Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview Tuesday that marginalized communities in the U.S. and across the globe “have no choice but to riot” under certain conditions.
“I believe that injustice is a threat to the safety of all people, because once you have a group that is marginalized and marginalized and marginalized, then you create a … like, once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot,” the New York representative said during an interview on “Ebro in the Morning,” a radio show on the New York hip hop station Hot 97.
“And it doesn’t even have to be that way,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez was discussing Israel and Palestine when she made the remarks, but included poor communities in the U.S. and across the world.
“I’m not even talking about Palestinians,” Ocasio-Cortez said about halfway through her almost hour-long interview, which The Hill flagged. “I’m talking about communities in poverty in the United States. I’m talking about Latin America. I’m talking about like all over the world.”
She noted riots in 1968, which occurred in numerous U.S. cities in the wake of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.
“Social destabilization is what happens when people do not have a plan or feel like there’s no vision for their future,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez did not address other riots that have transpired in U.S. cities, such as riots in Baltimore in 2015 in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died after suffering injuries while riding in the back of a police van following his arrest. Baltimore’s prosecutor charged six police officers with manslaughter and other charges, but they were ultimately acquitted due to lack of evidence that they caused Gray’s death.
Former President Barack Obama addressed the riots at the time, saying that riots occur when “you have impoverished communities that have been stripped away of opportunities, where children are born into abject poverty.”
Obama was not entirely sympathetic to the Baltimore rioters, lamenting the “criminals and thugs who tore up the place.”