Student Reaction to Kamala Harris

Lauren Holm, News Writer

2020 has already been a historic year.  From the coronavirus traveling across the globe to the murder of George Floyd and the protests regarding racial discrimination, no one could predict what would happen during this election. After all of the strong political views and argumentative debates, another historical event happened: Kamala Harris was elected vice president alongside Joe Biden. This marks the first time there has been a female, Black, Indian, and biracial vice president in US history.  

        Electing a woman as vice president breaks barriers created as only men have been elected into the white house. According to the Census Bureau, 50.8% of the U.S. population is female while 49.2% of the population is male. The percentages show us that women make up a larger percentage of the US population, and should therefore be represented.  Although this percentage is almost equal from men to women in the U.S., women have not had equal opportunities in the government. The U.S. has elected presidents and vice presidents to run our country since 1789 and there has never been a woman in office until now. This is one reason, but not the only reason, that this event is important to people at Eagan High School. 

       When I asked about the importance of Kamala Harris being elected vice president to students at our school, I got a variety of answers. One of the prominent answers I received was about her racial background. Kamala is the first Black, Indian, biracial, and minority vice president in US history. This is just the beginning of a more diverse government in America.  Akeela, a 12th grade student at EHS, said, “I find the Kamala Harris election to be especially important because she is not only the first woman vice president elect but also the first person of color to be a Vice President elect. This is important to me personally because I think it is very important to have diversity in politics and I have not seen many women who look like me in places of power.”  Another student in 12th grade shared this opinion saying that, “As an Indian-American girl, it’s really nice to see myself being represented in politics.” Additionally, a student from 9th grade said, “There has never been a woman of color in the position of president or vice president. The views and experiences of women are different then men and I believe she will speak on behalf of women… which will be important when our goal is an equal country and government.”

        Racial background and the fact that Kamala Harris is a woman who was elected as vice president seem to be prominent reasons why this election is important to the students at EHS.  But, another reason that was mentioned in the opinions of students is that they believe that the candidate’s political ideas should be what determines who to vote for instead of a candidate’s race, gender, etc. “The Kamala Harris election is important because she will go down in history as the first Black female vice president. Why that’s important, I don’t know. A person’s race, ethnicity, gender, etc… should not be a contending factor in a person’s election decisions. Those things do not affect a person’s beliefs, ideas, or ability to do something,” Jasmine Rytting, a 9th grade student said. Similarly, a 9th grade responded, “The 2020 presidential election is incredibly important in determining the future of America, and Kamala Harris’s status as the current vice-presidential elect continues to push the narrative that women should be held in the same regard as men. However, when choosing who to elect, I believe it should be solely based on political merits.”

        While these opinions may seem like they are covering everything, there are many more voices to be heard in our school. If you are interested in this topic and student opinions, I encourage you to reach out to others and talk about this important and current event.