October 7, 2020 - Harris Calmly Responds to Pence Interruptions with “I’m Speaking”

At various points in the vice presidential debate, Harris responds to Pence attempts to interject or interrupt her by saying and repeating calmly (and often with a smile), “I’m speaking.” In these exchanges, Harris navigates both gender and race, recognizing that viewers will respond differently to aggressive responses from her than they would from a white, male opponent. As multiple commentators and many viewers recognized, Harris was “threading a needle” between showing her strength while not being characterized as an “angry Black woman.” Almost immediately after she says it, “I’m speaking” memes and merchandise become widely available to celebrate Harris’s display of resoluteness.