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What People Who Accused Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Of ‘Verbal Blackface’ Will Never Understand About Code-switching

On April 5, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke at an event alongside Rev. Al Sharpton for his National Action Network convention, which was also the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It was there that she addressed a proximately black audience and talked about her Green New Deal and about visionary hard-working laborers like herself.

But when it came to her speech on the proposed stimulus program, Ocasio-Cortez’s critics opted to narrow in on her delivery rather than her message. In the days after her speech, critics accused Ocasio-Cortez of a range of offenses including verbal blackface, putting on a blackcent and pandering.

Here’s a clip of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez speaking to a black audience, which has conservatives in an uproar and claiming she is code-switching.

Their issue with her is that she is changing her way of speaking. Conservatives say that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez varies her dialect depending on who she is talking to, whether that audience is Latino, Black, or Jewish, she code switches to fit that group.

Before we go on, the definition of code-switching is “the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation.”

Conservative talk show host John Cardillo, tweeted, “In case you’re wondering, this is what blackface sounds like.” Others also accused her behaving the same way as Hillary Clinton, who in 2007 addressed people in Selma, Alabama.

However, there’s a vast difference between what Clinton has done, and what Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is being accused of. For starters, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is from the Bronx, not from a wealthy white environment.

AOC took great offense to people accusing her of code-switching saying they can “step right off.”

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said that “Any kid who grew up in a distinct linguistic culture and had to learn to navigate class enviros at school/work knows what’s up.” She added that “As much as the right wants to distort and deflect, I am from the Bronx. I act and talk like it, *especially* when I’m fired up and especially when I’m home. It is so hurtful to see how every aspect of my life is weaponized against me, yet somehow asserted as false at the same time.”

John McWhorter, a Black contributing editor at The Atlantic and professor at Columbia University, agrees with Rep. Ocasio-Cortez saying that Latinos conform to their environment whether they grow up on the West or East Coast.

“Ocasio-Cortez’s critics seem to assume that since she is not black, her use of Black English must be some kind of act,” he writes. “This, however, is based on a major misreading of the linguistic reality of Latinos in America’s big cities. Since the 1950s, long-term and intense contact between black and Latino people in urban neighborhoods has created a large overlap between Black English and, for example, ‘Nuyorican’ English, the dialect of New York’s Puerto Rican community. To a considerable extent, Latinos now speak ‘Ebonics’ just as Black people do, using the same slang and constructions, code-switching between it and standard English (and Spanish!) in the same ways.”

AOC also took this time to educate people on code-switching and referenced last year’s release of the movie “Sorry To Bother You.”

“Next time you‘re told straight hair is ‘unprofessional’ and that speaking like your parents do is ‘uneducated,’ then you can complain about code-switching. Code-switching is a tool communities learn when they’re told their voice, appearance, & mannerisms are “unprofessional.'”

She went on to say that when white people tell young minorities to change who they are, this is ultimately shaming them and continuing a cycle of racism.

“We see the perceived ‘costs’ to not code-switching all the time. Can’t tell you how many young people in our community don’t have the confidence they should bc they didn’t grow up learning secondary speech. Their talents get stifled by ‘respectability,’ despite enormous gifts, she tweeted. “The good news is that we can improve this easily w/ honest reflection. For example, are certain hairstyles discouraged in your workplace? Why? Can you think of someone who didn’t advance bc of how they spoke? Why? Examine what’s deemed ‘unprofessional’ around you & adapt it to 2019.”

READ: AOC Says Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro Is Responsible For Threats Against Rep. Ilhan Omar

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AOC Is Going To Be Speaking At The Democratic National Convention

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AOC Is Going To Be Speaking At The Democratic National Convention

Mario Tama / Getty Images

The Democratic National Convention is coming up and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been given one of the prime time speaking slots. AOC represents an electorate within the Democratic Party that is desperate for real change and progressive values.

AOC is going to be speaking at the Democratic National Convention and people are pumped.

The Democratic National Convention is happening from August 17 to 20 and the list of speakers is out. AOC, the outspoken congresswoman, is one of the speakers in a prime time spot. The full line up is a wide-ranging swath of politicians including Republican John Kasich.

Speakers will cover both sides of the aisle.

Monday: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (a Republican who ran against Donald Trump in the 2016 GOP primary) and former first lady Michelle Obama

Tuesday: Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former President Bill Clinton and Jill Biden, the candidate’s spouse.

Wednesday: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former President Barack Obama and the yet-unnamed vice presidential nominee.

Thursday: New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, California Sen. Kamala Harris, the Biden family and the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Sen. Harris was recently announced as the vice-presidential nominee. This would mean that someone else would replace her on Thursday night. Rumors are circulating that it could be either Susan Rice or Stacey Abrams.

The DNC is receiving praise for offering up the slate of speakers.

The DNC is a virtual event this year because of Covid-19. If you want to watch the convention from August 17-20, you can watch it here. You can also check out the full schedule here so you know what you want to see.

READ: Joe Biden Calls Kamala Harris A ‘Fearless Fighter’ After Tapping Her To Be His Running Mate

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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