Legal Divas of Color: Kamala Harris

Legal Divas of Color: Kamala Harris

So for the last few posts, I focused on historic Legal Divas of Color…now it’s time to talk about TODAY’S Legal Divas, still breaking boundaries!

kamala harris

Kamala Harris is the current Attorney General for the State of California.  She is the FIRST woman of color to hold this position. Born October 20, 1964, she has packed a great deal of accomplishments into her time on Earth thus far.  Her mother is a doctor from India; her father is a Jamaican American economics professor at Stanford University.  A California girl through and through, she was born and raised in Oakland, spending some time in Montreal, Canada.  Ms. Harris completed her undergraduate studies at Howard University, and received her juris doctor from University of California, Hastings School of Law.

In her professional life, she served as the Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County, CA, then became the Managing Attorney for the Career Criminal Unit of the San Francisco DA’s Office. After a short management stint at the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, she was elected to be the District Attorney of San Francisco! Ms. Harris held that post for 7 years and two elections,  until she was elected to the position of Attorney General in 2010. The Los Angeles Daily Journal ranked her as one of the top 100 attorneys in California.

One of the aspects that struck me about Ms. Harris is her anti-death penalty stance.  As the head prosecutor, she has received pressure to seek the death penalty on the criminal cases of several different defendants charged with murder.  She made it very clear that although she was against the death penalty in general, she would review each case individually.  After review, she had opted to seek the penalty life without parole instead of death, mostly because she believes it is a more cost-effective and better punishment option.  She did not bow to pressure, but chose to do what she believed was right.

In between all of this, she authored a book entitled “Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor’s Plan to Make Us Safer“. Ms. Harris was at the forefront in implementing community programs to  address crime and work with the community to reduce recidivism.

Kamala Harris, I thank you for being an ORIGINAL Legal Diva, and being a great role model for me!

kamala 2

Image

Sherman’s March to the Superbowl…

Richard Sherman.

I bet you had no clue who he was before last Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.  I certainly didn’t. I think he would rather be remembered for this….

sherman

than the rant he gave after the game to Erin Andrews of Fox and with reporters in post game interviews.

sherman and erin

In the now infamous rant heard round the world, he insulted receiver Michael Crabtree from the 49ers.

So why is this such a big deal?

Well, as a result of his comments, he received a ton of backlash, some of it racist in content.  The nicest of the tweets and posts  called him a thug, and went downhill from there to include racial slurs. Some even called for him to be shot in the head, calling him a disrespectful (n word).

What???

Here is a reminder that clearly America is not past race.  The bottom line is this.  Did he act inappropriately? This was not a rant at an art gallery opening, or at Wimbledon.  This was football. Plain and simple.  The sport where aggression is rewarded, and the hardest hits put points on the scoreboard.  Why is he expected to act like he is in Sunday service? Other players have said inappropriate things in the moment of victory, why is this somehow an indictment of all people of color?

Newsflash: Richard Sherman graduated from Stanford at the top of his class.  He is highly educated.  He was not raised in the hood. He volunteers his time with needy children.

Take a look at the interview Sherman gave to CNN’s Unguarded. Is this the portrait of a thug? Richard Sherman on CNN

And what about free speech? I thought getting shot for having a different opinion was a premise for repressed countries. Apparently some Americans have the same thought patterns as a dictator. This also brings to mind the Duck Dynasty saga. He said nasty things about gays (that we’re not direct quotes from the Bible FYI), and African Americans (no, we were not happier getting lynched during Jim Crow), and no one tweeted that he should be shot in the head. On the contrary, many people backed his free speech rights. So why is Sherman any different? He didn’t insult Crabtree’s mother. He didn’t burn the flag. The backlash is WAY out of proportion to what he said…and the racist comments are just vile.

Was I thrilled about what he said? No.  But I also was mad that the 49ers lost. If I was a Seahawks fan, I probably would have felt differently about his statements.

Should he have conducted himself better? Of course, there is always room for improvement.  He could have been more gracious in victory. But we can’t expect players to beat each other up on the field, and seconds later, act like they are in a Grey Poupon  commercial.

mustard
“Excuse me sir, do you have any Grey Poupon?”

Regardless, I am still #OmahaOmaha Broncos Nation for Superbowl Sunday. Richard Sherman will be fine, he may even get a bunch of endorsements out of this whole experience.

But it is still disturbing to realize that in 2014, race is very much a factor, and can erupt at any time.

M.