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- We don’t know if this is actually Kamala Harris’ birth certificate, but it doesn’t list her as “Caucasian.”
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be tapped by a major party in the United States to run for vice president.
But since Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden named her as his running mate, questions — and misinformation — about her heritage have populated social media platforms.
One Facebook post that’s gained traction is what’s described as an image of Harris’ birth certificate and the claim that her parents listed her as "Caucasian" on it.
"Sen K Harris listed as Caucasian on her birth certificate … by her parents …" the post says.
It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We reached out to the Biden campaign about the Facebook post but did not immediately hear back. We don’t know if the image of the birth certificate is authentic.
But either way, the document in the image doesn’t list a race for Harris and it doesn’t describe her as Caucasian.
It’s not unusual for a birth certificate not to list a child’s race, though the race of the child’s parents has been used to determine the race of the child "for statistical purposes," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The document identifies Harris’ mother as Shyamala Gopalan. In the field that says "Color or Race of Mother," Caucasian is typed below. Gopalan was born in what is now called Chennai, India, and moved to California after college to pursue a doctorate in nutrition and endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley.
Under "Color or Race of Father," it says "Jamaican." Harris’ father, Donald Harris, was born in Jamaica and also migrated to the United States to attend Berkeley.
We’ve previously debunked a photo that questioned Harris’ race and wrongly claimed the people in the image were her parents.
This claim merits a similar rating. False.
Facebook post, Aug. 13, 2020
Tweet, Aug. 12, 2020
PolitiFact, A look at Kamala Harris’ multi-ethnic background and racial identity in the US, Aug. 14, 2020
PolitiFact, Viral photo questioning Kamala Harris’s race does not show her with her parents, Aug. 12, 2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vital statistics of the United States, 1999
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