Bernie and Racism

racismFor months, prominent progressives have criticized Bernie Sanders for not adequately addressing racism. Surely he’s aware of that criticism. But it’s had little impact on his campaign.

On The Guardian, Steven W Thrasher argued:

The senator should be making racism a cornerstone of his stump speech, but instead he’s practically ceding black and Latino voters to Hillary Clinton.

On Sunday, I went to Bernie Sanders’s press conference in Washington DC. … I left the press event extremely disappointed. …Two things he failed to mention: black and Hispanic voters, two constituencies whose support he has failed, repeatedly, to gain.

On Facebook Live, Van Jones commented:

Bernie got stopped by Black voters. How did that happen? … The economic populists did not have a well-articulated view of racism. It’s almost as if they were putting forward a view of what you could call “trickle down justice.” Deal with the economy, and then racism will disappear, that everything is a function of class and the economic elite robbing the country. That perspective made it more difficult to develop relationships.

… We can no longer have an analysis that is not “inter-sectional,” that affirms class above everything else, and does not deal with race, gender, and sexuality.

On Facebook, Steven Shults stated:

My fellow white folks, ask your non-white friends about this topic and *listen* to them when they explain why they need to hear more from Bernie, why the usual campaign platitudes are not enough, and why marching with Dr. King doesn’t count as a promise to put these issues front and center.

All forms of oppression are inter-related. A systemic analysis is imperative. But Bernie’s focus on economics discounts other issues.

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