“There are people who will say, she isn’t Black enough. There are people who will say she’s not Indian enough,” said Shekar Narasimhan, the chairman and founder of the AAPI Victory Fund, a group focused on empowering Asian-American voters. “But she brings all that to the table, which is why I just think she’s a true American.”
Experts and community leaders also highlighted the fact that Ms. Harris is biracial. And some noted that the Indian-American population of the United States swelled after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, which was led by Black people in America.
“We came on the backs of the civil rights movement,” Mr. Narasimhan said. “So to have this unity shown on the stage of a woman who is of our heritage, who is Black, who came out of this struggle, whose grandfather in India came out of an independence struggle, links and creates a unity.”
Karthick Ramakrishnan, a professor of political science at the University of California, Riverside, said the most recent survey data available showed that Ms. Harris was viewed favorably by Indian Americans by a wide margin, and that her performance among Indian-American donors improved throughout her presidential campaign last year.
Some political scientists also said Ms. Harris’s elevation to the presidential ticket could help broaden Mr. Biden’s appeal to a wider swath of the electorate and boost voter turnout.
“The historic nature of having a Black woman on the ticket, particularly given the loyalty of Black women to the Democratic Party, I think makes this a sensible choice,” said LaFleur Stephens-Dougan, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University who specializes in racial attitudes and public opinion.
And while “South Asians aren’t a large part of the base or a large percentage of the voting population,” she added, “there’s something to be said for voters beyond that community, where this narrative of being born to immigrant parents, being biracial is a story that’s in some ways a quintessential American story.”
Ms. Jayapal also suggested a humbler benefit of having Ms. Harris — whose first name means “lotus” in Sanskrit — elevated to a presidential ticket. “I can’t remember if it was my mother or someone else who said: ‘Maybe now they’ll learn to pronounce your names.’”
Shalini Venugopal Bhagat contributed reporting and Kitty Bennett contributed research.