Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says White Supremacy Is Like a Virus and It's America's 'Original Sin': 'It Never Went Away. It Was Just Dormant'

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suggested people in the U.S. need to be more open about their own subconscious racial biases if the country is to be fully "inoculated" of white supremacy.

In a series of tweets posted in the wake of the shooting in El Paso, Texas, by a suspected white supremacist that killed 22 people, Ocasio-Cortez said racism is the "original sin" of the country and has never truly gone away.

Ocasio-Cortez described how there is a difference between white supremacists and white supremacy, comparing the latter to a virus.

"Supremacists are those who have been completely overcome by the disease, but supremacy—the virus—exists on a larger scale beyond just the infected. It also lays dormant."

The congresswoman used several examples throughout history, leading right up to President Donald Trump's supporters chanting "send her back" about Rep. Ilhan Omar at a rally in North Carolina, as proof that white supremacy has frequently been active in the U.S.

The chanting arrived after Trump suggested Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and two other congresswomen of color "go back" to their own counties despite all four being U.S. citizens and three being born in this country.

"White supremacy is often subconscious and clearly, our nation has not been inoculated," she wrote. "WS is our nation's original sin; the driving logic of slavery, of Native genocide, of Jim Crow, of segregation, of mass incarceration, of 'Send Her Back'. It never went away. It was just dormant."

Ocasio-Cortez added that ending white supremacy in this country will be difficult as it will require a lot of self-reflection.

"We wish it was as simple as denouncing a white hood, a burnt cross, vile language. But we need to address where supremacy *begins,* not just where it ends," she said.

"Recognizing white supremacy in ourselves—our institutions, our subconscious, our own past remarks or acts (no matter how consciously unintentional), is what makes the healing work ahead challenging.

"It is incredibly important that we recognize that perfectly normal, good people are capable of aiding racism & white supremacy.

"Recognizing that is not about pillorying people. It's about learning to recognize *the virus* & end an oppressive system designed to hurt us *all.*"

Ocasio-Cortez recently accused the New York Times of helping to aid white supremacy with a controversial front-page headline about Trump's speech discussing the massing shooting in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, where a further nine people were killed over the same weekend.

The Times originally ran with "Trump urges unity vs. racism" for their headline and was heavily criticized for failing to address the president's own inflammatory and racist rhetoric, especially after it was mirrored in the suspected gunman's own online manifesto. The Times later changed the headline to "assailing hate but not guns" for its second edition.

Ocasio-Cortez's views on white supremacy and racism in the U.S. were also expressed by Princeton professor Eddie Glaude during an emotional speech he gave on MSNBC, which went viral.

Speaking on Deadline: White House, Glaude said it is too simple to blame the mass shooting in El Paso on Trump as the country's "evils" have existed for years.

"It's easy for us to place it all on Donald Trump's shoulders," he said. It's easy for us to place Pittsburgh on his shoulders, it's easy for me to place Charlottesville on his shoulders, it's easy for us to place El Paso on his shoulders, this is us!"

"And if we're going to get past this, we can't blame it on him. He's a manifestation of the ugliness that's in us."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a press conference, to address remarks made by US President Donald Trump earlier in the day, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on July 15, 2019. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty