Just when you thought that she could not get any more disingenuous and despicable, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene engaged in some wild intellectual dishonesty by accusing New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman of calling her the equivalent of the N-word. She also accused him of being “physically threatening” and deviously concocted an entire slew of falsehoods.
For those of who are unaware, last week both Bowman and Greene engaged in what could be most aptly described a verbal political spitfire on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
“The party’s hanging by a thread!” Bowman repeatedly cried out.
“Impeach Biden!” Greene said in response at one point.
At another point, Bowman demanded, “No more QAnon,” and Greene replied, “No more CNN.”
Later Bowman pleaded, “Do something about guns!” Greene retorted, “Right, so close the border!”
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To be sure, the language was heated (as is the case with most political rhetoric today). But Greene’s hyperbolic comments about the exchange with Bowman suggested something awful had occurred. Later, at a news conference, she said Bowman was “yelling, shouting, raising his voice, he was aggressive, his physical mannerisms are aggressive.”
“I feel threatened by him,” she added.
Anyone who has seen video of the exchange quickly realizes it betrays Greene’s blatant falsehoods. Both parties were engaged in volume at roughly the same decibels. Yes, Bowman was heckling her. Could his behavior be seen as somewhat annoying? Yes. But the same could be said for Green.
Was he trying to physically intimidate her? Absolutely not!
Greene later had the audacity to make this absurd statement: “I will tell you what’s on video is Jamaal Bowman shouting at the top of his lungs, cursing, calling me a horrible — calling me a white supremacist, which I take great offense to,” she said. “That’s like calling a person of color the N-word, which should never happen. Calling me a white supremacist is equal to that. That is wrong.”
This should be offensive to any reasonable person, but it is a particular affront to Black people. The N-word is the most heinous slur in the English language. It serves as the signature linguistic lexicon of white oppression of Black Americans. In fact, there is not another word that has its equivalent degree of degradation, denigration, dehumanization and demoralization.
The word was employed mercilessly by those who often embedded deep seeded hatred and enmity to men and women of African descent. It was a term used by others as they arrogantly exploited a group of humans, depriving them of their basic human dignity and culture. The same people were treated as subhuman, and in many cases not much better than animals. They were viewed as human chattel. The result of such lingering indignities remain with us today in the 21st century.
Greene was strongly aware her reaction would quickly be believed and spread by her right-wing MAGA supporters, garnering intense racial hostility toward Rep. Bowman. A vulnerable white woman in direct danger, who needs protection from a large, violent, and possibly rapacious black man, or so the story goes.
No reasonable person can dispute the fact that Bowman vs. Greene is an incident about racism. But it is also a story that represents white bigotry toward Black and other non-white people. It is an incident that vehemently personifies how white people can — and often do — manipulate and exploit their social stations in life in an effort to put people of color “in their place,” so to speak.
A white woman’s description of events, no matter how distorted or blatantly false, likely will be believed over the words of their non-white counterparts, at least by a large group of people.
It is the classic, unfiltered, textbook definition of white supremacy and white privilege, pure and simple.