Rep. Jamaal Bowman: Time to ‘stop spreading the myth of American exceptionalism’

Newly elected Rep. Jamaal Bowman said Monday that the U.S. Capitol riot provided Congress the opportunity to “stop spreading the myth of American exceptionalism” and seriously address systemic racism in the country.

“This is a chance for all of us in Congress to sort of begin at a new baseline and stop spreading the myth of American exceptionalism and accept the fact that this is exactly who we are, and this is exactly who we’ve been throughout our country’s history,” Mr. Bowman, New York Democrat, told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Monday evening.

“Whenever there’s social progress, there’s White backlash, particularly from the people who believe that this needs to remain a White-dominant nation, and they are afraid of the multi-racial democracy that we are becoming,” he continued. “Right after we send our first African American and Jewish senators in Georgia to the Senate, right after that, the day after, we have an attack on the Capitol. 

“This is a new baseline,” he added. “And now we have to deal with the issue of White nationalism seriously in police departments, but also throughout all of America’s institutions.”

Mr. Bowman suggested that White supremacy played a role in law enforcement’s response to the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol, comparing it to the heavy-handed response to “peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters” over the summer.

“There’s obviously a lot of questions that need to be answered there,” he said.

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