Celebrities, politicians, and supporters of Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris rallied on social media after Georgia Senator David Perdue mocked her name.
The hashtag #MyNameIs took over Twitter over the weekend as people shared the correct pronunciation of their names as well as their names’ meaning and origin. Some of the people who tweeted in support included actor Kal Penn, U.S. House candidate Ro Khanna, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, actress Debra Messing and squad members Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar.
Meanwhile, Perdue is facing significant backlash for repeatedly mispronouncing Harris’ name at a rally for President Donald Trump.
“The most insidious thing that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are trying to perpetuate — and Bernie and others with them — and Kah-MAH-la, KAH-mah-la, Kah-MAH-la, Kamala-mala-mala, I don’t know, whatever,” Perdue said as the crowd laughed.
Many called the comment backhanded racism.
“Well that is incredibly racist,” Sabrina Singh, Harris’ campaign press secretary tweeted. She added that Perdue and Harris have been colleagues in the Senate for more than three years and have interacted on the floor on several occasions. The two also serve on the Senate Budget Committee together.
U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff, who’s in a tight race with Perdue for his seat, shared the video on his Twitter account tweeting, “Senator Perdue never would have done this to a male colleague, or a white colleague. And everyone knows it.”
Senator Perdue never would have done this to a male colleague.
Or a white colleague.
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) October 17, 2020
However, the comment worked against Perdue as Ossoff’s campaign announced it collected $2 million in donations over the weekend after he made it.
“First, my name is pronounced ‘comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark,” she wrote. “It means ‘lotus flower,’ which is a symbol of significance in Indian culture. A lotus grows underwater, its flower rising above the surface while its roots are planted firmly in the river bottom.”
#MyNameIs Ilham, I prefer Ilhan. I never liked the M sound . It means “Inspiration” in Arabic. My father named me Ilham and inspired me to lead a life of service to others.
In his honor I am voting for an inspirational ticket over desperate and maddening one. https://t.co/jSiatHsj2X
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) October 17, 2020