david perdue

Georgia Senator David Perdue Mispronounces Kamala Harris’s Name Because Racism

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Georgia Senator David Perdue spoke at a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia last night, where he mocked vice presidential candidate and fellow senator Kamala Harris. Perdue pretended not to know how to pronounce Harris’s first name, saying “Ka-MA-la, KA-ma-la, Kamala-mala-mala. I don’t know, whatever,” as the crowd laughed along with him. Perdue’s racist, dismissive insult was all too familiar to countless Americans who spent their school years getting made fun of for having an ethnic name.

Perdue is currently in a heated race to defend his senate seat against democratic challenger Jon Ossoff. Ossoff called out Perdue’s behavior as both sexist and racist on Twitter. He also shamed Perdue for parroting Trump’s cruelty and grossness in an appearance on MSNBC’s The ReidOut, where he told Joy Ann Reid, “This kind of vile, race-baiting trash talk is what President Trump has unleashed from sitting Republican members of the Senate.”

Ossoff was backed up by Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is running his own Georgia senate campaign to unseat republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler. Both Warnock and Ossoff are slightly ahead in two of the most contentious senate races in the country.

Perdue’s campaign claimed that the senator “simply mispronounced Senator Harris’s name, and he didn’t mean anything by it.” But it’s not as if he doesn’t know how to pronounce her name. After all, they both serve on the same senate committee. But this is hardly new territory for Perdue, who ran anti-Semitic Facebook ads against Ossoff and Chuck Schumer earlier this year. Ben Fry, Perdue’s campaign manager, took down the ad, calling it “an unfortunate and inadvertent error.”

Perdue’s racist tangent is a craven plea to Trump’s deplorable base. In mispronouncing Harris’s name, he is insinuating that Harris, the first Black and South Asian woman to be the vice presidential nominee of a major party, is somehow “less American”. It’s sexism and racism wrapped in a MAGA bow and delivered by a politician who knows he can’t win on his party’s losing platform.

Nikema Williams, chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, released a statement saying, “Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris’s name is a bigoted and racist tactic straight from President Trump’s handbook, … He owes Georgians an apology for his offensive display.”

Many took to social media to call out Perdue’s blatant racism:

Even Perdue Chicken, a company with zero affiliation with the senator, is facing blowback from angry customers:

There has been an unexpected upside to Perdue’s gross comments. Ossoff’s campaign reported that they had already raised $1 million in campaign funds since Perdue’s racist attack.

(via HuffPost, featured image: Greg Nash – Pool/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.