Recently, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) was on Fox and Friends and apologized to a Muslim female co-host for offensive and unwarranted attacks on Facebook. This conversation went viral, so people started to ask if Foxx’s apology was sincere, or if she was making an opportunistic move.
I was the journalist, talking about this, to Foxx on Fox and Friends. I asked her about her use of the old term “dirty back.” (Below is a clip from my time on the show.)
For the record, Foxx’s apology to the Muslim co-host, which she herself highlighted as genuine, was accepted by the co-host.
Foxx’s use of that word was one of the many examples of social media flirting, hijacking, and innuendo by Ms. Foxx, which should have concerned her colleagues and her constituents, not a Muslim female TV co-host.
However, Foxx’s apology seemed like a calculated ploy to protect her chances of election on Nov. 6. Instead of taking responsibility for her own words, Foxx claimed her apology was genuine. Why else was her apology broadcast immediately after she said it?
The letter to Foxx’ fellow co-host that was sent by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) seems to reinforce this notion. It reads, in part:
“Your recent remarks, while authentic, indicate a level of ignorance that will not be tolerated in a House Republican Conference.”
Not only is it an accurate characterization of Foxx’s remarks and intent, the NRCC is right. This level of ignorance, along with Foxx’s repeated attacks on our communities on social media, were not tolerated. I hope that Foxx’s apology is sincere, and that this episode will serve as a wakeup call to her colleagues in Congress to stop using words such as “dirty back” when addressing others and to place ourselves in others’ shoes before expressing a personal opinion.
It’s been seven months since I received the letter from the NRCC and it has been very difficult for me to deal with what Foxx said, and to deal with the attacks that ensued from that day forward. Clearly, Foxx’s comment was not well-received or respected by the Muslim community. Perhaps there will be some resolution by Foxx receiving more support and understanding from her colleagues and the Republican Party.
However, this episode will also be a lesson to us all, where we must learn that social media is a two-way street. Politicians can tweet and post whatever they wish, and people who don’t have the same political agenda may come up with their own points of view.
However, people do make mistakes, and they’re no less human than any other person.
The victim, Mr. Rafiq, stands up and says he fully accepts Foxx’s apology, and he is ready to move on.
He does not feel that there was any malice in Foxx’s actions, but he does want people to learn a lesson through this situation. There is another simple reason that Mr. Rafiq does not regret his decision to publicly speak out.
This is a chance for the Republican Party and Congress as a whole to make a statement that rejecting hateful language will not be tolerated, and Congresswoman Foxx’s behavior was unacceptable.
Each of us should ask ourselves, as a society, what we think and do about hate speech and bigotry. It’s time that Americans become better people.