Channeling the Jim Crow Era, WTAM Calls Kamala Harris the First "Colored" Vice Presidential Candidate


  • Gage Skidore/FlickrCC

Kamala Harris made history this week by becoming the first Black woman to be included on a presidential ticket and the first Black person to be a vice presidential candidate.

If you were listening to the broadcast of last night's Indians game on WTAM, the same night Harris delivered her speech at the virtual DNC, you heard the occasion described differently.

"The U.S. officially has its first colored vice presidential candidate. More coming up after the game on news radio WTAM 1100 Cleveland," a news teaser said.

"Colored" is widely regarded as an offensive term used to describe Black people.

Those who heard the moment live were immediately taken aback by the language.

"What in the actual Jim Crow fuck is this?" was but one of the common, correct responses as the clip made its rounds on Twitter.

Even with WTAM's longstanding conservative bent and MAGA worship, the word choice was beyond the pale and abhorrent.

WTAM Program Director/Promotions Director Ray Davis has not responded to a request for comment sent by Scene yesterday evening. We'll update this post if and when he or someone else from the station does.

Update: Though Davies did not respond to Scene directly, the station did issue a statement to Channel 5:

"We are aware of the reference made on WTAM. We take this matter very seriously and addressed it immediately. The term used is extremely offensive and does not align with our station's core values and commitment to the communities we serve. [The employee] is no longer with WTAM."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.