KEY POINTS

  • Harris called for support for minority-owned small businesses
  • The emphasis on minority-owned businesses was criticized as tone deaf
  • In June, she called for donations to bail out those arrested during riots

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris caused a stir on social media for calling for support for minority-owned businesses only months after raising bail for protestors that may have looted or otherwise damaged them.

An August report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found an estimated 41% of Black-owned small businesses failed, compared to 17% for white-owned businesses. The report attributed the higher rate in part to weaker banking relationships for Black-owned companies.

Harris on her Twitter account called for financial relief for small businesses, especially those owned by minorities: “Joe Biden and I are committed to helping these businesses during this pandemic and get them the support they need to thrive in years to come,” she posted on Saturday.

The post was in contrast to comments she posted in June after waves of social unrest over police brutality against minorities led to looting and vandalizing of some of those same businesses, most notably in Minnesota following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

 

 

The Minnesota Freedom Fund helps pay bail and immigration bonds for those who can’t afford it on their own. Its mission is to “end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.”

Online, the future vice president - the first Black, the first woman and the first person of India descent to hold the office – was criticized for her emphasis on minority-owned business.

All small businesses are getting hurt during the pandemic, one person noted. Another noted the irony of bailing out the looters and then calling for support for those same businesses vandalized during summer protests.

Others were less critical, however, noting that income inequality had risen sharply over the last few years.

This isn’t the first time the issue surfaced either.

 

 

A fact-check by The Washington Post in September found that 92% of those arrested in connection with riots in Minnesota paid no bail at all. If they did, it was usually around $100.

The Post highlighted one instance where bail support did go to a violent criminal. Jaleel Stallings was charged with attempted murder after firing on Minneapolis policy in May. The Minnesota Freedom Fund paid $75,000 in cash to get him out of jail.

Kamala Harris WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 07: Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks on stage at the Chase Center before President-elect Joe Biden's address to the nation November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. After four days of counting the high volume of mail-in ballots in key battleground states due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race was called for Biden after a contentious election battle against incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Photo: Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images