Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has been accused of appropriating a childhood story from the life of Martin Luther King Jr. as her own.
Busted: The anecdote, which Harris shared with Elle magazine in a glowing profile published in October, was flagged as plagiarism on Monday by Maclean’s columnist Andray Domise.
- It quickly became a meme on conservative Twitter as further evidence of Harris’ alleged phoniness and cynical exploitation of race.
Kamala’s story: In the Elle interview, Harris recounted falling out of a stroller at a civil rights march in Oakland, California, and being briefly separated from her parents before her mother recovered her.
- “My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing, and she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’” Harris said. “And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.'”
- The subhead of the Elle article is: “The woman who will become vice president on the fight for justice and freedom she’s been waging since birth.”
King’s story: King, the civil rights icon, in a 1965 interview with Playboy magazine recalled witnessing a similar exchange to Harris’ — but between a “little Negro girl” and a police officer at a demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama.
- “What do you want?’ the policeman asked her gruffly,” according to King, “and the little girl looked him straight in the eye and answered, ‘Fee-dom.'”
Harris has not responded to multiple news outlets’ requests for comment on the coincidence.