Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was slammed on social media over the claims that her first civil rights march anecdote from childhood was lifted from Martin Luther King Jr.'s Playboy interview. Harris' childhood incident that she shared with Elle magazine in October 2020 found its way on Twitter after internet sleuths spotted uncanny resemblance with her and King's story.
Elle interviewed Harris ahead of the November 2020 presidential race. In the interview, she recalled attending a civil rights march in Oakland, California, with her parents as a toddler in a stroller.
"At some point, she fell from the stroller ... 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," the magazine stated.
Talking about the incident, Harris told Elle: "My mother tells the story about how I'm fussing. And she's like, 'Baby, what do you want? What do you need?' And I just looked at her and I said, 'Fweedom.'"
More than two months after it was published, the interview found its way on Twitter after user @EngelsFreddie and Andray Domise, contributing editor of Canadian magazine Maclean's, pointed out that Harris' incident resembled King's anecdote from the 1965 Playboy interview.
"I will never 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," King told Playboy at the time. "'What do you want?' the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked at 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."
The tweet went viral with many users agreeing that Harris's account appeared to have been lifted from King's anecdote. Netizens mocked the vice president-elect over the similarities.
"Read this too-perfect Kamala Harris story," former New York Times op-ed writer editor Bari Weiss tweeted. "Then click on this 1965 Alex Haley interview with MLK and search for the word 'fee-dom.'"
This is not the first time that social media users questioned Harris over discrepancies over childhood accounts. In December, the 56-year-old posted a video conveying Kwanzaa wishes to African-Americans. Kwanzaa — a week-long celebration of African-American culture — is observed from December 26 to January 1.
In her video message, Harris said that she had fond memories of the celebration from her childhood. However, several users questioned Harris —born in 1964 —how did "multiple generations" of her family take part in a holiday that African-Americans began observing from 1966.