The Jamaican father of Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris said last Friday that his daughter employed a 'fraudulent stereotype' of pot-smoking Jamaicans when she acknowledged last week that she had smoked marijuana during college.
'My dear departed grandmothers ... as well as my deceased parents, must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected, in any way, jokingly or not with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker and in the pursuit of identity politics,' Professor Donald Harris said.
'Speaking for myself and my immediate Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from this travesty.'
Donald Harris is a retired Stanford University professor who has served as an economic consultant to the Government of Jamaica and economic adviser to at least two prime ministers there.
Retired Stanford University economics professor Donald Harris (left) condemned his daughter Sen. Kamala Harris (right) for justifying her pot-smoking days by chuckling in a radio interview that half her family is Jamaican
Sen. Harris is a California lawmaker whose father is Jamaican and mother is Indian; she is one of six Democratic senators running for president
The senator drew criticism for saying in a radio interview that she had smoked pot, because she was a tough-on-crime prosecutor in California who sent hundreds of people, largely black men, to prison on drug charges
His statement to Jamaica Global Online followed Sen. Harris' interview with The Breakfast Club, a New York City hip-hop radio program. She told the hosts that she wants weed legalized and remembers what it felt like to be high.
Mr. Harris complained about his daughter joking about the stereotype that Jamaicans are all marijuana smokers
'I have. And I inhaled. I did inhale. It was a long time ago, but yes. I just broke news!' Harris said,' through a cascade of laughter. 'You know, I joke about it – half joke – but half my family's from Jamaica! Are you kidding me?'
'It was a joint,' Harris recalled, adding: 'I think it gives a lot of people joy, and we need more joy!'
She courted controversy by saying she listened to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur while she was high, after one of the program's hosts placed the episodes during her college years.
Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986 and finished law school in 1989. The two rappers didn't release albums to the public until 1993 and 1991.
By then, she was a prosecutor in the Alameda County, California District Attorney's office. She served in that office for eight years.
Snoop Dogg (left) started releasing records in 1993 and Tupac Shakur (right) in 1991; Harris said she had listened to both shile she was high, suggesting that she was a drug user during her years as a prosecutor from 1990 to 1998
It's unclear if Harris was a marijuana user during her time as a deputy district attorney, while she was cultivating an image as a tough-on-crime crusader who sent hundreds of people to state prison following marijuana-related convictions.
Harris now says she has long been an advocate for states legalizing