5 Prominent Black Women Politicians Who Republicans Can't Stand Right Now Because They've Been Speaking Truth
Black women in Washington D.C. are facing lies, distortions, and whitesplaining for calling out racism and just doing their jobs.
April 22, 2021 at 4:56 pm
The administration of President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have an unprecedented number of Black women making sure that isht gets done and everyone gets told what’s what. But having this many women of color as government officials and nominees has also brought a sustained backlash from the Republican Party and conservatives.
Here are five ways in which these women have been speaking truth to America about its racism and the flack they've been facing for doing so.
Republicans just don’t understand Kristen Clarke
Attorney and activist Kristen Clarke, Biden’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, is clearly the right person for her prospective job, as recently-confirmed Attorney General Merrick Garland and many others have affirmed.
Yet, Republican Senators have continued to stall her confirmation with questions and accusations about things she didn’t say or that conservatives pretend not to understand. Most absurdly, Republicans have been raking her over the coals for her attempts to fight against anti-Black racism as President of Harvard's Black Students Association. In 1994, while arguing against the anti-Black theories espoused in the controversial book The Bell Curve, she wrote a letter to the Harvard Crimson which, in part, listed various scientific theories that could be used to show genetic advantages of Black people over other races.
Since 1994, Clarke has consistently explained that she was not trying to argue for Black superiority, but merely making a rhetorical point by listing theories that were equally as outlandish as The Bell Curve. But critics such as Fox News and Texas Senator John Cornyn have displayed a stunning lack of appreciation for sarcasm by accusing her of arguing that Black people are superior to white people.
To top it off, Ted Cruz has jumped in the competition for “which Senator from Texas will be the most ridiculous,” by accusing Clarke of advocating defunding the police, despite Clarke repeatedly stating that this is not her position and multiple police organizations supporting her nomination. While Clarke's nomination does not appear to be in jeopardy, the attacks against her and other female nominees of color have stood out during this confirmation process.
MTG unwisely comes for Auntie Maxine Waters
Conspiracy theorist and Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is introducing a bill to expel Rep. Maxine Waters from Congress for “inciting violence” for protesting police violence. How exactly has “Auntie Maxine,” as she’s become affectionately known, promoted violence? Surely Greene has hard evidence to support this charge, such as photos of Waters posing with AR-15s while sending veiled threats to her political opponents or tweets of her calling for the execution of leaders of the other party or examples of her hanging out with folks who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6? Wait, it was actually Greene who did all those things? Oh.
Rather, Greene is apparently responding to comments made by Rep. Waters urging people in Minnesota to “stay on the streets” in protest of police violence.
"I’m going to fight with all of the people who stand for justice," Waters said, according to Fox News, adding "We’ve got to get justice in this country and we cannot allow these killings to continue."
How protesting violence is somehow the same as inciting it is a mystery to most people, but the logical leap seems to have been no problem for Greene, who – to give a recent example of her head-scratching activities – also recently voted against a bill supporting leukemia patients because it didn’t ban the use of aborted fetal tissue, which had absolutely nothing to do with the provisions of the bill.
Greene’s motion against Waters is unlikely to go anywhere, just like her earlier stunt of filing an article of impeachment against President Biden the day after he took office. Greene is clearly seeking attention and hoping to distract from the White Power caucus that she tried to launch but is not distancing herself from organizing. But coming at the longest-serving Black woman in Congress is probably not the best way to prove you’re not a racist, Rep. Greene.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge unsurprisingly held to double standard
During her confirmation hearings for the role of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge was grilled on her very reasonable past comments about tackling systemic racism and acknowledging Republican brazenness in pushing through their agenda when they were in power. Now, Secretary Fudge is being accused of violating the Hatch Act, a law which forbids federal executive branch officials from using their official positions for certain partisan activities. Fudge has been questioned about speaking favorably of two Democratic candidates for a newly-open Senate seat in her home state of Ohio. The comments, made in response to a question during a White House press conference, may have been improper endorsements, some have alleged.
The scrutiny against Fudge is telling for how much it contrasts with the previous administration. To give one blatant example, Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recorded a speech for the Republican National Convention endorsing his boss while on an official visit to Jerusalem. According to watchdog organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, at least 16 Trump officials committed over 60 Hatch Act violations just in the month of October 2020. And yet, Trump officials were almost never sanctioned for blatantly ignoring the act. by supporting a congressional candidate, despite former President Trump and his cabinet members routinely violating the act with impunity. In fact, the only Trump official to be held legally responsible for such a violation was one of the few Black women to serve in a high position in his government. Lynne Patton, a HUD official under Trump, agreed to a fine and a four-year ban from serving in the federal government for helping to produce video with New York City housing tenants that aired during the RNC.
UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has her job questioned for stating the obvious about American racism
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield knows a thing or two about racism in America, having grown up in segregated Louisiana and attended college with former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. So when she spoke at the 30th annual summit of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and pointed out that America “weaved White supremacy into our founding documents and principles," she was speaking from a place of knowledge and experience. Indeed, anyone even vaguely familiar with American history sees that white dominance and Black oppression were key features of the U.S. from the beginning; just read the three-fifths clause of the U.S. Constitution.
And yet, as Blavity previously reported, a reporter for conservative outlet Newsmax questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on whether Thomas-Greenfield would be fired over the remarks, which were similar to criticism that Chinese officials have made about the United States, as if that somehow made the comments less true or relevant. The reporter rightfully had her hat handed to her by Psaki, whose response gave the comment just the right amount of verbal side-eye: “Is the president going to remove an African American woman with decades of experience in the Foreign Service who is widely respected around the world from her position as ambassador to the UN? He is not,” Psaki deadpanned.
Vice President Kamala Harris criticized for basically everything
Since before she even took office, Vice President Kamala Harris has become a top target for Republicans and conservative pundits, as the heir apparent to President Biden has had her every word and action heavily scrutinized. Now that Harris has been put in charge of addressing the influx of migrants and asylum seekers at the southern border of the U.S., conservative pundits have suddenly decided to care about migrant children. These pundits are now criticizing Harris for not saying enough about the situation and for not visiting the border yet, feeding into the fallacy that photo ops are equivalent to actual policy work.
In addition to misguided criticisms of actual political issues, the crew at Fox News and other outlets have also taken to manufacturing scandals. The right-leaning New York Post has called out Harris for not commenting on the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a scandal in which Harris has no involvement or authority to intervene. Fox reporters recently castigated Harris for not saluting the military during public appearances, which, to note, would be technically inappropriate because she is not part of the military chain of command. Fox News even admitted that the tradition of saluting only goes back as far as President Reagan, and that Reagan acknowledged at the time that he was actually breaking protocol to do so.
The criticisms of Harris are far from new. Since the moment that Biden chose her as his running mate, Republicans responded to the now first woman and first person of color to become Vice President with a reaction that can be described in technical terms as “freaking the eff out.” Now that Harris has assumed a particularly powerful role as Vice President and has emerged as the highest ranking of many powerful Black women in Washington, D.C. at the moment, such ridiculousness, distortion and lies will likely continue. Harris, meanwhile, has brushed off these attacks and focused on important issues, such as condemning the recent killing of teenager Daunte Wright.
If things continue as they have so far, Harris and the other Black women in power now will rightly ignore the noise and concentrate on doing their jobs and serving the American people – a strategy that their political opponents might want to try one day.
Prayers are not enough. Daunte Wright should still be with us. While an investigation is underway, our nation needs justice and healing, and Daunte’s family needs to know why their child is dead—they deserve answers.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) April 13, 2021