FACT CHECK: Viral Image Questions Kamala Harris’ Racial Background

Aislinn Murphy | Assistant Managing Editor

An image shared on Facebook supposedly shows California Sen. Kamala Harris posing for a photo with her parents.

Verdict: False

The picture shows Harris posing with retired Silicon Valley executive Suneil Parulekar and his wife Rohini at a fundraising gala.

Fact Check:

This Facebook post uses the photograph to question the Democratic presidential hopeful’s racial background. “Kamala Harris claims shes [sic] black,” reads the caption. “Take a look at her parents and make up your own mind!”

Harris’ parents, Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris, both immigrated to the U.S. from other countries. Her mother, a breast cancer researcher, came from India; her father, a retired Stanford economics professor, relocated from Jamaica. (RELATED: Is Kamala Harris Not Eligible To Be President?)

The California senator provided Mercury News with an undated photograph of her parents in February. Neither of them are pictured in the meme, as its caption claims.

India-West, an Indian news outlet based in America, included the meme’s picture in an article about Harris getting elected to the Senate in 2016. Its caption revealed the identities of the couple and event captured by the photograph.

The image comes from a 2016 fundraising gala thrown by Pratham USA, an Indian charitable organization. Suneil Parulekar and his wife Rohini, board members for Pratham’s Bay Area chapter, took a picture with Harris at the event, where she delivered the keynote speech.

Here’s the picture from the Pratham USA Facebook page:

The fundraising gala happened in August 2016, so it is impossible for Harris’ mother to have attended the event. She died seven years earlier in 2009.

Aislinn Murphy

Assistant Managing Editor