With Joe Biden’s announcement Tuesday afternoon that California Sen. Kamala Harris would join him on the Democratic presidential ticket, people were quick to take to social media to recognize the decision as ground-breaking.
Harris, who had Jamaican-American and Indian parents, makes history as the first woman of color and the first Asian American to be chosen for a major party’s ticket.
Given Biden’s age, there is every possibility that he will step down before completing a four-year term, if elected, which would mean that Harris would automatically take over the top spot as leader of the free world.
Naturally the appointment gave the U.S.’s TV pundits a veritable feast, but warfare soon broke out over the pronunciation of Ms. Harris’s first name, Kamala.
Apparently, although Harris has been a U.S. Senator, a Presidential candidate, and is now a Vice-Presidential candidate, many U.S.journalists do not yet know how to pronounce her first name.
On the popular Tucker Carlson TV show on Fox News, a guest interrupted Carlson to set him straight.
Discussing Mr Biden’s pick, political consultant Richard Goodstein pointed out to Mr Carlson that Ms Harris’s name was in fact pronounced “Comma-la”, after the Fox News host had said “Ka-mal-a”, just seconds earlier on his top-rated show.
“Tucker, can I just say one quick thing because this is something that will serve you and your fellow hosts on Fox News well,” Mr Goodstein told Mr Carlson. “Her name is pronounced ‘Comma’…like the punctuation mark…’Comma-La’.
“So what?” Mr Carlson said when it was pointed out to him that he pronounced Ms Harris’s name incorrectly. Mr Goodstein then hit back: “I think out of respect for someone who is going to be on the national ticket, pronouncing her name right… is kind of a bare minimum.”
“Ok look, I unintentionally mispronounced her name,” Mr Carlson continued. “But I love the idea that she is immune from criticism… On this show, nobody in power is immune from criticism. Our political leaders must be held to account – that’s our job.”
No copy of Carlson’s job description is available, but some journalists later commented that getting the names of political leaders correct is considered basic journalism.
“Comma-la?”. In the opinion of one journalist, the easiest way to remember how to pronounce her name is to say that it rhymes with Pamela.