I get it, I do. A lot of people are super-excited to see a socialist like Bernie Sanders surging in the polls. You’re thrilled by the size of his crowds, and you love the fact he’s apparently not backed by megacorporations, unlike Hillary Clinton. I was pretty excited to see him run, too, because in primary season, it’s great to have someone who can pull the more mainstream candidates to the left.
And I get that a lot of you are upset by what you consider rude and unnecessary interruptions by black activists. But the way many of you have responded? You’re doing a lot of damage. Progressive candidates won’t win without black votes. And Sanders hasn’t done a good job of convincing people of color that he’s their candidate. Those of you berating the activists for not being soft-spoken and polite enough aren’t doing him a single favor. You’d be doing him a kindness if you stopped yelling at them and started asking him to step up more on racial justice.
I’d like him to win, you know. If I can’t have Elizabeth Warren, I’d like to have somebody who’s willing to take on the moneyed interests. I’d like to have someone who’s looking out for the middle class. At the very least, I want him to be so popular that, even if he’s unelectable, he still lights a fire under the conservaDems who’ve been too timid to buck the system. That would be awesome. But none of it’s going to happen if you and me and him don’t take black activists seriously.
So this week, I’m going to be sharing quite a few posts I’ve been reading that have helped me understand the situation, why things are happening, and what Bernie needs to do in order to win. I hope you’ll listen to these voices. They’re telling you how Bernie can win. And that’s what you want, right?
Start here, please, with a piece by Zoe Samudzi that should answer many of your questions and objections.
Rather than berate black people for their lack of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, perhaps you should ask us why.
Why am I tired of Bernie Sanders?
Because of the white fragility continually employed to insulate him from black criticism.
Because of the tone-policing of black disruption and the condescending “you should be grateful for all he’s (read: white liberals have) done for you.”
Because his supporters patronizingly prescribe political opinion rather than respectfully engaging black dissent.
Black people owe white “allies” absolutely nothing. We don’t owe you for being slightly less oppressive than Republicans – not even if you actively support black communities. Basic human decency, i.e. working towards the dismantling of racism and other marginalizing structures, is not something for which any person should expect acclaim or praise.