Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the underdog socialist candidate with a grandfatherly air, has grown into a legitimate challenger for what we thought would be an easy nomination for Hillary Clinton. Last week during the Democratic debate, Sanders – a candidate who has spent considerable time and energy attracting support from the black community – made a surprisingly racist remark.
“When you’re white you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto,” said Bernie Sanders. “You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” Despite racial statistics when it comes to poverty, I’m pretty sure it is possible to be devastatingly poor…and white.
“You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street, or dragged out of a car,” he continued.
Sanders’ questionable remarks come in answer to a question asked by CNN’s Don Lemon about “racial blind spots.”
Hillary Clinton, who has also spent considerable resources attracting black voters, was next to answer the question. “Being a white person in the United States of America, I know that I’ve never had the experience that so many people in this audience have had…I have spent a lot of time with the mothers of African-American children who have lost them – Trayvon Martin’s mother.”
Criticism ranged from ‘not all blacks are poor’ to ‘whites are also poor.’ According to sources about 19 million white people in America are poor. Not a figure to be proud of but its show once again the myopia of Sanders.
Both Clinton and Sanders have made criminal justice reform (with a focus on ending institutionalized racism) a priority during their campaigns.