Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has risen to prominence for promising to tell truth to power. However, this week she showed that she could spin and shill with the best of them. Previously Ocasio-Cortez accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of singling out four women of color. That would seem by definition a charge of racism. Now however she insists that Pelosi did single out women of color but was not a racist. At the same time, the “squad” is warning Pelosi not to do it again.
Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley were interviewed on “CBS This Morning” by Gayle King. Tlaib chastized Pelosi again for criticizing women of color: “Acknowledge the fact that we are women of color, so when you do single us out, be aware of that and what you’re doing, especially because some of us are getting death threats. Because some of us are being singled out because of our backgrounds, because of our experiences and so forth.”
I am not sure of the “so forth” but the point seems to be the same: as women of color, these politicians should be somehow protected from such criticism. The “squad” as they like to call themselves has been attacking Pelosi and asserting that it has a different vision for the party. All of that is fair game and entirely appropriate. However, it also means that they can be criticized as “the squad.” Yet, when Pelosi responds with her own criticism, the members object that it is somehow inappropriate given their status as women of color.
There is no question that these members have been subject to terrible threats and attacks, including the disgraceful recent criticism by President Trump. However, they have chosen to advocate as a group and it is hardly surprising that they would be addressed as a group. Unlike Trump, Pelosi was not addressing them as women of color but a defined “squad” of members who are charting their own divergent path from the leadership.
Equality means that race or nationality of these members is neither a basis for special criticism or immunity from criticism.
What do you think?