the question, how, if America is as racist and misogynistic as the Democrats have been telling us these past four years, how could they themselves consider a woman of color to be a “safe pick” to this population?

Surely, in a country this depraved, Joe Biden would have to be nothing short of a riverboat gambler to roll the dice on someone with her racial background, no?

This is what kids on ‘The Twitter’ would call a ‘self own.’

In characterizing Senator Harris’ selection as a defensive move, the Democrats have refuted the very narrative they’ve been using to divide the electorate since the moment Barack Obama took the oath of office.

This is where it gets personal for me.

When Obama was sworn in as our 44th President on January 20, 2009, I was a New York City cab driver with a two-month-old son at home. I was working 15 hours a day, 6 days a week, and my wife and I were the kind of poor where we couldn’t afford to pay attention.

In characterizing Senator Harris’ selection as a defensive move, the Democrats have refuted the very narrative they’ve been using to divide the electorate since the moment Barack Obama took the oath of office. 

Seriously, you know it’s bad when you’re looking for an ATM that gives out SINGLES.

I had just dropped off a passenger in front of Madison Square Garden who’d spent a crosstown ride screaming about traffic to the point that you’d think I’d personally called up the other 2,000 drivers and told them to meet me on 34th Street.


As she slammed the car door at a rate of speed that shook my organs I heard a roar of applause from the radio that constituted the beginning of the inauguration.

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Sensing the historical significance of the moment, I lit up my "off duty" light and pulled over to listen. Thank the good Lord I did because what followed was an epiphany that changed my life forever.

I didn’t have a ton of hope in my life when President Obama took the oath, nor did I have any change in the ashtray. But as he spoke that day I couldn’t stop thinking, not about what he said, but about what he was.

His election was undeniable proof that anyone really could grow up to be anything in this country.

Think about it.

Here was a kid who was born in 1961 at the very bottom of the economic scale, with an ethnic makeup that generously put his odds of being President at 1 in 160 trillion if we’re being fair. Yet here he was 47 years later addressing the free world as its leader.

We’d always heard “anything is possible in America” but we’d never seen THAT level of anything.

Doing so inspired me to the spectacular possibilities of life in this country in a way that nothing has before or since.

When he concluded I pulled away from the curb with a newfound determination to chase my own little dreams that’s entirely responsible for whatever modest levels of success I enjoy today. (Just imagine how fired up I would've been if I’d voted for the guy!)

On a functional level, the Obama presidency broke my heart because I naively thought it would mark the end of our focus on race in this country.

I wasn’t naive enough to think we had rid the world of racists, but the fact we elected him twice by overwhelming majorities sent a powerful and undeniable message that racism was no longer tolerated anywhere in mainstream society.

Instead, it ushered in an era of identity politics that rarely, if ever, gives our society credit for just how far we’ve come.

All too often during Obama's tenure in the White House, Democrats would mischaracterize valid criticisms as “racist” in an effort to discredit critics. As if people would be fine with a White President dishonestly telling them “if they liked their doctor they could keep their doctor.”

Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal sent nearly $50 billion dollars in cash assets to the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. To critics, the problematic color wasn’t black it was green.

In the months that have followed the horrible, tragic death of George Floyd, we’ve heard countless criticisms of this country for terrible things like slavery and segregation. To be clear, these criticisms are valid but they almost exclusively overlook the fact that no country in the world has done more to end these heinous practices and build a more inclusive society than we have.

Am I saying America is perfect? Of course not. But we’ll never get there if we can’t stop to acknowledge just how far we’ve come.

Here’s a good-faith start: 100 years ago this week, women still didn’t have the right to vote. 60 years ago black people were living segregated lives throughout most of the country.

Yet on Thursday morning, we woke up in an America where a Black woman has not only accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president but she’s done so as the consensus “safe pick.” -- The one who would “do no harm” to her party’s chances of winning.

To which I say good for her and good for all of us.


Kamala Harris may very well become the next vice president of the United States. If she doesn’t it will have a lot more to do with the race she runs than the race she is.

Now that's progress.