News & Opinion | March 22, 2019 12:30 pm

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Accused of Using “Fake Accent” When Saying Her Name

The Rep. was accused by a guest of Laura Ingraham's Fox News show of doing "the Latina thing."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez addresses the crowd gathered at La Boom night club in Queens (Rick Loomis/Getty Images)
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The latest move of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that’s ruffling the right’s feathers: pronouncing her own name.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked her guest, attorney Joseph diGenova on Tuesday night if he ever noticed the way Ocasio-Cortez “introduces herself … does she take on that Obama, Obama put-on accent?”

DiGenova — who was once in the running to be Pres. Donald Trump’s lawyer — responded, “She does the Latina thing where she does her, you know, ‘Anastasio Ocasio-Cortez,’” misstating her name and using an exaggerated “rr” accent. He then performed an exaggerated Italian pronunciation of his own name, NBC News reported.

The next day, Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, had a comeback on Twitter. “Siri, show me the brand of ‘economic anxiety’ that mocks Americans of color as unintelligent + unskilled, while *also* mocking those same Americans for speaking more languages than you,” she tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t the only one who recognized the potential racial and societal implications this argument brings up.

“It’s a strange concept, that someone could get flagged for doing something out of the ordinary by doing one of the most ordinary, quotidian things — pronouncing her own name,” Ramón Antonio Martínez, an associate professor of race and education at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, told NBC.

Martínez added that mispronouncing and making an issue around Ocasio-Cortez’s name — as was the case in the Fox News segment — is a specific way of weaponizing one of her most personal aspects, as well as an attempt to diminish her power and erase her identity.