That Bernie Sanders Arrest Photo Isn’t Swaying Black Voters


Ever since I wrote about how supporters of Bernie Sanders can help him win over black voters, I’ve been catching hell all across social media. Mind you, what I wrote was not an attack on Bernie Sanders the man, nor was it an attack on his integrity. By the responses – I’ve gotten via email and throughout social media – you’d think I said that like George W. Bush,  Bernie Sanders doesn’t care about black people.

What I wrote was more of a critique of the so-called micro-aggressions of his staunchest supporters – the white so-called BernieBros – and, sadly it didn’t help. Because even after reading, y’all did the same shit.

“Bernie Sanders risked his neck fighting for black people and you people owe him for that,” said the white guy trying to convince me to vote for Sanders recently via email. My response: “Oh, where’s the check for all the free labor?” He got mad at me. He started using all-caps in his subsequent responses where he all but called me a “nigger.”

But hey, that’s what I get for trying to be a helper as a liberal with an abundance of melanin, I suppose.

bernie-sanders-arrest-pic_1_650xSpeaking of another liberal-leaning helper of color. My man Killer Mike came under fire recently for speaking at Morehouse College in support of Bernie Sanders. While on the stump, Killer Mike said that a “uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president.” To be fair, Killer Mike was simply paraphrasing noted feminist Jane Elliot had said previously.

“When people tell us ‘hold on, wait a while’ — that’s what the other Democrat is telling you,” Michael Render, who goes by his stage name Killer Mike, told more than 4,800 gathered at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

“ ‘Hold on Black Lives Matter, just wait a while. Hold on young people in this country, just wait a while,’ ” he added, mocking Clinton.

“And then she get good, she have your own momma come to you, your momma sit down and say, ‘Well you’re a woman.’ But I talked to Jane Elliott a few weeks ago, and Jane said, ‘Michael, a uterus doesn’t qualify you to be president of the United States. You have to have policies that’s reflective of social justice.’ ”

I personally couldn’t tell you the titles of any of Killer Mike’s rap albums; however, what I can tell you is that he’s a damn good surrogate for Bernie Sanders. The hope, I suppose, is to utilize Killer Mike’s connection to youth voters, to garner support for Bernie. I say youth voters because ain’t no way in hell that anybody over fifty who is black is going to listen to a dude named Killer Mike, talk politics. If anything, they’d call the cops.

But, you know what? Killer Mike is absolutely correct. That is, in the full context of his statement, it is ridiculous to assume or even suggest that Hillary Clinton is entitled to the nomination and eventual presidency of these United States simply because she is a woman. Sure, there has never been a woman in the White House, and while having one sounds like a great idea, as much as I’m into breaking glass ceilings, it doesn’t mean that I’d vote for a Sarah Palin. So yes, to Killer Mike’s point: policy matters.

So, it’s unreasonable to expect women to vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a woman. But, if you’re black, you’re expected to vote for Bernie Sanders because he marched with Martin Luther King Jr., got arrested protesting in Chicago and has the photos to prove it?

Hell, why don’t we black people just start voting overwhelmingly for the Republican Party solely because Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves?

Having said that: Don’t show me pics of Bernie Sanders getting arrested during a civil rights protest to win me over. Show me pics of him at the welfare office kissing black babies and doing the Nae Nae if you want my vote. Yes, because as far as I’m concerned, like I said before, you don’t get props for doing what you’re supposed to do when it’s the right thing to do.

Now, if Bernie Sanders was on some John Brown shit back in the day, then maybe. But seriously, y’all are pandering all wrong. I mean, waaaaay wrong. And sadly, I can’t believe that the Sanders campaign is allowing this to happen. As cantankerous as he can be, you’d think he’d get on his grumpy old man steez and vociferously demand that y’all, “cut it out!”

All jokes aside, it’s like a 600lb 40-year-old woman sending me pics of herself when she weighed 180lbs when she was 20-years-old trying to win me over. Nuh-uh, playa! That shit ain’t gon’ work on me, home – you gots to do better. As bad as Bernie Sanders needs to make inroads with the black electorate, it’s going to take more than a discussion of where his heart lies by using black and white photos as evidence of his commitment.

It’s all about policy, people. If you can’t properly articulate what any of Bernie Sanders’ policy proposals mean for black and brown people, you’re not helping. What it shows is that you as a supporter of Bernie Sanders doesn’t really give a damn about black people. And, of course, this is the part of reading this where in your head you’re saying, “Well, Hillary Clinton doesn’t care about black people either – she called y’all ‘super-predators’ when she was promoting that 1994 Crime Bill that threw millions of black people in prison!” Here’s the problem with that: Bernie Sanders voted for the very piece of legislation you now despise.

Listen to Bernie Sanders below:

“On balance, its positive initiatives to control crime outweigh the negatives,” said Bernie Sanders on voting for  the 1994 Crime Bill that increased mass incarceration here in the United States.

Mind you, this is Bernie’s reasoning for voting for a bill that many of you criticize the Clintons for supporting and promoting. How anyone with the capacity to reason is able to do this, I’ll never understand. But, whatever.

At the same time, Sanders voted against a bill that would have “demilitarized” the police. The Local Government Law Enforcement Block Grants Act of 1995, sponsored by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Florida), called for establishing drug courts and prohibited local governments from purchasing tanks or armored personnel carriers.

When the police responded to protests that morphed into riots in Ferguson, Sanders said they looked like “an occupying army.” “I think we gotta rethink a lot this heavy equipment that police departments around the country are utilizing,” he told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz.

[…] He also voted against the Unborn Victims Violence Act of 1999 (sponsored by fellow presidential candidate Lindsey Graham), which would have added additional charges for attacks on a pregnant woman that resulted in injury to the fetus.

It’s all about silver linings and unintended consequences, folks. Without Alcohol Prohibition there’d be no NASCAR. Similarly, without the War on Drugs there’d be no N.W.A. and “F**k Da Police”. Seriously, where would we be today without those Beats By Dre headphones we all love?