Because using the word “ghetto” will erase more than 50 years of civil rights advocacy. On Sunday night’s Democratic debate, CNN asked Bernie Sanders a question about what his “racial blind spots” were. It’s kind of like an employer asking a job applicant, “What’s your biggest weakness?” You’re supposed to give some bullshit answer so you can get paid to fuck around on Facebook all day instead of doing it for free in your underwear at home. Except Bernie Sanders don’t give no bullshit answers.
“When you’re 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 walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.”
People got their panties in a bunch because clearly Bernie Sanders meant that no white person could possibly be poor. Except when you look at EVERY THING HE HAS EVER SAID ON POVERTY IN AMERICA, you realize that’s clearly not what he was saying at all.
“It’s ridiculous that we have over 45 million Americans living in poverty, almost more than at any time in the modern history of America.”
“I grew up in a lower-middle-class home in Brooklyn, NY–and knew what it was like to be in a family where lack of money was a constant source of tension and unhappiness.”
But what about that ghetto comment? It’s like Bernie doesn’t even know what it means! Except he does. Because you see, the word “ghetto” came into mainstream use during the Holocaust. Bernie’s own family members were forced to live in ghettos before being exterminated in concentration camps. That term was then used to describe – wait for it – poor, African-American neighborhoods! Do people really think Bernie Sanders, who was an activist during the Civil Rights Movement, and was even arrested during his participation in that movement, is a racist? That he co-signs the existence of ghettos simply by acknowledging their existence? Sorry, but that’s not only bullshit – that’s some ol’ bullshit.
Hate him because he’s beautiful, hate him because he’s a socialist – but don’t burn Bern over some overblown bullshit that doesn’t pass historical muster. Bern is just as dank as ever in terms of his Civil Rights record, and we’ve got to give credit where credit is due.