Race War: Wikipedia Editors Battle Over Kamala Harris’ Ethnic Identity

August 12th, 2020 12:55 PM

Big Tech companies like Facebook, YouTube, Google, and Twitter treat Wikipedia as the source of truth, particularly when it comes to censoring conservatives. 

But even Wikipedia can’t figure out the truth related to  Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and her race and ethnicity. 

Readers flocked to leftist Wikipedia to argue over her race/ethnicity after she was announced as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s choice for vice president.. The Talk Page displayed an ongoing argument over whether Harris could be identified as “African-American,” “black,” “Indian-American,” “Tamil,” or “Jamaican,” or some combination of those terms. One editor strongly argued that race was a “social construct.” Still another wrote that what mattered the most was Harris’ “self-identification.” Both of these concepts won over physical biology and genealogy. 

The result was leftists arguing over race with other leftists and the content changing repeatedly.

Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced encyclopedia that cannot even identify a person’s ethnicity. But tech companies treat it as the end all source for truth. Facebook uses Wikipedia to describe certain websites like Fox News and Breitbart. YouTube uses Wikipedia to fact-check opposition to climate change. 

Initially, when the page was first created, there was no mention of Harris’ ethnic background. Currently, the page describes Harris as “the first African American and the first Asian American to be chosen as the running mate of a major party's presidential candidate.” Another line further down stated, “Biracial of Indian Tamil and Jamaican descent, Kamala Harris identifies simply as ‘American.’”

Users who change the ethnicity are directed to the Talk Page, where apparently there was a consensus as to her ethnicity. However, on the Talk Page, there is anything but consensus. 

One user said: “She is Afro-Jamaican and Indian, not African-American. She has stated that she identifies as American (not African-American). African-Americans specifically refers to ADOS - African Descendants of Slaves.” On the Talk Page, under “Racial categorisation of Kamala Harris,” users argued. One user wrote: “Identity and ancestry are two different things. Behind OPs [original poster] statement there may be an implication that we are being Amerocentric, and this is an encyclopedia, not an American encyclopedia.”

A Wikipedia senior editor berated those who disagreed that Harris was African American. She said: “By any definition, she is more African-American (in the traditional meaning of the word) than Barak Obama is. So if you are particularly hurting about unloading the monkeys of old-fashioned bias off your backs, go to the Barak Obama page and turn him into a Kenyan-Kansan president with no history of slavery. What is the matter with Wikipedians? If it is not old-fashioned racism, it is the kind that makes Indians (and I don't mean any WP editor) unload their insecurities about being equated with blacks (the Lord forbid).” 

Another senior editor argued that “Race is not a biological category but a social construct. In other words, society, not their pedigree, determines a person's race.”