Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said on Capitol Hill Thursday that people should accept that American power comes from racism and that “our 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,” Omar said at an panel discussion she hosted focused on “racial justice.”
Omar began he remarks by quoting activist Angela Davis, who just happened to be among Time magazine’s 100 Women of the Year, published on Thursday.
“In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist,” Omar said. “We must be anti-racist.”
“Angela Davis spoke those words nearly 50 years ago, but they continue to echo today,” Omar said.
“Our task as organizers is not only to all out the specific incidences of racism,” Omar said. “It is to recognize that our history is built on the oppression of black bodies.”
Like the panelists at the event, titled Five Reasons to #ProtectBlackDissent, Omar said blacks have been targeted by the FBI, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X.
Omar also referenced Fred Hampton, a leader of the Chicago Black Panthers who was killed in a police raid in 1969.
And this targeting continues today, Omar claimed.
“We might think this type of surveillance was a thing of the past, but as William Faulkner said, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past,’” Omar said.
Omar commented on the purpose of the panel discussion, including calling for the FBI to revoke its “Black Identity Extremist” terrorism category and end its “Iron Fist” program, which is designed to “target department resources on spying, surveilling, and investigating black activists, including through undercover agents,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Omar said:
The reason for attacks and surveillance and secrecy is because [black activists] threaten the system that is built on the power of one race over another. There is no greater threat than a coalition of people working together to upend a system that is built on oppression.
This is why they conflate white nationalism — a legitimate terrorist threat responsible for countless acts of terrorism in our country — with peaceful movements organizing for their rights.
Our communities have been targeted, surveilled and undermined for far too long. Our government should not be sabotaging the First Amendment rights of peaceful protesters.
Omar also called on Congress to revoke Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which Congress extended for three months after it was set to expire in late 2019.
“But that’s not enough,” Omar said. “We cannot see these efforts in a vacuum.”
“We must recognize that this is the result of centuries of oppression and undoing that oppression will take more than just laws,” Omar said.
As Breitbart News has reported, Omar has regularly criticized the United States:
“There is something that I get criticized for all the time—it’s not what you think—so don’t, like, don’t gasp,” Omar said at a Netroots Nation event in July, 2019 “It is that I am anti-American because I criticize the United States.
“And because I am ashamed of it continuing to live in its hypocrisy that I work so hard to make sure that others who’ve had that, like, why, just be American,” she said. “Why don’t you be more like an American, can just continue to say that. Why can’t you be more like an American? It used to be a very positive thing.
“We export American exceptionalism,” Omar continued. “The Great America. The land of liberty and justice. That is, you know, you ask anybody in, walking on the side of the street somewhere in the middle of the world, they will tell you America the Great.”
“But we don’t live those values here,” Omar stated.
“And, so, that hypocrisy is one that I am bothered by,” she said. “I want America the Great to be America the Great.”