Rep. Ilhan Omar said that people in the U.S. need to accept that their country’s power comes from racism and that it’s history is “built on the oppression of black bodies.”
“From slavery to Jim Crow to redlining to mass incarceration to voter suppression, racism is part of the foundation of American power,” she said Thursday during a panel discussion on Capitol Hill.
“Our task as organizers is not only to all out the specific incidences of racism,” Omar added. “It is to recognize that our history is built on the oppression of black bodies.”
Rep. Omar, the first Somali refugee elected to Congress, also expressed the belief that in a “racist society,” it’s simply not enough to not be racist. “We must be anti-racist,” she said, quoting Angela Davis.
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be nonracist,” Rep. Omar said. “We must be anti-racist.”
Rep. Omar has previously spoken critically of America, including in February, when she blamed the U.S. for catastrophic flooding in other countries.
Omar told U.S. citizen that they need to ask themselves what the U.S. did wrong overseas to cause refugees to flock to this country.
“When you see a Somali refugee or an Iraqi refugee or a Libyan refugee, we often are like, ‘this is my neighbor — they must have survived some struggle.’ We don’t ever pause to think, ‘What American policy made them come over here?'” she said.