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In an excerpt from an interview with The Root, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) acknowledged that some of the new congresswomen of color have been facing discrimination when he was asked if the Democratic leadership needed to do a better job of supporting progressive women of color like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

The freshman congresswoman was fiercely criticized over her remarks about AIPAC to the point that fellow Democrats considered drafting a resolution that would directly condemn her. Party leadership settled on a more comprehensive anti-hate resolution, calling for respect of all religious viewpoints. Activists sharply criticized Democratic leadership over their handling of the backlash Omar endured, arguing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was not fully prepared to welcome diverse perspectives that challenged the status quo—including the Democratic Party itself.


While he did critique the party leadership over their handling of the racism Omar has been facing, Booker said that “What we’re seeing now amongst black leaders is that they are more subject to racist attacks,” he said. “And we should all be, black or white, condemning that kind of hate.”

Pushed on whether senior Democrats need to be more aggressive in their support for more progressive points of view, Booker gave a measured response.


“What I see is that we have more Muslims, Hindus, first Native Americans, we see incredible diversity,” he said. “In the African-American community, we see incredible diversity, and we’re seeing a rise in hate crimes and hate speech in our country and these are things we need to resoundingly condemn and allow the marketplace of ideas to continue without the kind of bigotry we’re seeing right now really flaring up in our country.”

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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