One of the more interesting (and honest) exchanges you’ll get on race from a 2016 candidate. Also what Democratic candidates don’t understand about the movement.
In the past few weeks, BlackLivesMatter activists have been making their voices heard regarding to the 2016 presidential candidates. Whether it’s completely taking over a Bernie Sanders rally or interrupting Jeb Bush in a “town hall” event, many Americans are left wondering why such drastic steps are being taken by members of the movement.
To shed some light onto this question, GOOD Magazine posted two videos in which 2016 Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton met with five members of the BlackLivesMatter movement to air grievances and discuss some of those qualms the group has, specifically with the mass incarceration of African Americans.
The exchange is an interesting one and brings up a major difference between how Democratic candidates – like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – view the disenfranchisement of African Americans and how BlackLivesMatter views the issue.
While Democratic candidates Clinton and Sanders do agree there is a systematic problem regarding to the disenfranchisement of many African American communities in the US, their reasons why is where they diverge from BlackLivesMatter.
While a candidate like Sanders does champion economic inequality, vary rarely do you see him mention racial inequality as one of the prime factors. In fact, many times Sanders will answer questions on racial inequality through the lens of economic inequality and not recognize racial inequality as a symptom itself. The above videos of Clinton answering the questions of the BlackLivesMatter protester look to go through the same line of reasoning as well. To many White, middle-class progressives in the US, they frame the problem of racial disenfranchisement through economic inequality. This isn’t just a problem with Sanders and Clinton, but the progressive movement itself over the last 20-odd-years has specifically tried to focus on economic inequality being the core issue.
And that’s why BlackLivesMatter members are so peeved at the moment. To them, the issue of racial inequality is not a byproduct, but the cause of a larger problem that many 2016 candidates refuse to address head on.
It’s an interesting problem that both Sanders and Clinton will have to realize (and address) if they’re to win in 2016. Because studies show that young black voters can be the difference in presidential election. For the Democratic candidate, it would be wise to start understanding their grievances.
(Photo Credit: BlackLivesMatter.com, GOOD Magazine YouTube Channel)