Monday, July 20, 2015

Recommended Reading

Our fave is problematic, everyone.

#BernieSoBlack: Why progressives are fighting about Bernie Sanders and race

I saw that hashtag was trending and immediately thought "fuck, what did he do?" The answer, as usual with us white people, is that he failed to listen to black people and instead spoke over them, got defensive when called out, and threatened to take his ball and go home.


There is a legitimate disconnect between the way Sanders (and many of the economic progressives who support him) see the world, and the way many racial justice progressives see the world. To Bernie Sanders, as I've written, racial inequality is a symptom — but economic inequality is the disease. That's why his responses to unrest in Ferguson and Baltimore have included specific calls for police accountability, but have focused on improving economic opportunity for young African Americans. Sanders presents fixing unemployment as the systemic solution to the problem. 
Many racial justice advocates don't see it that way. They see racism as its own systemic problem that has to be addressed on its own terms. They feel that it's important to acknowledge the effects of economic inequality on people of color, but that racial inequality isn't merely a symptom of economic inequality. And, most importantly, they feel that "pivoting" to economic issues can be a way for white progressives to present their agenda as the progressive agenda and shove black progressives, and the issues that matter most to them, to the sidelines.

I've seen this shit crop up time and time again from my fellow white people. We want so badly to deny that racism is a real problem that we'll fall all over ourselves trying to attribute it to something else, such as lack of education or poverty.


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