I’m not a big fan of accusing people of cultural appropriation. If you want to eat a taco on Cinco de Mayo, have fun. If you like orange chicken, by all means, let’s do this thing. But there’s a difference between casual partaking of other cultures, which is one of the awesome things about America, and trying to appropriate the lived struggles of oppressed people for political and personal gain.
That’s what makes Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez so insidious. Over and over, usually through the “people of color” canard, she’s tried to equalize her upper crust, pampered upbringing with those who fought for civil rights for black Americans and have the battle scars to prove it. For more on why this is such an issue, be sure to check out the great Kira Davis’ viral op-ed entitled Kira Davis: The Term People of Color Hijacks Black America’s Hard Earned Legacy and I’m Sick of It.
Apparently, AOC didn’t get the memo because she found the shark and did a double back flip over it today.
.@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
This is gonna be news to noted “white-Hispanic” George Zimmerman, but I digress. I’m not even sure where to begin here.
No, Latinos are not black. Yes, it is possible to have black people with African heritage who live in Hispanic countries just as we see in America. That does not make the entirety of Latinos “black,” nor does someone with 5-15% African blood going back generations qualify as black either. AOC is not black, not even in a rhetorical sense of shared struggle. This is like saying all Americans are black because some Americans trace their roots to Nigeria. It’s so ridiculous that it’s hard to believe that it made it into a video that looks to be edited after the fact. Did AOC actually think this was acceptable?
These are the facts. Black Americans fought for their rights. They died for their rights. AOC went to Boston University and worked at a bar. Any supposed racism she claims to constantly be the victim of bares no resemblance to that black Americans have suffered. Her attempts to continually compare herself to black Americans is gross and insulting. Further, isn’t she kind of doing the “all lives matter” thing here? If your answer to those saying “what about Latinos” when discussing racism is that “Latinos are black,” that’s appropriating and replacing the meaning of a cause centered on black Americans.
I suspect her army of followers will be along shortly to point out how she’s absolutely, technically correct here though. They’ll claim that some aspects of Latin culture, which itself doesn’t actually exist as a monolith, have African roots. Yeah, and many Americans really like the blues. That doesn’t make someone black.
They’ll also claim that slaves brought into Brazil and surrounding countries mixed with the population. Again, that’s exactly like the United States. That doesn’t make a non-black person black. Most people reading this would likely have some African heritage if you took a DNA test, but being black and the struggles that accompany that reality are not about DNA tests.
AOC knows she can get away with this though. If a Republican said anything of the sort, they’d be lambasted. She’ll be praised or ignored because she has the right letter next to her name. 2020 is already absurd. It might as well get more so.