‘Misquoting’ AOC has nothing to do with racism

AOC uses her status as a brown woman as a shield to paint the media in a false light.


Marina Jaimes, Opinions Columnist

I find a lot of similarities between me and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

When she was sworn into Congress about a month ago, a picture of her family appeared on her Instagram story explaining that “in true Puerto Rican fashion,” she brought more than the allowed guest limit for the ceremony.

She also said her choice of wearing red lipstick and hoop earrings were to pay homage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and to serve as a role model to Latinas everywhere.

As a Puerto Rican woman, this was something I connected to.  I still found it troubling when Ocasio-Cortez used the very traits she and I share to attack the media for a headline that read “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Stephen Colbert: I give ‘zero’ f*cks  about upsetting senior Democrats.”

Yes, this headline was misleading. But throughout the entire debacle, many failed to realize that the only word quoted in headline was “zero,” which was completely factual. Ocasio-Cortez then responded by claiming she was misquoted because “brown women cursing” drives clicks. Her analysis of the situation demonstrates that even she does not know the purpose of quotes used in the headline.

Ocasio-Cortez correctly uses her status as a Latina to empower the women around her. But when she uses the same status to paint brown women as victims, it detracts from the red lipstick, hoop-earring wearing,  fierce Latina many people, including me, see her as.

I recognize that women of my demographic will face discrimination at many points in their life. But cries of racism where it does not exist harms legitimate instances of racism and weakens Ocasio-Cortez’s image if she cannot look past a silly headline.

Like it or not, her petty criticism of the media is no different from labeling it as “fake news.”