The recent racial tensions have caused some confusion among the Democratic Party’s more radical elements with Congressman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez claiming that Latinos are black and Congressman Rashida Tlaib claiming that she, as a “Palestinian”, is of African descent.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also known by her initials as AOC, is the Democratic Party’s Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district. She is the youngest woman ever to serve in the United States Congress but with both her parents benign born in Puerto Rico, she should know a bit about Latino culture. It, therefore, came as quite a surprise when she claimed that Latinos are black.
“I always say Latinos are black…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,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
.@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
AOC does seem confused since she unequivocally claimed in an MSNBC interview last year that 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.”
She has a fluid sense of ethnicity that allowed her to claim Jewish ancestry in 2018.
Without providing any details, she said that she “sensed” that her ancestors were among the Sephardic Jews forcibly converted in the Iberian Inquisition that began in the late 15th Century.
“Culture isn’t DNA,” she claimed.
Before everyone jumps one me – yes, culture isn’t DNA.
But to be Puerto Rican is to be the descendant of:
African Moors + slaves,
and likely others.
We are all of these things and something else all at once – we are Boricua. https://t.co/IFC4mwAjor
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 10, 2018
In the current racially-charged political environment, racial identity has monetary implications. While some leaders in the black community are calling for reparation payments as recompense for blacks being enslaved, AOC called for reparation payments to the “black and brown communities.”
COVID deaths are disproportionately spiking in Black + Brown communities.
Why? Because the chronic toll of redlining, environmental racism, wealth gap, etc. ARE underlying health conditions.
Inequality is a comorbidity. COVID relief should be drafted with a lens of reparations.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 3, 2020
In an interview on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show” AOC explained her position, equating race with economic standing. “We’re kind of creating a class and race issue,” she said.
Not to be outdone, Rashida Tlaib (D-MICH), born in Detroit to Israeli Arab parents, told documentarian Michael Moore that she was African.
First AOC claims Latinos are Black and now Rashida Tlaib tells Michael Moore she’s African American. pic.twitter.com/VaMy8AQW8w
— The Conspiracy Libel (@ConspiracyLibel) June 27, 2020
Tlaib’s father was born in Jerusalem and her mother was born in Beit Ur El Foka in Samaria.
To be clear, Israel is in the Asian continent, though Tlaib has frequently shown a lack of knowledge concerning geography. On her first day in office, the map hanging over her desk was altered with a post-it labeled ‘Palestine’ pasted over Israel.
Someone has already made a slight alteration to the map that hangs in Rashida Tlaib’s new congressional office. pic.twitter.com/mwyshIog4r
— Hannah Allam (@HannahAllam) January 3, 2019
It should be noted that a political entity called Palestine has never existed, not in Africa and certainly not in the Middle East.
Tlaib has a long history of relating to ethnicity in creative ways. In February, she criticized the 2020 census for not including “Middle Eastern/North African” as an option in the ethnicity category. In the ensuing debate, she claimed to be a “person of color”, asking Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, “Do I look white to you?”
It should be noted that the Obama administration opted not to categorize people of Middle Eastern and North African descent (MENA) as ‘white’.
The squad is continuing a long tradition of Democratic ethnic vaguery. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was heavily criticized after it was discovered she claimed to be an American Indian in a 1986 registration card she filled out for the State Bar of Texas. When challenged, she took a DNA test which concluded there is “strong evidence” she had a Native American ancestor approximately six to 10 generations ago.