Fact Check

Did Kamala Harris Introduce Herself as 'a Woman Sitting at the Table' in a ‘Blue Suit’?

She also introduced herself using "she/her" pronouns.

Published Jul 27, 2022

(Los Angeles - EUA, 09/06/2022) Presidente da República Jair Bolsonaro, durante Sessão Plenária de Abertura da IX Cúpula das Américas..Foto: Alan Santos/PR ( Palácio do Planalto/Wikimedia Commons)
(Los Angeles - EUA, 09/06/2022) Presidente da República Jair Bolsonaro, durante Sessão Plenária de Abertura da IX Cúpula das Américas..Foto: Alan Santos/PR (Image Via Palácio do Planalto/Wikimedia Commons)
Claim:
Vice President Kamala Harris introduced herself at a meeting using “she/her” pronouns and added, “I am a woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit.”
Context

Despite being lampooned by partisan critics as "idiotic," Harris' self-description was consistent with both a commitment to gender inclusivity and best practices for accommodating people who are visually impaired.

Fact Check

A video of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, making her own introduction at a gathering went viral in July 2022, prompting Republicans to mock her for appearing “idiotic.”

Harris stated at the meeting: “I am Kamala Harris.  My pronouns are 'she' and 'her.'  I am a woman sitting at the table wearing a blue suit.”

This video is accurate, though the mockery around it skirted the point of why she introduced herself like that in the first place. Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado tweeted:

Harris was speaking at a roundtable with disability advocates, who were discussing the impact of the Supreme Court's reversal of its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision concerning abortion rights on people with disabilities. According to the meeting transcripts, Harris said: “So, we know that all people with disabilities, of course, in the United States should have full access to reproductive care and the reproductive care they need.  But these abortion restrictions that are being put in place around our country by extremist so-called leaders in various states will have a disproportionate impact on people with disabilities.”

The meeting took place on the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which enshrined the rights of people with disabilities into law.

Harris' self-description is considered a common practice to aid people who are visually impaired. According to the state-run Missouri School for the Blind, there are a number of points of etiquette that are recommended:

Introduce yourself using your name and/or position, especially if you are wearing a name badge containing this information.

Be precise and thorough when you describe people, places or things. Don't leave things out or change a description because you think it is unimportant or unpleasant.

Feel free to use visually descriptive language. Making reference to colors, patterns, designs, and shapes is perfectly acceptable.

A journalist with the 19th News pointed out that some people present at the meeting were  visually impaired: 

We have also previously reported on how the White House website contact form under the Biden administration uses gender-inclusive pronouns. Harris appeared to be promoting such inclusivity when she identified her own pronouns.  

Harris’ introduction was thus in keeping both with a commitment to gender inclusivity and recommended methods for accommodating people with disabilities at gatherings.  

Sources:

“Does the White House Contact Form Now Have Gender-Inclusive Pronouns?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/white-house-inclusive-pronouns/. Accessed 27 July 2022.

"How to Interact with A Person Who Is Visually Impaired." Missouri School for the Blind. https://msb.dese.mo.gov/resources/interacting-with-visually-impaired.html. Accessed 27 July 2022.

“Proclamation on the Anniversary Of The Americans With Disabilities Act.” The White House, 25 July 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/07/25/proclamation-on-the-anniversary-of-the-americans-with-disabilities-act/. Accessed 27 July 2022.

“Remarks by Vice President Harris in a Roundtable with Disability Advocates.” The White House, 26 July 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/07/26/remarks-by-vice-president-harris-in-a-roundtable-with-disability-advocates/. Accessed 27 July 2022.

“Republicans Mock Kamala Harris for Describing Herself to Guests with Disabilities.” The Independent, 27 July 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/kamala-harris-disabilities-mocked-republicans-b2132004.html. Accessed 27 July 2022.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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