Photo by Logan Cyrus / Bloomberg via Getty Images file
Photo by Logan Cyrus / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence walk out onto the debate stage at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, they’ll do so separated by an unprecedented distance. On Monday, the Commission on Presidential Debates approved plans to have the candidates seated 13 feet apart, behind plexiglass barriers. Regardless of the fact that the Pence-Trump campaign opposes the barriers, this distance between them couldn’t be more fitting.

No matter how much she smiles behind that partition, there’s a good chance Harris will come across to at least some Americans as yet another “angry Black woman.” Ever since former Vice President Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate, the GOP has bristled at her voice and her demeanor, calling her “angry” and “horrible” and laughing at her name. As soon as she was named to the ticket, President Donald Trump joined in, deploying his favorite taunt for powerful women who challenge him: nasty.

But just as “nasty woman” was appropriated as a feminist rallying cry in 2016 and emblazoned across T-shirts and hats, we might also embrace anger.

Few white evangelicals and even fewer Proud Boys will be able to relate to Sen. Kamala Harris tonight. Yet I hope an ever-growing section of America can. Of course, Black women aren’t always angry. But when we are, we should be able to show it without worrying about offending white sensibilities. Harris is Black and a woman and, I believe, angry. And that’s a good thing for America.

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