Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez exclaimed in a recent interview, “I always say Latinos are black!”
.@AOC: “Latinos are black … We have to have conversations around ‘colorism,’ and we have to have conversations around the African and indigenous roots from which we come and how that’s reflected in systems of power.” pic.twitter.com/ki1lDDNhKS
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) June 22, 2020
She continued, “We run an entire racial spectrum so we have to have conversations around ‘colorism,’ and we have to have conversations around the African and indigenous roots from which we come and how that’s reflected in systems of power, wealth inequality, and frankly, our political system.” AOC, however, did not expand on how, ‘wealth inequality’ and ‘the system’, reflect ‘colorism.'”
One Hispanic-American Twitter user found her statement offensive, writing, “Don’t you dare use our brown skin to co-opt the Black experience in America as far as their contributions to our nation’s development & culture. Just because we aren’t white doesn’t mean we are to cling to Black America’s *unique* history!”
NO @AOC! We Hispanics are NOT Black! Don't you dare use our brown skin to co-opt the Black experience in America as far as their contributions to our nation's development & culture. Just because we aren't white doesn't mean we are to cling to Black America's *unique* history! https://t.co/9go7EknG38
— Ruben D. Sanchez Jr (@rdsanchezjr) June 22, 2020
Some laughed at AOC’s claim to be black:
— Adan Salazar (@AdanSalazarWins) June 22, 2020
Others who have faced ridicule for appropriating another race include former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, whomPresident Trump mercilessly mocked with the nickname “Pocahontas,” and Rachel Dolezal, the former professor and NAACP president who was, in fact, white.
Last year, in an MSNBC interview, AOC proclaimed she wasn’t black. “My identity is the descendant of many different identities. I am the descendant of African slaves. I am the descendant of indigenous people. I am the descendant of Spanish colonizers… I am a descendant of all sorts of folks. That doesn’t mean I’m black, that doesn’t mean I’m native, but I can tell the story of my ancestors.”
So what’s changed? In the wake of the George Floyd race riots, the left has focused its attention almost exclusively on black Americans. Some Twitter users speculated that the reason media darling AOC was not black a few months ago, but claims to be black now, may have something to do with a competition for victimhood. One user declared AOC “clearly can’t stand the fact she’s not the biggest victim right now.”
No word yet on whether Black Lives Matter embraces AOC’s blackness, or if they believe it’s another case of opportunism and cultural appropriation.