Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) outside the U.S. Capitol addressing a November 2017 rally against the Republican tax plan
Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

If official U.S. policy demands that the White House not negotiate with terrorists, then U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has unofficially declared that Congress shall not negotiate with white supremacists.

Waters defiantly led the way in January 2017 when she and other black members of Congress boycotted President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, saying, “I don’t honor him, I don’t respect him, and I don’t want to be involved with him.”


She skipped the 2018 SOTU, too.

So no one should have been surprised when Waters said during a rally in Los Angeles on Saturday that citizens should confront and admonish anyone who works for the Trump administration.

“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd,” Waters said. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents.”

Of course, “common ground,” “civil discourse” and “white privilege” Twitter came after Waters, starting with her colleague House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):


Of course, Trump couldn’t resist dropping an insulting tweet at Waters, which can only be taken as a dog whistle for his supporters to harass her:


There is no reasoning with these people, and Waters is not wasting time trying to convince the public otherwise. Just as black women tried to warn white America during the 2016 elections, Waters is warning us not to waste our time seeking common ground with a virulent racist or the bigots who choose to work for him.

Of course, the white men and women who consider her approach taking the “low road” care little about the death threats directed at her because they are not the subjects of Trump’s hateful rhetoric, his xenophobic immigration policies, or his penchant for viewing black people with opinions as property rather than as free human beings.


The majority of white journalists condemning Waters refuse to confess that their whiteness inoculates them from his bigotry and that it compels them to prioritize the humanity of the abuser over the discomfort of the victims who face Trump’s abuse.

There is no “both sides” debate between a black woman who is using her mouth to resist hate and a white supremacist who can write racist policy. But the dissent against Waters has little to do with so-called civil discourse.


Waters is an easy target because she is a black woman. She is loud outspoken, angry passionate and divisive candid. She is also the most disrespected and unprotected woman in America, as Malcolm X proclaimed about black women. That fact explains why much of white America—journalists and all—sympathizes with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a white woman who functions as a modern-day Joseph Goebbels, over Waters, a black woman who is challenging the fascism that Trump is normalizing on a daily basis.

It tells us that no matter how high black women ascend in the power structure of America, their standing will always take second place to white women, their racism be damned.


Comparatively, Waters’ perseverance personifies the resilience of black America; she is its moral pulse in times when white America refuses to have a heart. Her tenor toward Trump during his time in office reveals a woman unencumbered by the white, privileged social graces of Washington, D.C., that require elected officials to honor the president’s position as head of state and to reason with the racists who elected him.

Basically, she doesn’t give a damn what you or anyone else thinks about her disdain for Trump. Waters is a 79-year-old black woman, an old-school playa whose decades of congressional pedigree haven’t diminished her radical black womanhood. In fact, one could argue that Trump’s America has awakened it.


That makes much of white America, middle-ground advocates and all, very, very uncomfortable—even so-called liberals. “Auntie Maxine,” as she has been affectionately called since taking on Trump, is woke and will continue shouting to the rafters about the president’s white supremacist tyranny—no matter if much of white America insists on sleeping through it.

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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