Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez quickly became one of the most influential people in American politics following her run for an open seat in the House of Representatives for the state New York. Although Ocasio-Cortez was in her late twenties when elected to office, she has managed to be a powerful, outspoken force for progressive politics, earning the ire of President Trump specifically.
Now, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is using her white boyfriend to help educate her followers on Instagram how to “combat racism as a white person.” Because many white people deny that they are racists or have any bias toward people of color, Ocasio-Cortez’s boyfriend, Riley Roberts, hoped to use his experience as a white man to explain that racism is more common than people think – and it rears its head in a lot of ways.
Roberts said, “I think it’s helpful and important to talk to other white people about racism, and I think a lot of people they don’t want to be racist. They don’t think that they’re racist, but they also don’t know some of the things they believe or say are and can be racist.”
Roberts said that if someone says something that is racist, they could use it as a teaching moment to improve themselves. By recognizing a viewpoint as racist, the individual can walk on the path to moving away from racism and other cultural biases.
“One of the effective ways is just to talk, and kind of help teach them about why some of the things they believe or say or think are wrong – not necessarily racist – but that they’re wrong. That will sort of chip away and contribute to some development in this area, but not necessarily take somebody from being a racist to not being a racist in one conversation.”
Ocasio-Cortez then spoke up to contribute her point on the issue.
“And it just always being open to learning about racist things we may have said or done without defensiveness.”
The couple admitted that some people – especially whites who hold racist views – can be prone to defensiveness. They urged people who want to help racism in American to speak to these people on the topic of “right or wrong” rather than “racist versus non-racist.” The world “racism” holds a lot of cultural power and can really make people resistant if they hear someone say they are racist.
Following Trump’s acquittal, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to attend his State of the Union because she felt that attending would be “normalizing” the president’s behavior.
“After much deliberation, I have decided that I will not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct and subversion of the Constitution,” she said. “None of this is normal, and I will not legitimize it. Consequently, I will not be attending the State of the Union.”
In a second tweet, she wrote, “This is a deeply personal decision for each member to make, and a choice I did not take lightly.”
Representatives Maxine Waters and Ayanna Pressley, each who have often been attacked by Trump, also did not attend his speech.
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