WASHINGTON — QUESTION:
A video going around social media shows Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris saying that 18-24 year-olds are "stupid." Is it real?
Yes, our Verify researchers found the original video from a speech Harris gave in 2014 at a symposium on criminal justice policy.
Ford Foundation Youtube: "California State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on the importance of prison education"
A 19-second video of Democratic VP candidate Kamala Harris started circulating in the hours after Joe Biden's announcement that she would be his running mate.
"What else do we know about this population, 18 through 24? They are stupid. That is why we put them in dormitories and they have a resident assistant. They make really bad decisions," Harris said in the video.
Sticking just to the facts, we're verifying, did Kamala Harris really say this?
Our researchers started by authenticating the video. They traced it back to a speech Harris gave in 2014 at a symposium about criminal justice policy.
So we can Verify that the clip is real, but it requires some context.
The clip comes from a 32-minute speech where Harris focused on her ideas for criminal justice reform. Right before that comment, Harris talks about her “Back on Track” program that she set up during her time as District Attorney in San Francisco.
She said the program was designed to lower recidivism rates for first-time, low-level drug sales offenders between the ages of 18 to 30.
She then makes this comparison: "When I was at Howard University, we were in college, we were 18-24 and you know what we were called? College kids. But when you turn 18, you are considered an adult period."
So yes, Sen. Harris did say 18 to 24 year-olds are "stupid." But the soundbite was during a larger conversation on the issue of younger adults reoffending in California and how education can help reenter them in society.
The way the video is being shared right now doesn’t offer that context.