White people being credited for something initiated or created by people of color is nothing new, but it’s always infuriating when it has to be pointed out.
CNN ran a piece on Saturday (September 28) titled “These five freshman congresswomen changed history by becoming unlikely leaders on impeachment,” crediting five largely unknown — and white — members of Congress with the recent acceleration towards President Trump’s impeachment. Many are calling this problematic, considering Reps. Maxine Waters, Rashid’s Tlaib and other women of color have been at the forefront of impeachment for many months.
The article features Representatives Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Elaine Luria of Virginia — all members who did not support impeachment as late as mid-September, until, as CNN cites, a whistleblower revealed Donald Trump allegedly asked the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, the highest polling 2020 Democratic presidential candidate (an action that easily qualifies as a high crime). All five members also have either national security or military backgrounds.
This had many on Twitter calling out the cable news network for whitewashing the movement that was actually started by Rep. Maxine Waters and the freshman women of color in Congress called “The Squad.”
What is this?! So, did Maxine Waters and the Squad just evaporate into thin air and never existed? These women profiled didn't lead the charge, and waited until it was safe. They aren't heroes, but people who hedged their bets in "insecure" districts. https://t.co/Z2IKiGddbb— Bärí A. Williams (@BariAWilliams) September 29, 2019
please tell me more about these white freshmen congresswomen who changed their minds about impeachment last week and have now “changed history” pic.twitter.com/n3NeJm9tC9— matt murray (@ThatMattMurray) September 28, 2019
Late to the party and way too self-congratulatory for women who held back while woc blazed a trail.— Emma Magenta (@EmmaMagenta) September 28, 2019
What about the freshmen women who started with We Will from day one? All of the strong women of color? Why are the white women getting lauded so much for coming around while the women of color led this? @AOC @RashidaTlaib @IlhanMN @AyannaPressley— Kristen L (@Kristen86655961) September 28, 2019
Good job on whitewashing who’s been at the forefront of fighting Trump & allowing these congresswomen to be racist on tape. Truly, profiles of courage. pic.twitter.com/O6NjsUYLZt— X (@XLNB) September 29, 2019
This clip is terrible. Not only are these women not at the forefront of impeachment, they actively shaded and condescended towards the black and brown women who have actually been fighting for the good of our nation. This is a truly terrible clip.— X (@XLNB) September 29, 2019
The story gives these women credit for leading impeachment when in fact they were late in the game followers. If not for the work of women of color, there would have been no impeachment movement for them to glom onto, a fact this story seems to forget.— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) September 29, 2019
.@RepMaxineWaters was the leader on impeachment!— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) September 29, 2019
The Squad includes House members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Michigan’s Rashida Talib – all of which have been publicly calling for the impeachment of Trump since officially becoming congresswomen in January.
Talib even famously came under fire when she said during a rally in February that she was going to “impeach the m*****f****r,” referring to Trump. Now that impeachment has become popular among Democrats in the House, it’s time to give credit to these new five?
CNN even brings up The Squad in their piece, but diminishes their contributions since they each represent districts that are reliably Democratic, and where impeachment is politically popular. Meanwhile, the five white Congresswomen come from districts that are mixed Democrat and Republican, and in some cases where a majority voted for Trump.
“Until now, the House freshmen group that got the most headlines is the so-called ‘squad,’ who come from reliably Democratic areas far different from the swing districts these ‘Badasses’ represent,” the article, written by Dana Bash, reads.
The Squad aren’t the only people of color CNN is leaving out. Maxine Waters has famously not only been one of Trump’s biggest critics, but publicly called for Trump to vacate his office in 2017.
The five white Congresswomen spotlighted by CNN are, for many, welcome additions to the call for impeachment, but their chorus of voices shouldn’t drown out the women who spoke up when it was unpopular and inconvenient to do so.
Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images