Ayanna Pressley Doubles Down After Being Criticized For Her Devotion To Black Folks: 'I Am Black With A Capital B'
She will not sway away from "identity politics" to appease critics.
July 23, 2019 at 3:08 pm
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley pushed back against critics demanding she avoids embracing "identity politics."
The freshman Democratic representative addressed the criticism during a town hall at Busboys and Poets in Washington D.C. on July 17. According to The Washington Examiner, the initial backlash came a little earlier in the month at another speaking event.
Pressley spoke at the Netroots Nation convention panel discussion a few days prior about identity, stating Black politicians should be an advocate for Black rights and the same goes for gay, Muslim and brown politicians.
"We don’t need Black faces that don’t want to be a Black voice," the 45-year-old said at Netroots in Philly. "If you’re worried about being marginalized and stereotyped, please don’t even show up because we need you to represent that voice."
She received criticism from the right about her bold declaration. While at Busboys and Poets, she doubled down and reaffirmed her stance.
"Let me say this about identity: It matters," the Massachusetts Democrat said Wednesday. "I am Black with a capital 'B,' I'm a woman with a capital 'W.' I'm Black and a woman, and unapologetically proud to be both."
Rep Ayanna Pressley on intersectionality @ Busboys and Poets pic.twitter.com/vYL0sTEW9s
— Mrs. Wind-Up Bird (@Caroxad) July 18, 2019
She went further.
"I'm trying to understand why you can be a veteran and say you want to fight for veterans' rights," she added. "You could have battled and overcome substance abuse disorder and say I'm going to fight for the recovery community. You could be a former ironworker and say I'm going to fight for workers' rights, and no one flinches. But as a woman, you have to apologize for wanting to affirm your rights as a woman. And as a Black woman, I'm expected to be an apologist."
In her rousing speech to supporters, she said identity politics isn't the most dangerous thing in America — the rise of white nationalism, racism and white supremacy is.
"They would have you, and I mean the proverbial 'they,' believe that what is fraying at the fabric of America, what is killing us as a country, is identity politics," she said. "I think what's ruining our nation is white supremacy and hate."