Audio Blackface? Ocasio-Cortez Uses Fake Accent to Talk at Black Event
Scarcely a day goes by that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t manage to do or say something embarrassing, but her latest gaffe is worse than usual. In an attempt to appear hip and cool in front of a predominately black audience this weekend, the socialist congresswoman adopted a southern accent, a loose, “street” kind of vocabulary, and used a variety of offensive stereotypes.
In a speech for Al Sharpton’s National Action Network event, Ocasio-Cortez also insinuated that black Americans mostly work menial labor jobs while telling them that there was nothing wrong with that.
“I’m proud to be a bartender – ain’t nuthin wrong with that,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with working retail, foldin’ clothes for other people to buy. There is nothing wrong with preparing the food that your neighbors will eat. There is nothing wrong with driving the buses that take your family to work.”
While there is a certain wisdom in Ocasio-Cortez’s words that a guy like Mike Rowe might appreciate, the fact that she used this forum to patronize a crowd of black Americans and talk to them in the only language she apparently feels they can understand is cringeworthy. Twitter lit up with critics saying that Ocasio-Cortez was guilty of something akin to audio blackface, pandering to her audience in a way that was embarrassing and a little bit racist.
“This is the end for me,” tweeted Brandon Tatum. “How dare @AOC get up there and disrespect the intelligence and integrity of black folks like that. I literally could not watch this all the way through the first 5 attempts. These Democrats are pimping out black neighborhoods in plain view!! Dang shame.”
Another Twitter user said: “This embarrassment of a woman @AOC really got up there and did that raggedy accent in front of all those black people. PSA: Not all black people are improper. Not all black people fold clothes and drive buses.”
Rather than admit that she made a fool of herself onstage, Ocasio-Cortez did the only thing she ever does, which is to proclaim her own righteous holiness while accusing her critics of ignorance.
“Folks talking about my voice can step right off. Women’s March & Kavanaugh speech, same,” she said. “Any kid who grew up in a distinct linguistic culture & had to learn to navigate class enviros at school/work knows what’s up. My Spanish is the same way.”
A study came out late last year found that white liberals tend to engage in what’s called “competence downshift” when speaking to minority audiences.
“White liberals may unwittingly draw on negative stereotypes, dumbing themselves down in a likely well-meaning, ‘folksy,’ but ultimately patronizing, attempt to connect with the outgroup,” said the study, titled Self-Presentation in Interracial Settings: The Competence Downshift by White Liberals.
Apparently this phenomenon extends beyond white liberals to include socialist Latinas. Or maybe Ocasio-Cortez has just spent too much time watching old Hillary Clinton speeches.