I’ve never wanted to vote against a candidate before purely out of spite until Bernie Sanders’ supporters went to work.
— KB (@KaraRBrown) February 28, 2016
Okay so, here’s the deal. Supporters of certain presidential candidates tend to have certain reputations. Donald Trump’s stans have a reputation for assaulting people of color.
Bernie Sanders supporters are working hard to earn a reputation for trolling anyone who isn’t feeling the Bern.
Bernie supporters are the Jehova Witnesses of politics.
— Xavier D’Leau (@XavierDLeau) March 12, 2016
The relentless harassment of black people on Twitter started around the time two protesters — Marissa Johnson and Mara Jacqueline Willaford — founders of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Seattle, interrupted Senator Sanders at a rally. The disruption caused an intense dialogue in the liberal community. Although their tactics were not orthodox, they helped to ensure a dialogue surrounding state violence against black bodies. Many white people condemned their actions and denounced Black Lives Matter entirely.
Their tactics were not comfortable. But that was the point.
What they did was create a disruption like the way police disrupt black communities with violence. And yet, white Sanders stans amped up their antics.
Sanders supporters spent day tweeting #MississippiBerning, a bad look for a campaign struggling with accusations of tone-deafness on race.
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) March 9, 2016
— BernieOrBust2016 (@BernieOrBust16) March 8, 2016
Okay so, what the f*ck.
When we first saw this hashtag, we thought it was a joke. But no. These white Bernie stans were dead ass serious. There isn’t much wiggle room to claim ignorance on this one. The title of the movie they got this hashtag from is pretty clear about the plot of the film. And yet, they used this hashtag anyway. #MississippiBerning serves as a reminder that white liberals are still white, clueless about the real terror black people face from their own government.
One of the many ways white Bernie stans try to force black people to #FeelTheBern is by pointing to his past involvement with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. But his past is not enough to wash away the current atrocities plaguing black bodies. Although we appreciate Bernie’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, it certainly doesn’t automatically qualify him to deal with the complex and ever-changing political landscape that we’re confronted with today. If that were the case, we’d all be rallying around Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, and you can see we BEEN put them out to pasture. In the words of Janet Jackson, “what have you done for me lately?”
Despite what the poster above suggests, black people are not a monolith. Need proof? Look up Ben Carson and Clarence Thomas. Like any other group of people, we have different life experiences, different opinions and different beliefs in who should lead our country. Some of us might #FeelTheBern and some might want to make America great again. Furthermore, it’s inappropriate to blame Sander’s failure to get the presidential nomination on black people.
As we all know, the chances of Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic Nomination has always been a long shot.
That’s why when he won in Michigan, everyone labeled it a “massive upset.” The truth is that Bernie Sanders spent the majority of his career in the Senate as an independent, curbing both the democrats and the republicans. Although this has earned him a reputation of not being bought by anyone, it also hasn’t done him any favors within the democratic establishment that he’s now seeking the nomination for. Therefore, it’s not exactly shocking that the democratic superdelegates are deciding to rock with Hillary Clinton for now, if for no other reason than to reward her for always standing in their corner.
The result is that Clinton has a massive lead over Sanders thus far in the race when accounting for delegates and superdelegates. However, instead of accurately placing the blame on the structure of our political process, many liberals on the democratic side have decided to do away with logic and throw black people under the bus for Sander’s shortcomings thus far.
The most recent (and nauseating) critique came from Examiner’s article titled,”Black Democrats are voting like poor Republicans, against their self-interest.”
This idea implies that African Americans are uneducated and easily manipulated. White liberals are having a hard time grasping why some African Americans are voting for Hillary Clinton, but instead of talking with those people or doing some research, they take the easy route and decide to insult intelligence. The issue is so bad that many people actually believe that black people support the Clintons just because we believe Bill Clinton is black — you know, because he plays the saxophone and got head in the oval office.
If you want to critique why some black people are voting for Clinton afford us the same complexity and nuance you would critique any other group with. Maybe some voters in the black electorate are already aware of Clinton’s flaws but are willing to use them as leverage against her to make stronger campaign commitments, so that they can hold her feet to the fire if she were to be elected. Or maybe some voters might actually be selfish capitalists who are only interested in their bottom line. Literally, anything other than the “These foolish negroes don’t know what’s best for them” narrative that’s currently being pushed.
I guess the most frustrating thing about this whole ordeal is that black people have played a huge role in getting Bernie this far in the race to begin with. The Black Lives Matter movement is arguably the catalyst that allowed a candidate like Bernie to emerge in the democratic party. Black Twitter and black protestors have created the atmosphere where candidates are discussing black lives, police brutality and systematic racism during national presidential debates. However, even our ‘progressive’ and ‘liberal’ brethren still show flashes of smug superiority that makes many people want to roll their eyes so far into the back of their heads they can see their own thoughts.