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For Joe Biden, plagiarism has kind of been his thing. His first presidential campaign was doomed by allegations of plagiarism. Not one to learn from his mistakes, his platform, his COVID-19 response plan, and his DNC acceptance speech were all allegedly plagiarized.
Suddenly, his selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate makes more sense. Activist Andray Domise pointed out on Twitter that a story she told Elle Magazine last year just before the election seems awfully similar to a story told by Martin Luther King Jr. about a girl in Birmingham, Alabama.
Let’s take a look and see.
From Elle Magazine, October 6, 2020:
Senator Kamala Harris started her life’s work young. She laughs from her gut, the way you would with family, as she remembers being wheeled through an Oakland, California, civil rights march in a stroller with no straps with her parents and her uncle. At some point, she fell from the stroller (few safety regulations existed for children’s equipment back then), and the adults, caught up in the rapture of protest, just kept on marching. By the time they noticed little Kamala was gone and doubled back, she was understandably upset. “My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing,” Harris says, “and she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.’”
Now, here’s what Martin Luther King Jr. said in January 1965 in an interview with Playboy magazine.
I never will forget a moment in Birmingham when a white policeman accosted a little Negro girl, seven or eight years old, who was walking in a demonstration with her mother. “What do you want?” the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked him straight in the eye and answered, “Fee-dom.” She couldn’t even pronounce it, but she knew. It was beautiful! Many times when I have been in sorely trying situations, the memory of that little one has come into my mind, and has buoyed me.
Eerie coincidence? Maybe. Or just maybe her story is fiction inspired by Martin Luther King’s story about the little girl who said “Fee-dom.”
If so, this would not be the first time Kamala Harris has romanticized her backstory with falsehoods. As PJM’s Tyler O’Neil noted back during the Democratic primaries in 2019, Kamala Harris exaggerated her personal history with busing when she attacked Joe Biden (all but accusing him of being a racist) for his past opposition to racially integrating school via mandated busing. “And there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day, and that little girl was me,” she said. It was a well-rehearsed line that ultimately didn’t win over her party, as her campaign failed months later, but it was seen as a powerful moment in her campaign. She also recently has been accused of lying about celebrating Kwanzaa when she was growing up when it wasn’t even invented until two years after she was born. There is also photographic evidence that her family celebrated Christmas.
So, while I can’t say for sure whether her story was true or whether it was inspired by Martin Luther King’s story, based on her past willingness to exaggerate her personal story, I’m inclined not to give the benefit of the doubt.