Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Boyfriend Offer White People Tips on Combating Racism: Chip Away 'Without Judgment'

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her boyfriend Riley Roberts offered a gradual three-step approach for helping white people do their part to combat racism.

The New York Democrat took on a wide range of questions from followers in her latest Instagram Q & A session Friday night, including one about how white people can help "chip away" at racist beliefs among fellow Caucasian friends and family. Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts--who has largely avoided public remarks during his girlfriend's time in office--offered side-by-side "tips on combating racism as a White person," as well as responses to questions about generational wealth and the "hot mess" Iowa caucuses.

"Talk to other White people," read a caption for the first step offered by Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts. "Most people don't want to be/think they are racist, but they also don't know or believe that some of the things they say/think can be racist."

"Approaching the conversation in a 'right vs. wrong' frame *before* a 'racist vs. not racist vs. anti-racist' discussion can help create progress with folks who are prone to defensiveness," read the caption for step number two. "And always being open to learning about racist things we may have said or done without judgement or defensiveness," Ocasio-Cortez added.

"One of the most helpful ways is just to talk and try to help teach them about why some of the things they say or think are 'wrong' and not necessarily 'racist,' but that they're wrong, and that will sort of chip away and contribute to some sort of development in this area," continued Roberts.

Finally, the third step called on pushing for incremental change of people's opinions about race rather than trying to bulldoze over someone's potentially long-held beliefs and positions.

"Focus on 'chipping away' at racist paradigms in a given conversation instead of trying to take someone all the way from racist to not racist or even admitting racism. Let people sit and reflect with the conversation you've had with them -- it takes time," according to Ocasio-Cortez.

The New York congresswoman responded to other questions, including one in which she described last week's dysfunctional Iowa caucus process as a "hot mess" in which no one wants to take responsibility. She also addressed a connection between generational wealth and an "impostor syndrome" evoked by many systemic benefactors. "A lot people don't acknowledge the help they received along the way," Ocasio-Cortez noted.

Ocasio-Cortez also discussed mental health reforms, the country's prison system, and whether or not undocumented immigrants pay taxes.

"[The U.S. needs to do a] better job at handling the mentally ill ... we can stop using jails as lazy substitutes for mental health care & actually invest in mental health to reduce the number of people we incarcerate among other things. That and #MedicareForAll," she wrote in a caption.

"Undocumented migrants pay a s**tload of taxes. More than Amazon. In 2015, it was $20 billion dollars," she wrote. IRS data for 2015 shows the agency reviewed 4.4 million income tax returns from workers without Social Security numbers and collected $23.6 billion in income taxes from these individuals.

As New York Post's Jon Levine noted Saturday, web developer Roberts grew up in Paradise Valley, Arizona, before meeting the future congresswoman at Boston University.

alexandria ocasio-cortez riley roberts
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her boyfriend Riley Roberts offered a three-step approach to helping white people do their part to combat racism. Screenshot: AOC | Instagram
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Boyfriend Offer White People Tips on Combating Racism: Chip Away 'Without Judgment' | Politics