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Senator Kamala Harris: When Women Speak Up & Keep Getting Interrupted

20 Comments

Senator Kamala Harris

You may not be a politics junkie like me, but it would be hard to miss the political theatre that is currently taking place in our Nation’s Capital right now. Hearings investigating Russia’s “alleged” involvement in the 2016 Elections were recently held on the Hill.  Last week, three major security officials testified before Congress. One replay that stands out is when Senator Kamala Harris asks Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein questions about Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his ability to conduct his investigation unimpeded.  As she presses him for a response, first she is “manterrupted” by John McCain. Then she is reprimanded by Chairman Richard Burr for not being courteous.  (insert eye roll)

More Manterruptions

Fast forward to this week and we have another case of a man policing the behavior of Senator Harris. Again it was John McCain who interrupted (or manterrupted) her and attempted to shut her down while questioning Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


Last week, she asked some hard questions and probed for answers when Deputy AG Rosenstein refused to answer. Senator Ron Wyden did the very same thing and received no reprimand from the Committee Chair. Another male colleague, Senator Martin Heinrich was equally aggressive when questioning the Deputy AG and was never interrupted. However, Senator Harris was guilty of speaking while female just doing her job.  Senator Wyden even spoke up for her later with this tweet.

Kamala Harris: She’s Way Better than Average

Before getting into the questions and the response to her time at the mic, it’s worth noting that Senator Harris is the former attorney general for the state of California. She is a graduate of the illustrious historically black university, Howard University. She served California in multiple prosecutor roles before being elected as the first African American female District Attorney in San Francisco.  Harris went on to become the Attorney General for California in 2010.  The point here…Senator Kamala Harris is a former prosecutor, she is not new to this. She is more than capable of questioning a witness. Like, she literally did this for a living, was elected and re-elected several times to serve as a District Attorney and then the AG for California.  So she’s qualified to ask questions at a Senate Hearing and maybe even more qualified than some of her colleagues (read: John McCain after his disastrous questioning last week).

Gender Bias or More Speaking While Female

Let’s not miss what is happening here. Senator Harris is a woman of color. I just wrote a post about gender bias and already we have another real life example to dissect. Without a second thought, her colleagues, male Republican Senators basically tried to shut her down and silence her publically. But Senator Harris handles these attacks very well #likeaboss, I’m pretty sure this is not the first time she has experienced gender bias and it will not be the last.  Male privilege, gender bias, whatever you want to call it, it happens every single day.  Men throw their weight around to assert their power and attempt to silence women like Kamala Harris.  Every day in the workforce, women are fighting for their seat at the table and once they have a seat at the table they must continue to fight to be heard.

Call Senator Richard Burr and tell him that you support Kamala Harris and women like her. We won’t be silenced, when we have a seat at the table we intend to be heard. His number is 202.224.3154.

We see you Senator Kamala Harris! #neverthelessshepersisted

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Aija

Aija is the founder of BossChix Network, a women’s empowerment and lifestyle blog that celebrates women’s professional achievements, community involvement, and family life. BossChix Network also empowers women to overcome challenges and achieve their goals, BossChix Network serves as an outlet for women to connect and collaborate with others who seek to climb the corporate ladder, land roles that prepare them for senior leadership, and live authentically. Aija is a management consultant for a Big Four consultancy firm. She is a certified Project Management Professional and has fourteen years of program and project management experience assisting clients in conquering an array of business challenges. Most recently, she led a team that designed an IT security program and portfolio management processes for a global healthcare company. When she isn’t blogging or working with clients, Aija can be found enjoying the restaurants and museums of her hometown, Washington, D.C.

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20 Comments on "Senator Kamala Harris: When Women Speak Up & Keep Getting Interrupted"

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Christopher Mitchell
Guest

I had no idea, thanks a ton for bringint this to my attention. It’s incredible to learn of people who are muzzled who should have a voice, and those who have a grand-stand audience that never should have.

David Elliott
Guest

I will be curious to see if this is something that will continue and whether they keep interrupting her in particular, or whether they will stop the longer she is in the Senate. Also, I do recall something similar happening to Elizabeth Warren. Both incidents are unfortunate.

Ola
Guest

As a general rule I don’t discuss politics. But I did enjoy reading this post. In every aspect of life there will be some sort of disparity. But we can all look at Miss Harris’ composure under pressure, and learn from it. Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you respond to it.

Niki McNeill
Guest

She is such an amazing example of black excellence! With Michelle Obama out of the public eye, I’m so grateful that younger women have Kamala to look to for an example of professionalism in government.

Natasha
Guest

It can’t be easy to handle the pressure of politics or even just being in the public eye in any way!

aryn
Guest

Good for her, that’s always a tough position to be in

akamatra
Guest

I really don’t know much about your country’s politics and don’t want to get into that. But interrupting a woman when she speaks (or a man for that reason)is rude to say the least. When said woman is of color is totally gender bias and it needs to stop!

Liz
Guest

I think it shows a lot, that she was able to keep her cool. I’m not sure if I would have been able to! What an awesome woman

Tiffany H.
Guest

He was def lying, he couldn’t keep his story straight and often said I don’t recall. I commend her for being in a position where her dominated counter points are White men who basically control the US. Shout out to fellow Howard alumni for the women she has become despite all odds.

Kiwi
Guest

He sounds like he is lying anyways. This is why he doesnt recall she mad him nervous lol!

Elle (cleverlychanging)
Guest
Elle (cleverlychanging)

I’m so impressed with the level of restraint she showed. People think black women are angry, but this is proof that we often hold our tongue.

LaQuisha
Guest

Such an important and necessary conversation. Women have been silenced for decades, but not anymore!

Eva
Guest

That video was hard to watch. I am so glad that she did not waver, and kept on speaking as it was her right. She spoke at our graduation this year. What a phenomenal woman.

Jamila
Guest

This is the first time I’m seeing this and while watching the video, I was getting irritated at the fact that he kept interrupting her, but she remained professional.

Antoinette
Guest

Sen. Harris is a force to be reckoned with. I totally admire her.

Antoinette
Guest

Sen. Harris is a force to be reckoned with. I totally admire her.

Jay Colby
Guest

This is an interesting topic that needs to be discussed more often. In the end women will will and have always played a major role in politics and they won’t change.

Stacie
Guest

This is interesting. I haven’t seen the video until now. She was doing her job and that’s all that matters.

Patranila
Guest

I couldn’t believe that doddering McCain interrupted her questions. I am so over this ‘polite’ mandate when it comes to women. And by the way, she was NOT discourteous.

Ariel
Guest

Yes! I’m slowly turning into a political junkie because honestly, it’s kind of hard not to do. We won’t be silenced and with outspoken women like Kamala pulling up, we’re on the right track.

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