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During an interview with BET’s Soledad O’Brien, Vice President Kamala Harris made remarks about rural communities’ inability to make photocopies. Shortly after the VP’s statement became public, she was met with criticism. Following the interview’s publication on July 11, 2021, many Republicans and rural community members took offense because they felt the vice president’s comments made rural communities seem incompetent.
Rural Community Criticism
During a discussion with O’Brien, VP Harris discussed the three hundred and eighty discriminatory voting laws directed towards Black and Brown people. Despite this eye-catching comment, most people were more concerned about the VP’s response to O’Brien’s question about potentially compromising voter ID laws. Harris responded by saying that it is difficult for Americans living in rural communities to photocopy their ID using a copy machine. But, of course, this statement is only a small portion of what the VP actually said:
I don’t think we should underestimate what that could mean,” Harris said, referring to voter ID laws. Because in some people’s minds that means, well, you’re going to have xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. There are a lot of people, especially those who live in rural communities, [where] there is no Kinko’s, there’s no Office Max near them,” Harris said. People have to understand that when we’re talking about voter ID laws be clear about who you have in mind and what would be required of them to prove who they are.
Was the Vice President Condescending?
Despite the criticism drawn from her statement, the VP’s commentary does not suggest any ill-intent. In fact, her statement highlights a larger issue that is often ignored. While everyone should be allowed the equal opportunity to vote, it is no secret that many people are often unable to do so, especially those living below or at the poverty line in rural communities. While some rural communities may have the resources to do things like photocopy, others may not.
As a result, people typically have to take long trips to make a photocopy; this is what Harris was trying to explain. In addition, due to the unequal distribution of resources, many people, especially in rural communities, are left without access to voting polls, grocery stores, etc.
The vice president highlights a systemic issue that largely affects Black Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) voters. However, because of polarized politics, the discussion has spawned into an argument between democrats and republicans. Instead, society should be taking a deeper look into how the unequal distribution of resources affects BIPOC people.
Written by Reginae Echols
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Newsweek: Kamala Harris Slammed For ‘Insulting’ Claim Rural Communities Can’t Photocopy IDs
DailyCaller: Kamala Harris Ridiculed For Comment On Why Rural America Has A Hard Time With Voter ID
Fox News: J.D. Vance mocks Kamala Harris’ ‘ridiculous’ take on rural America: ‘Leave condescension to your staffers’
Featured Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Gilbert Mercier’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License