A Black Woman Raised In A Terrible Culture

Kamala Harris grew up in a black neighborhood in Berkeley in the 1970s. She must have been exposed to some pretty bad influences. Emily Bazelon in last week's NYT Magazine Profile:

[Harris's mother] brought up her daughters, in the late ’60s and early ’70s, in a black neighborhood in Berkeley, sharing a house with a friend who ran a small preschool. “She had two black babies, and she raised them to be two black women,” Harris says of her mother’s choice of community.

She came through that, ok: 

After attending the historically black Howard University, Harris returned to California for law school at Hastings in San Francisco and went to work at the Alameda County district attorney’s office in Oakland.

It's the Alameda Prosecutor's Office that may have deeply corrupted her soul. Few places on Earth are more effective at destroying the humanity of its residents than prosecutor's offices in black jurisdictions. An example: in child molestation cases (unlike non-sexual child abuse cases), there are frequently no bruises. There is sometimes no evidence at all apart from the testimony of children with less that adult understanding of the line between fact and fiction. Here's her take:

“When I was prosecuting child-­molestation cases, I will tell you, I was as close to a vigilante as you can get."

Being black herself, she found things to criticize about her colleagues ( "I remember saying: ‘Hey, guys, you know what? Members of my family dress that way. I grew up with people who live on that corner.’ ”), but ultimately she was taken in by the soulless influence of her peers.

Harris’s critics also charge that she has failed to take on prosecutorial misconduct — a responsibility that is “core to the attorney general’s job,” Simon says. In 2015, judges called out her office for defending convictions obtained by local prosecutors who inserted a false confession into the transcript of a police interrogation, lied under oath and withheld crucial evidence from the defense. “Talk to the attorney general and make sure she understands the gravity of the situation,” federal appellate Judge Alex Kozinski instructed one of Harris’s deputies in court last year. Harris says that as a career prosecutor, she takes allegations of misconduct very seriously. “My office evaluates each case based on the facts and the evidence,” she told me.

Harris has also been criticized for her response to accusations of misconduct by prosecutors and sheriff’s deputies in Orange County. Two years ago, Scott Sanders, an assistant public defender in Orange County, discovered hidden records showing that sheriff’s deputies in the local jails were placing coveted informants in cells next to inmates who were awaiting trial — and for decades maintaining a secret database about them. The district attorney’s office also appears to have repeatedly failed to disclose evidence from its own files on some informants. Defendants were convicted based on the testimony of informants whose credibility, the secret records showed, prosecutors and the police questioned, unknown to the judge and jury. One informant labeled “unreliable” helped convict a man who was executed in 1998 for a murder he insisted he did not commit. Last March, following the revelations about the database, a judge described the performance of the Orange County district attorney’s office, in the murder case before him, as “sadly deficient” and instructed Harris and her office to take over the case.

Harris could have conducted a far-­reaching inquiry. Instead, she appealed the judge’s order on behalf of Tony Rackauckas, Orange County’s controversial district attorney, while promising a narrower criminal investigation into the case at hand. When I asked about it in January, Harris said, “We’re not walking away.” But John Van de Kamp and Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, have effectively given up on Harris by asking for a federal investigation, in a letter to the Justice Department signed by roughly two dozen former prosecutors, law professors and advocates. “All the parts of the criminal-­justice system failed here, for a very long time,” Chemerinsky says. “As far as I know, she’s not doing anything about it.” In January, Rackauckas invited the Justice Department to investigate, saying there was no evidence of “sensational wrongdoing.”

That's how these people learn to act. They get it from their peers. They don't have morals or a sense of justice, not like most Americans I know. You can call me prejudiced, but I've known too many of them. Fucking prosecutors.

How does she sleep at night, a black women who lets white guys railroad black and Latino defendants in Orange County? The answer is early in the profile. She's black, but she can think of herself as coming from a very different world. 

Stacey Johnson-Batiste, one of Harris’s oldest friends, remembers Shyamala turning ingredients like chicken or okra into either Indian dishes or soul food, depending on the spices she used. The girls sang in a Baptist choir, and every two years, Shyamala took her daughters to India.