Protestor Bum-Rushing Kamala Harris On Stage Is White Male Privilege In Action
Kudos to Kamala Harris for being able to keep her cool here
Even though we see it every day, watching patriarchal privilege in action is really something. Especially when it comes in the form of a white guy interrupting a presidential candidate during a speech, which is what happened yesterday while Kamala Harris was on stage with two other women discussing, of all things, equal pay.
Aidan Cook, a self-described animal rights activist, disrupted a panel hosted by liberal group MoveOn featuring Senator Harris by leaping onstage and literally snatching the microphone from the senator’s hands. Because of course he did. And it’s every bit as infuriating to watch as you’d imagine.
The women on stage, specifically panel host Karine Jean-Pierre, try to get in between the senator and the man, calling for security. Organizers of the panel tried to stop him, and he was eventually restrained by staff.
MAJOR kudos to Kamala Harris for being able to maintain her cool and continue with the panel after such a disruptance, but, then again, women — and especially women of color — are trained basically from birth on how to diffuse the chaos of men.
Lois Beckett, a reporter for The Guardian, asked Cook if he realized how absolutely terrible it is to publicly disrespect a woman of color by preventing her from speaking. Here’s what he said.
“I tried to show my profound respect for each of the people on stage.”
If you’re wondering, “Why is an animal rights activist bombarding a stage where equal pay is being discussed?” you’re not alone. According to Beckett, Cook says he targeted the senator because she’s from California. Cook was apparently representing Direct Action Everywhere, an animal rights group seeking to raise attention about factory farms and their connection to climate change.
Are animal rights important? Absolutely. And climate change should be one of the main platforms for all presidential candidates to focus on for 2020 because it’s undeniably about life or death at this point. THAT BEING SAID, none of that justifies a random white guy bum-rushing a female presidential candidate and snatching a microphone from her hands.
Plenty of people on social media are up in arms about the appalling lack of self-awareness shown by Cook, not to mention the abysmal optics of the entire situation.
At one point, Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, comes on stage to make sure his wife is alright and Cook was being apprehended.
After he was finally removed, Harris returned to the stage amid chants of “Kamala, Kamala.” She seemed to handle the entire incident in stride. “I’m good, I’m good,” she told the audience. “All good. No worries.”
She’s a pro and this very likely isn’t the first time an entitled man has gotten in her way (*coughs in Brett Kavanaugh*). But it’s truly unacceptable — and yet it’s the perfect example of white male privilege in action. Not only did he not care about doing it at all, he didn’t care what it looked like. It’s typical. It’s tired. Most of all, though, it’s bullshit.
The only “good” thing to come out of it was this adorable tweet shared by Emhoff: