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Column: Kamala Harris and the failures of identification politics

India is in disaster.

There have been over 200,000 new circumstances of COVID-19 recorded every day since April 15. The every day case quantity rose to greater than 300,000 only one week later. On Might 1, India recorded over 400,000 new circumstances — a worldwide document. 

1000’s of persons are dying daily; over 200,000 individuals in India are estimated to have misplaced their lives for the reason that pandemic started. The true loss of life toll might be far greater than these official numbers, as native politicians could also be colluding with hospital directors to undercount the variety of useless.

Hospitals are operating out of beds and oxygen, and crematoriums are overwhelmed.

India is dealing with the lethal mixture of a brand new variant of COVID-19, barely existent well being care infrastructure and a ruling authorities that has utterly deserted its accountability towards its residents.

I’m not exaggerating after I say each member of my household who lives there both has COVID-19 or is straight uncovered to it, and nonresident Indians and members of the diaspora are most likely dealing with an analogous state of affairs with their very own households. 

As people, there’s little we will do to assist moreover donating to on-the-ground organizations and incessantly worrying. In conditions like these, we’re imagined to look to our elected leaders for assist — and look we did. We have been met with disappointment.

After over two weeks of radio silence from when this brutal second wave started, the Biden administration lastly introduced that it was delivering $100 million value of provides on April 25. This assist coverage solely took place after sustained strain from advocates and activists.

Moreover, america is presently sitting on tens of thousands and thousands of doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which the Biden administration solely agreed to share with the remainder of the world on April 26. Nevertheless, precisely which nations will likely be receiving these pictures is as but unknown.

All through these tumultuous weeks, Vice President Kamala Harris remained silent — regardless of her household’s Indian roots.

Throughout the 2020 presidential marketing campaign, the Indian diaspora was thrilled to have a half-Indian girl representing us on the second-highest echelon of American politics. Folks have been over the moon to see Harris sporting a sari, making masala dosa with Mindy Kaling and talking Tamil on a nationwide stage.

However apart from an impersonal Tweet after the administration had already introduced it will ship provides, Harris didn’t provide a single phrase of sympathy or make any public statements about this crushing disaster till this previous Saturday, when she mentioned the coronavirus state of affairs in India “is tragic.” 

(That is the “that sucks” of statements.)

This catastrophe exhibits that clearly, identification isn’t sufficient. The flexibility to make masala dosa and communicate Tamil didn’t translate into any pressing want to assist the individuals of India. 

As an American first, Harris clearly has no obligation towards India or every other nation. However as hundreds of individuals have been struggling and dying within the nation she so proudly claimed in the course of the election, her silence throughout this disaster reduce notably deep.


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