Just kidding. His best friends are all white ;). Still, as someone who likes to throw ideas like maximum wage and wealth tax into otherwise civil political discussions, I kinda thought we were on the same side. So I’m not sure what to think if his latest piece, “Black People Need to Stay in Their Damn Place.”
Tone policing aside, his argument is this: black people suffer due to wealth inequality, Bernie Sanders wants to challenge wealth inequality, and thus Bernie should be unquestioningly supported by blacks.
This argument is bullshit.
Economic equality is great, of course, but economic reforms have never affected white and non-white Americans equally. Take the New Deal, the crowning achievment of economic liberalism, which authorized a lower minimum wage for blacks, and paid white landlords for leaving fields fallow while forcing 100,000 black farmers off the land. When push comes to shove, from FDR to Clinton, white liberals have been all too willing to throw minorities under bus in order to win economic reform for whites.
More basically, racial injustice is seen across the economic spectrum. Middle class latinos are arrested more than middle class whites, educated Asians earn less at the same jobs, black college students are killed by police. We need politicians that address racism, not ignore it.
That isnt to say Bernie couldnt be a great candidate. But he needs to be pushed to acknowledge realities outside his white liberal bubble. The protests do that, and they are working - he’s gone from having no position on criminal justice reform and the war on drugs to talking about those very issues, and he’s hired black activists on to his staff. That’s why we protest politicians, especially ones who might possibly be our best bet. If we don’t speak, no one listens. And if we have one party that is actively racist and one party that passively ignores racism, who do you think will be left behind?