Thursday, March 4, 2021
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Why we hear so little about Kamala Harris’ father, the missing link in her biography

Why we hear so little about Kamala Harris’ father, the missing link in her biography
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Berkeley was a hotbed of radicalism at the time, and they got to know each other at events promoting African-American civil rights.

The couple married in 1963, with Kamala born in 1964 and her sister Maya two years later.

Within eight years they were divorced and living in different cities, the girls staying with their mother.

Donald Harris’ grandmother Iris, pictured with Kamala. Photo by Jamaica Global

The original relationship between father and daughter “came to an abrupt halt in 1972,” Harris wrote in a 2019 article about the family’s Jamaican heritage.

“After a hard-fought custody battle in the family court of Oakland, California,” he said, the judge imposed a settlement based on “the false assumption that fathers cannot handle parenting.”

Nevertheless, he said, “I persisted, never giving up on my love for my children or reneging on my responsibilities as their father.”

That jibed with Fazzari’s impressions. He noted that a scholarly tome Harris published in 1978 – Capital Accumulation and Income Distributionwas dedicated to young Kamala and Maya.

But with her comment to the New Yorker about Donald’s absences after the divorce, Kamala Harris’s niece Meena hinted at more complexities. And Shyamala’s brother, Gopalan Balachandran, told the Times that his sister was so angry after the split she refused even to talk to Donald.

Regardless, the vice president’s family narrative usually diverts at this point into a tale of how a single mother raised two daughters while pursuing an academic career as a breast cancer researcher, which included a stint at McGIll University when Kamala was in high school. The vice president also has a Canadian aunt and uncle, Chinni and Shankar Subash.



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