It’s pronounced Kamala, with emphasis on the first syllable.
Georgia Senator David Perdue kept things real classy as he introduced Mr. Class himself, Donald Trump, at a rally in Macon on Friday. As Perdue turned his attention toward the Democratic candidates, Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, he mispronounced the latter’s name.
That description actually fails to capture the extent of Perdue’s antics. He didn’t just say Harris’ name incorrectly. He did so repeatedly, and mockingly. Here’s a clip of the moment, shared by Jon Ossoff, Perdue’s Democratic competitor in the upcoming election.
Later on Friday, Perdue’s campaign released a statement defending the senator’s rally comments. “Senator Perdue simply mispronounced Senator Harris’ name, and he didn’t mean anything by it.”
Let’s pause for a brief moment and call a bad faith argument out for what it is. You can see that clip above. Any reasonable person watching it would conclude that Perdue leaned in on the mispronunciation, and that he very much did mean something by it. A campaign statement saying otherwise doesn’t change basic facts.
Anyway. Plenty of people outside the Perdue campaign did see the senator’s words and tone for what they were: openly disrespectful and vaguely racist. Some of those people chose to respond, populating the #MyNameIs hashtag on Twitter with information about the etymology of their own names.
(Kamala, it should be noted, means “lotus” or “pale red” in Sanskrit, according to BehindTheName. It’s also another name for the Hindu goddess, Lakshmi.)
.@sendavidperdue, my name is Pritesh Gandhi. Phonetically it’s Pre-thesh.
Your racism has no place in our nation. I’ve been mocked by people like you before – it didn’t stop me from being a physician for the poor and it won’t stop @SenKamalaHarris from being Vice-President.
— Dr. Pritesh Gandhi (@priteshgandhimd) October 17, 2020
#MyNameIs Meenakshi. I’m named after the Hindu goddess, as well as my great great grandmother. I come from a long line of strong women who taught me to be proud of my heritage and to demand respect—especially from racist white men like @sendavidperdue who are threatened by us. https://t.co/Bonzz5n3Xu
— Meena Harris (@meenaharris) October 17, 2020
#MyNameIs Sikanyiselwe. Its Xhosa meaning is “we have been shone upon” or, “the light at the end of the tunnel”.
— Kanyi Maqubela (@km) October 17, 2020