Sanders touts endorsement of pioneering black feminist Barbara Smith

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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday tweeted an endorsement video from Barbara Smith, an influential feminist scholar credited with coining the term “identity politics.”

“I’m honored to be endorsed by @TheBarbaraSmith, whose work and leadership has empowered millions in the fight for justice and equality,” Sanders tweeted.

“The reason I really trust Bernie Sanders and his candidacy is because I know he comes from a political place, historically, that looked at what was going on and faced what was going on with reality as opposed to hype and propaganda,” Smith says in the video over images of the civil rights movement, including Sanders’s participation.

“It was absolutely meaningful for Bernie Sanders or for anyone else to say, ‘No, I’m going to step away from that white-skin privilege, I’m going to interrogate what is going on here around race. And then I’m going to do what most people never do: I’m going to actually put my body on the line and take a stand and work with those whose oppression we are committed to ending,’” Smith continues. “That’s what Bernie Sanders did.”

Smith, who also endorsed Sanders in 2016, elaborated on her endorsement Monday in an interview with The Root, saying, “Of all of the people who are running, Bernie Sanders is the person whose political commitment most closely reflects and align with political commitments that I’ve had throughout my life.”

“He has a much deeper understanding of what the situation is, why we have injustice and inequality and oppression and discrimination or whatever words you use to describe a society that isn’t functioning the way that it should be functioning. He [has] the most incisive, sharpest understanding of where all that comes from,” she added.

Smith founded the black feminist organization the Combahee River Collective in Boston in the 1970s, based in part on frustration at what its members saw as failure by both mainstream feminism and the civil rights movement to address concerns and issues specific to black lesbians.

Tags 2020 endorsement Barbara Smith Bernie Sanders Identity politics

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