Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor committed an error some have previously called racist when she mispronounced “Kamala” Harris during the inauguration Wednesday.
Sotomayor began administering the oath of office to the eventual vice president when she said Harris’s name incorrectly:
Justice Sonia Sotomayor mispronounces "Kamala" as Vice President Harris takes the oath of office. pic.twitter.com/1z2TcDCfge
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 20, 2021
Sotomayor said Ka-MA-la instead of KA-ma-la, an error Joe Biden supporters insisted was rooted in racism and sexism when Republicans pronounced it similarly.
The Associated Press (AP) reported in August:
Harris’ first name is pronounced “KAH’-mah-lah” — or, as she explains in her biography, “’comma-la,’ like the punctuation mark.” But mispronunciations have been rampant in the days since the California senator became the first Black woman and the first Asian American woman named to a major party’s ticket. Pence referred to her as “kah-MAH’-lah,” putting his emphasis on the second syllable, at events last week. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel did the same on Wednesday, as did Trump at a rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday, the day after Harris delivered a prime-time speech accepting the Democratic nomination — a speech he indicated he watched.
“It is an effort to diminish her,” Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center Action Fund, insisted to the AP. “It’s designed to signal difference.”
According to the AP, “Harris supporters say there is a difference between someone who makes an honest mistake and wants to correct it and people who knowingly mispronounce her name, or who don’t care enough to get it right.”
Georgia Sen. David Perdue (R) mispronounced Harris’s name and her staff was quick to call it “incredibly racist,” ABC 7 reported.
“Senator Perdue’s intentionally disrespectful mispronunciation of Senator Harris’s name is a bigoted and racist tactic straight from President Trump’s handbook,” Democratic Party of Georgia Chairman Nikema Williams said in October.
“He owes Georgians an apology for his offensive display.”