We met with Georgetown University’s Dr. Nadia Brown for a follow-up interview to discuss Kamala Harris, the profession of politics, and much more. Enjoy!
"Kamala Harris is not an exception. There are a myriad of other super talented, competent, smart, politically astute women, women of color, and Biden had four black women to choose from, right?… And he picked Kamala, again, who I thought is... Or I think is the best choice for the moment."” – Dr. Nadia Brown
Dr. Nadia E. Brown of Purdue University (and soon, Georgetown University) discusses the status of women of color in politics, especially Joe Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris for vice president. She also shares what a political scientist thinks of getting into politics as a future profession. Dr. Brown shares her insights with Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of AcademicInfluence.com and professor of physics at Wake Forest University.
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(Editor’s Note: The following transcript has been lightly edited to improve clarity.)
Jed Macosko: Hi, this is Dr. Jed Macosko, and we have the pleasure of a repeat person today, this is Professor Nadia Brown coming in for another interview, at AcademicInfluence.com in Wake Forest University, and there are just a few questions that I’ve been dying to ask you, Professor Brown. First and foremost is right after we interviewed last time, Kamala Harris was appointed as the vice presidential nominee, and...
Nadia Brown: Right.
Jed: I was just wondering, how do you think that’s gonna affect everything about the election, about future politics. So tell us how this looks.
Nadia: I think it was a smart choice for Biden, I think he... I mean, the Democratic party read the signs of the times to pick the right candidate for this particular moment, so I’m enthusiastic about that, I think hats off to the Democratic Party for being kind of... To being forward-looking, and their convention that they put on last week really showcased, I think, the future of what partisan politics will look like.
"I think that this pick of Kamala Harris is really opening the floodgates to what I think the future of American politics will look like."” – Dr. Nadia Brown
I also think it’ll be a hard... It will be very hard to go back to a candidate, or to a slate of... To a ticket where there are just four white men running against each other after this election. I think that both parties will be thinking more systematically about other candidates of color from different genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, as a way to reach out to the changing face of America, right? The demographics of the United States are increasingly becoming more and more non-white, non-Christian and larger groups of immigrants are becoming... They’re becoming citizens... American citizens who are now taking part in the political process, so I don’t think... I think that this pick of Kamala Harris is really opening the floodgates to what I think the future of American politics will look like.
Jed: Well, thank you for sharing that interesting information.
Do you think that if he had picked a different African-American female, things would have gone differently, and were there other candidates that you were aware of?
Nadia: Sure, yeah, so, Biden had... Had really an embarrassment of riches, right? So this is the thing that I’m really gonna underscore and drive home. So Kamala Harris is not an exception. There are a myriad of other super talented, competent, smart, politically astute women, women of color, and Biden had four black women to choose from, right?
Nadia: And he picked Kamala, again who I thought is... Or I think is the best choice for the moment, right? Someone who has an immigrant background to dealing with a pandemic that is being really cast as an Asian, right... As an Asian disease. To have someone who can speak to both black ancestry and South Asian ancestry is something to... That was really useful in a time where President Trump is really blaming these anti-immigrant and these anti-Asian flames.
Nadia: Couple that, right, with Black Lives Matter movement. And she’s also a centrist, right? So I think that she was the right choice, but it does not... You know, it’s not that she’s an exception at all, and women of politics, people of color in politics really is just showcasing that there is a back bench of folks who are willing and able to join a major party ticket, lead one, in the near future.
Jed: Cool, well, my last question for you on this little short interview is, are you more wanting to go into politics or less wanting to go into politics as these things all unfold?
Nadia: That is a good question. I did not anticipate that.
Jed: You don’t have to go on the record to say either way, I’m just flooring... For a person who’s a political scientist, there’s always that option, right? If you’re a Professor of Political Science, you could always be...
Jed: Some sort of counselor of political people.
Nadia: Yes, yes.
Jed: Or... So what would you wanna do?
Jed: How could you see yourself 10 years from now?
Nadia: Oh, that is an exciting question. So, it’s... And funny ’cause the other day I thought about running for school board just because I now have a kid, I have a kindergartener now, and this e-learning situation has been very challenging so... I was like...
Jed: For all of us, yes.
Nadia: Yeah, and I was like, I could probably add some expertise to the situation, but yeah, I got into Political Science because I knew that I could not run for office. I feel like I have a very limited filter, and oftentimes what I think comes out, which is not a skill, it is not something that is seen as a skill in politics, but I am very happy to assist in campaigns and to help others who are thinking about cracking their political message, I just think there might be some, some skeletons in the closet, some things that I’ve said.
Nadia: Or... Yeah, yeah. I’ve been pretty vocal on a lot of things, I’m not so... Yeah, I don’t have that buttoned up personality that... I think I’ve probably given a lot of fodder to people who wouldn’t want... Not to see me in elective office. Yeah.
Jed: Right. Wow, so you’re not as much of an Aaron Burr as you are more of like a Hamilton.
Nadia: Oh, yes, yes, I am definitely on the Hamilton side.
Jed: Well, thank you so much, Professor Brown, for another wonderful short interview that we really appreciate and I will just look forward to our next encounter.
Nadia: Perfect, thank you so much, Jed.
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