Mansplaining and the VP debate

By Hannah Merges

What is mansplaining in today’s and age? To start, the word is a clear combination of two words — man and explaining. But what it refers to is men explaining things to women in a patronizing way; often times the woman involved knows more about the subject in question.

This is something that many women, including me, have experienced and was evidenced in the vice-presidential debate between Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence.

Senator Harris is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to criminal justice and criminal justice reform as she is a former district attorney and the former attorney general of the state of California. District attorneys are one of the most essential components in the criminal justice system because of the role they play in prosecuting crimes.

Vice President Pence attempted to criticize Senator Harris’s position on implicit bias in law enforcement and systemic racism to which she responded:

“I will not sit here and be lectured by the Vice President on what it means to enforce the laws of our country. I’m the only one on this stage who has personally prosecuted everything from child sexual assaults to homicide. I’m the only one on the stage who has prosecuted the big banks for taking advantage of American families. I am the only one on this stage who prosecuted for-profit colleges for taking advantage of our veterans.”

As a biracial former district attorney and attorney general, Senator Harris has shown that she is extremely knowledgeable on the topics of racism and law. Because of this, the explanations given by Vice President Pence of these two topics were seemingly out of place as he does not have the background Senator Harris has. 

Hannah Merges is a student in an honors “Campaigns, Candidates and Current Elections” course at St. Bonaventure University.

 

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