Ocasio-Cortez Under Fire for Racially Charged Message: 'We Have Black Staff. We Don't Parade Them Around'

The most famous freshman in Congress is facing some serious blowback.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the first-term New York Democrat who has become one of her party’s most quoted figures, is drawing heavy social media fire over comments she made about “tokenism” when it comes to Republican lawmakers hiring black staffers.

And critics are using her own words against her.

Ocasio-Cortez courted trouble last  week after publishing a Twitter post defending fellow Democratic freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Tlaib had accused Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of using one of his staffers as a “prop” during Capitol Hill hearings involving Michael Cohen, the former personal attorney for President Donald Trump.

After an uproar arose over Tlaib’s remarks, Ocasio-Cortez rushed to Tlaib’s defense, claiming Tlaib was simply telling the truth: “that tokenism *is* racism.”

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That was on Thursday, but the criticisms it sparked are lasting through the weekend.

Was Ocasio-Cortez using 'tokenism to point out tokenism'?

In response to one Twitter user, who questioned how many blacks are working on her own staff, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she didn’t feel the need to advertise that.

“We have Black staff,” she wrote on Saturday. “We don’t parade them to show the world how diverse our team is, and use that as some kind of evidence of the absence of racism.”

But that only invited another barrage, since, as some Twitter users pointed out, Ocasio-Cortez appeared to be setting up a “heads, we win, tails you lose” kind of proposition.

Allie Beth Stuckey, a conservative commentator and comedian who has roasted Ocasio-Cortez before, summed it up.

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“So, if someone doesn’t have any/enough black people on their staff, that’s racist. But if someone does have black people on their staff and says that they do, that’s also racist. Thank you for making this perfectly clear.”

A user identified as Lute Nelson also pointed out the obvious.

“Thank you @AOC for using tokenism to point out tokenism,” he wrote.

Scott Adams, the creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip, sarcastically asked for a clarification.

“I need clearer rules,” he wrote. “Can I tweet that my staff is diverse so long as I am not parading it around? And hypothetically, if I have a black friend — and I’m not saying I do, as I understand that would be racist tokenism — should I keep it to myself?”

With less than a year in the public eye, and after holding office for only about two months, Ocasio-Cortez has cemented herself in the public discussion.

This week, her own words in that discussion have into weapons being used against her.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
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