The Other McCain

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‘She Ain’t Us’: How the #ADOS Attack Undermines ‘Phony’ Kamala

Posted on | August 12, 2020 | 1 Comment


Right out of the box, the Trump campaign was ready with a 30-second ad attacking Joe Biden’s VP choice Kamala Harris as “phony,” which shows that someone at Trump HQ has been paying attention to the nuances of African American culture. Because one of the things that caused Harris to lose support in the Democratic primaries was the realization by black voters that, as several have said, “She ain’t us.”

ADOS (American Descendants of Slavery) is a category described by black podcasters Yvette Carnell and Antonio Moore. It refers to the distinction between someone like Barack Obama (whose mother was white and whose father was Kenyan) and someone whose ancestors were enslaved in America. While this distinction may not seem important to most white people, it means a lot to black Americans who have noticed the way in which elite institutions (e.g., Ivy League universities) engage in what might be called substitute tokenism to meet the necessary “diversity” quotas. From the perspective of “diversity” managers, one brown face is the same as the other, but from the perspective of struggling African-Americans, the white system is not doing them any favors by giving scholarships to the children of immigrants merely for the sake of having more brown faces on campus.

As I say, white people don’t generally understand why the ADOS distinction matters, but it expresses a sense among many black people that “diversity” is fraud being perpetrated at the expense of their community — and I don’t disagree with that analysis. Even though I dislike the whole zero-sum-game mentality of identity politics, where everything must be carved up and allotted by quotas of “representation,” if such a racial spoils system is to exist, at least it ought to be internally consistent, and counting the child of foreign immigrants as “African American” for the sake of a racial quota is a swindle.

Kamala Harris’s father is from Jamaica and her mother is from India. How many African Americans have a mother named Shyamala Gopalan? Harris was born while her parents were attending UC-Berkeley; they divorced when she was 7 and she was raised in Quebec, returning to the U.S. for college. So while it is perfectly acceptable to celebrate Harris as an immigrant success story, her status as a “woman of color” does not signify any actual benefit to the African-American community.

Go check out the #ADOS hashtag on Twitter and you’ll discover an extensive discourse on this topic. It’s not coming from Republicans or conservatives, but from black people who feel they are being defrauded by the game of substitute tokenism that Harris represents. So when the Trump campaign runs an ad calling Harris a “phony,” that message is going to resonate with a crucial demographic segment.




One Response to “‘She Ain’t Us’: How the #ADOS Attack Undermines ‘Phony’ Kamala”

  1. Friday Links | 357 Magnum
    August 14th, 2020 @ 10:29 am

    […] The Other McCain – ‘She Ain’t Us’: How the #ADOS Attack Undermines ‘Phony’ Kamala […]