ALEXANDRIA, VA – On Wednesday evening Jaqueline Tucker answered “10 Questions” from Z-TV LIVE! guest host Jane Hess Collins about herself, her role as the City of Alexandria Race and Social Equity Officer, and how Alexandrians can get involved in our great city. Here’s five more questions with Jaqueline.
“Stopping systemic racism is not a spectator sport.”
What is the definition of racism?
It’s the combination of power plus prejudice. Power is the ability to make and influence decisions when you need to. Prejudice is sustained bigotry, hate, and violence. All people do not have power. Anyone can be prejudiced or biased or not like people. Power and prejudice combined is the ability to control and influence the lives of others based on race, and the outcome is racism. The power norm in our country is traditionally white, male, Christian, heterosexual and cisgender.
A more accessible definition may be, “the belief in the inherent superiority of one race over all others and thereby right to dominance, and implied.” Audre Lorde.
What was your first reaction to the scope of the protesting and rioting after being on job for two months?
(Laughing) Wow! People are still marching and protesting in major cities, today, after more than 30 days, but we’re just not seeing it in the news. A lot of that has to do with narrative, once the grassroots organized participants regained control of the peaceful protests the narrative was no longer interesting to the media. I’m encouraged by how many people are involved globally. There are so many multicultural representatives in this movement. There is so much in play now. Everyone realizes that police brutality is not right for anyone. It wasn’t just the death of George Floyd. We’ve seen this too many times in my lifetime, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Andres Guardado. There’s a continuous nature to it. People are tired and fed up. I’m encouraged by the enormity of what’s currently happening and I hope it continues until the demands are met and we’re all free.
You said during last night’s “10 Questions” that we should look inside ourselves to begin the process of stopping systemic racism. What if we look inside see racist thoughts or actions?
Let me offer a quote from Ijeoma Oluo, “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” The beauty of that quote is that we all have bias and prejudice in us. Some of us have internalized racism. We all grapple with it. We have to confront it actively every time we see it. Some of us confront it for a lifetime. Some of us have the privilege to choose to engage with it, the rest of us do not. It’s a journey for all of us, and it’s a worthwhile journey to see a society or city live up to its ideals that we are all created equally, have life, liberty and can pursue happiness.
When you were little what did you want to be when you grew up?
A WNBA basketball player. That league started when I was about 10. I’ve played basketball my entire life and I have basketball roots in my family. My uncle is a sports agent and he has strong ties with Michigan State. Magic Johnson, Glenn Robinson, and Isiah Thomas were some of his players. I’m 5’6” and I always played point guard.
What’s your favorite junk food base – salt or sugar?
I have a sweet tooth. I love Watermelon Sour Patch Kids. And I just found out that our office has a secret treat closet for all the meetings that take place in City Manager’s Office! People also bring homemade goodies into the office. That’s why I joined Orange Theory in my first month.
Jaqueline N. Tucker was appointed the first Race and Social Equity Officer for the City of Alexandria, effective February 10, 2020. Tucker directs the Alexandria’s race and social equity programs, and is working to build a framework to ensure policy decisions advance race and social equity for all Alexandria residents. She will collaborate with City departments, employees, community members and other stakeholders to help Alexandria become a more equitable community.