Sanders’s comment on white people and poverty creates social media stir
Sanders on racial blind spot: "When you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto." pic.twitter.com/ckjMmED1fz
— Mashable News (@MashableNews) March 7, 2016
Bernie Sanders stumbled on a question at Sunday’s debate over whether white Americans can empathize with blacks, stating that white people don’t know what it’s like to be poor.
“When you are white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you are walking down a street or dragged out of a car,” Sanders said when asked about his personal racial blind spots. “We must be firm in making it clear that we will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system.”
The comments immediately caused a stir on Twitter.
DeRay McKesson, a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, pointed out the awkward phrasing on Twitter but defended the substance of Sanders’s answer.
Besides Bernie’s comment about “living in the ghetto,” I thought his answer re: white privilege was solid. #DemDebate
— deray mckesson (@deray) March 7, 2016
But others on social media did not defend the awkward wording.
He knows that all Black people don’t live in ghettos, right?
— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) March 7, 2016
Just to return to that Sanders quote: Can you not understand what it is like to be poor if you are white?
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) March 7, 2016