"We cannot get to a place of progress by denying the existence of racism," Harris said on "The View" during an impassioned rebuttal to Haley's recent comments
"The history of racism in America should never be the subject of a soundbite, or a question that is meant to elicit a one-sentence answer," Harris said before providing a lengthy rebuttal to Haley's remarks. "But there is no denying ... that racism has played a role in the history of our nation."
Haley — who also faced criticism in December for failing to acknowledge that slavery caused the Civil War — said during a Tuesday morning interview on Fox & Friends that she experienced racism growing up as a child of Indian immigrants, but that "today is a lot better than it was then."
Rejecting the idea that the Republican Party, and the country, are racist, Haley shifted the conversation to say that focusing on topics like race and gender divides people.
On The View, Harris took issue with Haley for downplaying systemic racism in the United States, saying, "I think we all would agree that while it is part of our past and that we see vestiges of it today, we should also be committed collectively to not letting it define the future of our country. But we cannot get to a place of progress by denying the existence of racism."
.@VP Kamala Harris responds to GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley's recent comments on if America has ever been a racist country, telling #TheView "there is no denying that ... racism has played a role in the history of our nation." pic.twitter.com/yTys5xLGou
— The View (@TheView) January 17, 2024
Harris then widened her focus to address a growing trend among conservatives of avoiding important conversations about race and minimizing ugly parts of U.S. history — including in Florida schools, where new academic standards require middle school curriculum to teach that enslaved people benefited from slavery.
"We will not grow as a country to push that kind of approach and doctrine of misinformation," Harris said on The View. "It is not in our best interest to evolve on the issue of race in America to suggest that the Civil War was prompted by anything other than slavery in America. It is not in the best interest of our progress as a nation to ban books and deny our children the ability to benefit from the knowledge of America's full history so that we can move toward progress.
"So, it's unfortunate that there are some who would deny fact or overlook it when, in fact, moving toward progress requires that we speak truth," she concluded.
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