Tensions have been running high between Ocasio-Cortez and Nancy Pelosi lately. First, the freshman’s chief of staff compared more centrist Democrats to 1940s segregationists. Then Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY., accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of “singling out” her and fellow newcomers, all women of color. The rhetoric escalated as the conflict turned into a race issue.
The Congressional Black Caucus has called Ocasio-Cortez out for playing the race card. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) had this to say; “What a weak argument, because you can’t get your way and because you’re getting pushback you resort to using the race card? Unbelievable. That’s unbelievable to me.” Mr. Clay is very right. Language is one of the most important parts of any debate. If you control the language you can control the frame and then control the mind. This is why it’s important to look at the words used and assess whether they add any real value to the conversation.
Calling someone a “racist” is a lazy way to claim moral superiority without actually proving anything. If racism is truly so evil then it should be easy to prove it wrong without using the term racist. If someone said “I want to kill all X” sure you could call them racist but you could just as easily call them morally abhorrent using other words. You could function perfectly fine by removing “racist” from your vocabulary but many people would struggle as they’ve used it as a crutch for so long they can’t argue without it.
I’m not making a moral argument for “racism” or Pelosi; I’m simply arguing that the word is no good and anyone who uses it is leaning on a linguistic crutch. It shows you how ignorant Ocasio-Cortez is; she is out to score points and is applying the most juvenile tactics to try and get her message across. This isn’t the Congresswoman’s first time leaning on ‘racism’ to make her arguments. She caused controversy when she took former U.S. President Ronald Reagan to ask by bringing up one of his favorite anecdotes about welfare and claimed he was painting a resentful vision of black women doing nothing, saying his comment was rooted in racism.
Racist or bigot is pretty much the most damning label that can be slapped on anyone today, which means they should be applied firmly and carefully. They are not terms to be used as means of persuasion in a conversation or debate and their continued use by the left-liberals to silence disagreement is a slippery slope into authoritarianism. Someone like AOC needs to stop abusing her cultural power and encourage her followers to be better. Although conservatives dominate America’s elected offices, liberals wield the greater power to stigmatize. At the end of the day, no one wins if they have to deploy cheap labels when describing an idea they consider stupid or immoral.