Kamala Harris’ marriage could challenge a racial taboo
Photo Courtesy CNN
Nikki Buskirk was watching vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff wave to supporters at an Election Night celebration in November when the future second gentleman did something that made Buskirk glow with admiration.
The couple had just taken the stage in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, when red, white, and blue fireworks suddenly exploded in the evening sky. Buskirk says she watched as Emhoff instinctively stepped toward Harris to protect her.
That gesture touched Buskirk because her marriage had set off some fireworks of its own. She’s a proud Black woman and Black Lives Matter activist who had violated an unwritten rule in the Black community — thou shalt not date or marry White men.
The Ohio woman had been told all her life she was supposed to marry a strong Black man and build a strong Black family. But then she met Tyler Buskirk, a self-assured White man who shared her love of “The Phantom of the Opera” and Dungeons & Dragons. Their marriage shocked some members of both of their families, and Buskirk says she’s gotten plenty of icy, “how-could-you?” stares from Black women and men in public.
Seeing Emhoff rush to protect Harris, though, reminded her not of what she’s endured but what she’s gained — a man who is ready to defend her, no matter what comes their way.
“He’s my rock to come home to after fighting the world, my shield when it becomes too much, and my crusader when I can’t get through,” says Buskirk, 37. The pair live in Columbus, Ohio, where she works in a ministry at a local United Methodist Church.
“When I see Vice President Harris and her husband, I see us.”
Will more Black women begin to see the same potential for romantic love with White men? Harris’ next four years in the White House could help provide an answer.