Black Caucus chair says America's growing diversity faces 'dragon' of hate

The new chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassCBC marks 400th anniversary of slaves' arrival in US Senate could protect girls from sexual exploitation — but will it? King incites furor with abortion, rape and incest remarks MORE (D-Calif.), says those who oppose America's increasing diversity have “essentially unleashed a dragon” of hate.

“America is becoming more diverse and that diversity is leading to the browning of our nation,” Bass said Thursday during a speech at the swearing-in ceremony of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members.

“Instead of a celebration, the reaction from some has essentially unleashed a dragon, a dragon that is gasping its last breath and so he is dangerous as he lashes out,” she continued. “The dragon is hate, the dragon is white supremacy and they have a leader.”

Bass warned that Americans have gone from being “embarrassed to emboldened” by white supremacy.

But the lawmaker also expressed hope, citing the CBC’s power and influence in the 116th Congress. 

The CBC added nine new members following the midterm elections, bringing its total membership to 55, the largest since its formation in 1971.

“At this moment in history, we are equipped to lead like never before, we are equipped to govern, we are equipped to resist when and where it’s needed,” Bass said.

The CBC, which has long been dominated by Democrats, carries a significant amount of weight within the Democratic Caucus as a whole. Rep. Jim ClyburnJames (Jim) Enos ClyburnYoung insurgents aren't rushing to Kennedy's side in Markey fight Israel denies Omar and Tlaib entry after Trump tweet Democrats race across country to woo activists MORE (D-S.C.), who is the Assistant Democratic Leader and third-highest ranking Democrat in the House, previously served as a chairman of the CBC. 

—Tess Bonn