Vice President Kamala Harris spoke extensively about racism and United States history this week during a television appearance.
Harris appeared on ABC’s “The View,” where she was asked to react to GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s assertion that the U.S. has “never been a racist country.”
“It’s unfortunate that there are some who would deny fact, or overlook it, when in fact, moving toward progress requires that we speak truth,” the vice president told the panel of “The View.”
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Vice President Kamala Harris arrives for the annual King Day at the Dome rally at the State House in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford for the Washington Post)
Harris’s comments are a response to comments made by Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“We’re not a racist country, Brian. We’ve never been a racist country,” Haley, who is of Indian descent, said in an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter. “Our goal is to make sure that today is better than yesterday. Are we perfect? No. But our goal is to always make sure we try and be more perfect every day that we can.”
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She later clarified her comments in a statement to CNN, stating that the U.S. “has always had racism,” but that America “has never been a racist country.”
The former ambassador’s comments sparked a national discussion regarding how Americans should conceptualize the country’s past.
“I think we all would agree that while it is part of our past, and that and we see vestiges of it today, we should also be committed collectively to not letting it define the future of our country,” Harris said on “The View.”
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about the Biden administration’s latest actions to reduce gun violence during a program in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Peter Zay/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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She added, “But we cannot get to a place of progress on the issue of race by denying the existence of racism, by denying the history of racism.”