Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called upon boyfriend Riley Roberts Sunday night to share his anti-racism expertise with “other white people.”
“I think a lot of people, they don’t want to be racist,” Roberts, 30, said in an Instagram video posted by his freshman congresswoman girlfriend, who asked him what had helped him in “combating racism as a white person.”
“They don’t think that they’re racist, but they also don’t know some of the things they believe or say are and can be racist.”
Ocasio-Cortez has been vocal in the past about the role “white supremacy” purportedly plays in shaping various modern-day American issues.
In Roberts, whom Ocasio-Cortez has reportedly been dating since college, she’s found a more than willing ally in her fight against racism.
“One of the effective ways is just to talk and kind of help teach [white people] about why some of the things they believe or say or think are wrong — not necessarily racist — but that they’re wrong and that will sort of chip away and contribute to some development in this area but not necessarily take somebody from being a racist to not being a racist in one conversation,” Roberts said on Sunday.
“And it’s just always being open to learning about racist things that we may have said or done without judgment or defensiveness,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
Conservatives mocked the couple for video, with some social media commenters implying Roberts’ participation was coerced.
Looks like she has a gun jammed into his side. Should we check in on this guy? https://t.co/1x9w5spUcx
— Andy Stanislaw (@ajstanislaw) February 8, 2020
Fox News contributor Stephen Miller suggested Roberts’ body language revealed plenty about his enthusiasm for being recruited into Ocasio-Cortez’s video.
When she makes you watch Crash. pic.twitter.com/ukH3UoWqyh
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) February 8, 2020
“She is so great at that. I didn’t even see her lips move. It genuinely looks like her puppet is talking and thinking for itself,” one commenter tweeted.
Riley Roberts, ‘Bin Raccoon’
Ocasio-Cortez has kept her relationship with Roberts out of the public — for the most part.
In May, she revealed that Twitter mockery of her ginger-bearded boyfriend had spurred him into getting a new haircut.
“Apologies for the blatantly mean tweet but THIS is what AOC’s boyfriend looks like? incredible scenes, truly representing all the ambitious and stunning millenial women shackled to boyfriends who look like bin raccoons out there,” French feminist writer Marie Le Conte said in a since-deleted tweet.
Conte’s remark sparked a flurry of commentary about Roberts’ looks.
Wait a minute…AOC's boyfriend looks like THIS? Me, at my high school graduation? WTF???? pic.twitter.com/MNzebnbmi3
— dspring (@darrendspringer) May 3, 2019
Roberts and Ocasio-Cortez got the hint.
“The internet roasted Riley into getting a haircut/glow up after #KnockDownTheHouse,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in the caption to an Instagram story video.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and boyfriend Riley Roberts speak out on racism during an Instagram video on February 9, 2020.: Screen grab