What The Netroots #BlackLivesMatter Protest Really Shows About Progressives

You may have heard some news stories that came out of this year’s Netroots Nation conference concerning the #BlackLivesMatter protest and presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. What you have not heard is people who were there talking this candidly about what really went down. Join #TeamBlackness for a no-holds-barred discussion about the progressive reaction, why Black lives (especially female) are so important for the vote, and why we don’t care if you marched with King,

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178 replies
  1. 1
    Freemark says:

    Does TWIB have transcripts. I don’t have time to listen to the whole thing, but can read it?

  2. 2
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Freemark: I can’t listen to podcasts either but would also read transcripts if they were available. Alas, they are not, from what I understand.

  3. 3
    MomSense says:

    Have been waiting eagerly for this podcast!

  4. 4
    Steve from Antioch says:

    BLM should keep up the good work attacking progressives so that President Walker will want to work with them after he’s elected.

    /snark

    Fucking idiots

  5. 5
    ruemara says:

    @Steve from Antioch: That’s a mirror you’re looking into.

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    I like Hillary’s response. At least she is showing she sees the big picture.

    I like Jeb!’s response too. He’s saying fuck you to minorities. That’s gotta help Democrats come election time.

  7. 7
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’ll admit that I haven’t followed the controversy very closely… but I think what “walking with MLK, Jr. doesn’t count” anymore means is that marching with MLK in the past is in the past. I think AAs want to know what have you done for/with me lately. They want to know who has stood against turning back on Voting Rights; who is standing against the assault on black lives in its many forms, etc. The past is past… who is fighting for the present and the future.

  8. 8
    Mike J says:

    @PurpleGirl: When I was in college, I would play Free Nelson Mandela at least once a week on my radio show. That’s got to count for something, right?

  9. 9
    Cacti says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    I’ll admit that I haven’t followed the controversy very closely… but I think what “walking with MLK, Jr. doesn’t count” anymore means is that marching with MLK in the past is in the past. I think AAs want to know what have you done for/with me lately. They want to know who has stood against turning back on Voting Rights; who is standing against the assault on black lives in its many forms, etc. The past is past… who is fighting for the present and the future.

    MLK had a dream.

    BLM is there reminding us that it still hasn’t come true.

  10. 10
    the Conster says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    Yes, that’s the retort that BLM uses against all the white Bernie progs who insist that BLM is being totally unfair to Bernie and they (BLM) should get on team Bernie because economic equality is the answer to racial inequality.

  11. 11
    eldorado says:

    would also love a transcript, or for an occasional long form blog post here. video is just not my thing.

  12. 12
    ruemara says:

    @PurpleGirl: Look at this from the Rep Lewis perspective. He walked & nearly got beaten to death. But he never stopped walking. To this day, he can do both economic issues and social justice issues and has been this tireless force, may he live a longer life. No one is saying walking with MLK is a little thing, but in the words of Miss Jackson “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

  13. 13
    John Cole says:

    Because I like to troll, if marching WITH MLK no longer matters, do people who marched against him at the time have their history expunged?

  14. 14
    Tommy says:

    @PurpleGirl: I have followed this somewhat closely. When I first heard what happened at Netroots I was not mad, but a little peeved with the #BlackLivesMatter Protest.

    But then I took a little bit of a deep breath and tried to find some commentary and analysis that wasn’t mostly white males on generally speaking “mainstream” progressive blogs.

    Very quickly I change my thinking 110%. I was like you go guys and gals. I am “all in” with you now I am somewhat more educated.

    And IMHO white, middle aged dudes opinion that my first thought, my kneejerk reaction was somewhat against them, kind of sums up one of their primary points!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. 15
    lol says:

    @John Cole:

    The problem is that brogressives think it’s a shield against any and all criticism.

    “WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? HE MARCHED WITH MLK 50 YEARS AGO! YOU PEOPLE ARE SO UNGRATEFUL”

  16. 16
    PurpleGirl says:

    @ruemara: I’d hoped that my comment was close to yours in meaning. I’m white, in my mid-60s and have watched how things have changed somewhat or changed very little and I wish that positive change was greater and longer lasting. Yes, it does come down to “what have you done for/with me lately.”

  17. 17
    Sly says:

    @John Cole:
    If you go by their personal bios, every white liberal over the age of 65 marched with MLK. It’s not that it doesn’t matter, it’s that it can no longer serve as a credible baseline for one’s commitment to Civil Rights in 2015.

    And as Chris Rock said, you’re not supposed to get credit for some shit you were just supposed to do. “I wasn’t a racist turd in 1963.” What do you want, a cookie?

  18. 18
    Tommy says:

    @ruemara: And even best of all he can go to Comic-Con dressed up as he was that terrible, terrible day. Recently publish a comic book/graphic novel about it. This story from Comic-Con I’ve read about ten times, makes my eyes leak a little. It is titled: Rep. John Lewis: A real-life superhero.

    As a new comic book author, Lewis attended the annual convention called Comic-Con, where tens of thousands of fans celebrate their favorite characters and often dress like them.

    This year, the congressman wore his superhero outfit: a trench coat and backpack just like what he marched in decades before, down to the last detail.

    “I had in the backpack an apple. I had toothpaste and toothbrush. I had two books. That’s what I had in 1965,” Lewis said.

    Then, surrounded by students, Lewis started walking. He marched the group through the convention hall, and long the way, the crowd grew.

    “I walked with little children, wonderful little children. We marched onto the floor of the convention center. And it was unreal, unbelievable. And just throng of people just walkin’ with us,” Lewis said.

  19. 19
    PurpleGirl says:

    @John Cole: It’s not that it doesn’t count or means nothing. It meant a lot at the time. But you still have to ask “what have you done for/with me lately.”

    We still have major fights — in voting rights, in education, in economic equality issues, in the meaning of life and its value. Still a lot of things to fight fow now.

  20. 20
    AnonPhenom says:

    @John Cole:
    &BLM, winning friends and influencing people. lol!

  21. 21
    ruemara says:

    @John Cole: That’s not what happened and I suppose if you’re not working out your trolling needs in Barrens chat, you have troll somewhere.

    @Tommy: I was there, I took pictures, and participated in the march.

    @PurpleGirl: I took your comment that way. It seems some *COUGH* Cole *COUGH* are being a touch stubborn on the issue.

  22. 22
    kindness says:

    @John Cole: John Cole Trolls his own site.

    Classic.

  23. 23
    Emma says:

    @Tommy: Yeah. I’m not ashamed to say I cried.

  24. 24
    Mike J says:

    @John Cole:

    do people who marched against him at the time have their history expunged?

    Sure, some of them. A lot of people have made a lot of changes in 50 years. You don’t have to be the same miserable shithead your entire life. You can be better tomorrow than you were yesterday.

  25. 25
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @lol: When Harlan Ellison got in trouble for groping Connie Willis on stage in some kind of bizarre gag at the Hugo award ceremony several years ago, his retort was that he had marched for the ERA in the 1970s. Great, but does that give you a blank check denominated in non-sexist cred for all time? Same kind of thing.

  26. 26
    Paul in KY says:

    @John Cole: That is a quality piece of trolling there, John.

  27. 27
    ruemara says:

    @Matt McIrvin: If that illustrate a broadminded egalitarian who struggles with comprehending his own personal issues towards women, I don’t know what does.

  28. 28
    Tommy says:

    @ruemara: I wish I could have been there with you. That must have been something to witness.

    @Emma: Yeah I am not ashamed either. There are a lot of politicians I agree with and even like. But few I’d like to spend a day or two with. If I could John Lewis might be the first person I’d pick.

    Not only has he been in the middle of history as it has happened, he really doesn’t seem be to remotely “full” of himself, has a sense of humor. Can you think of a single politician that would not only publish a comic book but go to Comic-Con in “character” and actually walk the floor and work his flipping booth!

  29. 29

    @John Cole:

    Charlton Heston marched with Dr. King. He also helped make the NRA what it is today. So does Heston get a free pass on enabling the NRA because he was on the right side of civil rights 25 years before?

  30. 30

    @PurpleGirl:

    I think AAs want to know what have you done for/with me lately.

    I think it should be narrowed down a bit more; they’re asking where they and their interests fit into his (and every other politicians’) plans. They want reassurance that racial inequality would be a priority for a Sanders presidency, and they don’t find a reminder about marching with Dr. King very reassuring about what he would do in 2017. At the very least, I’d want to hear about something else he had done in the 50 years since then. On top of that, his constant pivots to economic justice that’s supposed to fix problems from racism is deeply troubling for two reasons:

    1) I don’t think it’s accurate. Previous economic booms that have helped the working class have tamped down outward signs of racism somewhat, but it always springs back as virulent as ever when times get tough.

    2) It shows a serious lack of respect. The point of BLM is that black activists are saying quite directly that they see racism as a higher priority than economics, and it’s dismissive for a white guy to tell them that their priorities are backward.

  31. 31
    mtiffany says:

    @Sly:

    And as Chris Rock said, you’re not supposed to get credit for some shit you were just supposed to do. “I wasn’t a racist turd in 1963.” What do you want, a cookie?

    The assumption of good faith on the part of (white) people who are trying to understand something that their privilege by definition exempts them from experiencing first-hand might be nice. But for realsies — if you’re going to ask me if I want a cookie, you’d better fucking have one. I like chocolate chip. No nuts. Please and thank you.

  32. 32
    John Cole says:

    @Paul in KY:

    That is a quality piece of trolling there, John.

    I still got it baby.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Paul in KY: Has anyone checked to see if DougJ hacked John Cole?

  34. 34
    chopper says:

    @John Cole:

    if marching WITH MLK no longer matters, do people who marched against him at the time have their history expunged?

    depends on what they’ve done since then. look at robert byrd’s youth compared to his work in the senate. shrug.

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: There are contending schools of thought about how economic injustice relates to social injustice, but in general I see scarcity as driving a lot of the injustice, but one has to sit back and think about things a bit to see the connections, which is fine if you’re white and don’t have to worry about being shot for walking down the sidewalk.

  36. 36
    mtiffany says:

    @Roger Moore:

    they don’t find a reminder about marching with Dr. King very reassuring about what he would do in 2017. At the very least, I’d want to hear about something else he had done in the 50 years since then.

    So… Sanders was so supposed to rattle off the list of things that he had done on racial equality to let people know that he had a solid track record on the issue, and then when he started at the beginning with his involvement with MLK he got shut down by the protesters and that is his fault. Have I got that right? Because that’s what happened, isn’t it? Am I misremembering the scene of Sanders saying that he marched with MLK and then the crowd started yelling over him? If I’m wrong, please correct me.

  37. 37
    Pogonip says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thirded.

  38. 38
    AnonPhenom says:

    @mtiffany:
    Ahhh, that elusive line that gets crossed when you stop engaging in a dialectic and begin simple phucking with people because you don’t know what to do or say next.
    You only know you have to be at the center of the conversation.
    Is there a better definition of trolling?

  39. 39
    Rob Bush says:

    Just curious – what has Hillary done for BLM lately that Bernie hasn’t?

  40. 40
    mtiffany says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    There are contending schools of thought about how economic injustice relates to social injustice, but in general I see scarcity as driving a lot of the injustice,

    Artificial scarcity I might add. Scarcity brought about by 1) a tax code which rewards those who already have the most and burden the poortest and 2) federal budget priorites which also reward the richest among us and shaft the poorest. Too bad we haven’t heard from a candidate that wanted to talk about that issue. It would have been interesting to hear how they would have addressed it.

  41. 41
    Pogonip says:

    @kindness: So does Doug J. But Cole’s funnier.

  42. 42
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @mtiffany:

    No, Sanders was supposed to first of all listen. Also, too, why not join the protesters who were chanting: Say Her Name by responding with Sandra Bland. Shows empathy and respect while updating his racial justice creds.

  43. 43
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Bernie Sanders has done more for people of color than Obama. You should probably enter that into your voting calculus.

  44. 44

    @mtiffany:

    Perhaps if you’re trying to win over present-day protesters, you should start with what you’ve done in the present day and work backwards.

    If you asked someone about his or her support for legalizing gay marriage and s/he responded by saying, Let me tell you what I did in 1983 during the AIDS crisis … would you automatically give them the benefit of the doubt or would you wonder what their actions of 30 years ago have to do with the question you asked?

  45. 45
    AnonPhenom says:

    @pamelabrown53:
    And drum circles. They needed drum circles.

  46. 46
    mtiffany says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    that elusive line that gets crossed when you stop engaging in a dialectic and begin simple phucking with people because you don’t know what to do or say next.

    I’m sorry? Di-a-lec-tic? What does being unable to maintain proper blood glucose levels have to do with anything?

  47. 47
    opiejeanne says:

    @mtiffany: you’re joking, right?

  48. 48
    Mike E says:

    Now that we have Peak Mansplain, I can’t wait for the inevitable Big Head Splode…because, the Wingnut Event Horizon never seems to get here, sadly.

  49. 49
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @AnonPhenom:

    Um, not sure what you mean Anon? Are you snarking?

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    @mtiffany:

    The assumption of good faith on the part of (white) people who are trying to understand something that their privilege by definition exempts them from experiencing first-hand might be nice.

    That’s an interesting point, and it sure looked to me like at least two candidates (O’Malley and Clinton) got burned early on because they didn’t understand the Twitter-driven language the activists were using. If I start babbling about green balloons and naked mopping here on Balloon Juice, y’all would get it. If I did the same thing at a client meeting, someone would call security.

    There was a little of that going on with BLM at NN, I think. You can blame it on the candidates’ not being as social media savvy as they should have been, and that’s a fair point. But they’re up to speed on it now, and they’ve responded, which is a good thing.

    Will they get credit for that going forward, if they make BLM a campaign issue and keep speaking out on it? I hope so. Seems like many people are still hung up on the initial miscommunication, though.

    We had a “Thoughtful” example of an obnoxious Sanders supporter in a thread a couple of days ago. He/she didn’t seem ready to let it go. He/she ought to. And I hope the BLM activists can acknowledge it if the campaigns continue to respond and go on to address their issues in meaningful ways. It’s easy to let initial impressions harden into stone.

  51. 51
    AnonPhenom says:

    @mtiffany:
    Keeping a eye on you glucose level is important for optimal drum circling.

  52. 52
    Calouste says:

    @John Cole: It’s not that the people who marched against MLK 50 years ago have changed much, have they, besides the odd exception like Robert Byrd? They can expunge what they did 50 years ago, they still did the same shit 40 years ago, 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago and they are still doing that same shit today.

    It’s a very valid question to ask Sanders and others like him what they have done since that moment 50 years ago.

    And somewhat OT, but in general: this country needs to move on from the fucking 60s. 60% the people in this country are so young they weren’t even born then.

  53. 53
    AnonPhenom says:

    @pamelabrown53:
    You betch’a!

  54. 54
    Freemark says:

    @PurpleGirl: That is the problem though. I keep hearing Bernie being criticized for not doing those things when he has consistently and LOUDLY done all of those things you have listed. Yes ‘marching with King’ isn’t enough but to say it doesn’t matter is plain idiotic. When people talk about Bernie’s history with siding with the AA community it starts 50 years ago but it has continued throughout his entire history. Who do you want on your side in a fight? The person who has fought with you, and had your back, through thick and thin for the last 50 years of your and his life or the person who now says they have your back because it looks good to do so now but didn’t seem to care before. When things change and your fight is no longer in the spotlight who is more likely will stick with you and continue to help your fight?

    What someone does and says today matters, but what someone did and said yesterday, the day before that, and the day before that in many ways matters more. When you are in a long fight consistency and fortitude matters. Bernie Sanders is a white representative from a mostly white state yet he has, during the entire time as a representative of that state, consistently and strongly sided with the AA community on issues. He has done so knowing that doing so would not have much affect on his community and would, if anything, be a political negative for him in his home state. His only reason for so consistently siding with AA issues is because it was the RIGHT THING TO DO.

    Bernie Sanders was endorsed for President by the rapper Killer Mike explicitly because he has shown the strongest support for the restoring of the Voting Rights Act of all the candidates. Sanders has fighting against the disproportionate incarceration of AA’s since at least 1991. He has been been explicitly stating that ‘blacks suspects are being severely mistreated and MURDERED’ by police and that the police need to be held accountable long before the BLM protests. I think it is sadly hilarious that people think when he says the EXACT same thing now that it is because of the BLM protests.

    If the primary was held today I would probably vote for Hillary for a number of reasons, but I am keeping an open mind and will wait to make my determination when I get to see how everything plays out. But on this particular issue when someone says something like

    I like Hillary’s response. At least she is showing she sees the big picture.

    I have to wonder where they have been hiding up until today. Bernie not only demonstrably sees the ‘big picture’ better than Hillary on this issue but he saw the ‘big picture’ before Hillary even knew there was a picture.

  55. 55
    Tommy says:

    @AnonPhenom: Doesn’t Mickey Hart live in Vermont?* Bernie ought to call him up and get a drum circle going at each event.

    *For those of you not “Deadheads” Mickey was the drummer for the Dead from around 1967 until the late 90s.

  56. 56
    kindness says:

    The whole issue I’ll bet is seen as a paradox by those running. They know they have to support BLM (because duh! look at what has happened lately) but they also know that any statement made supporting BLM will be twisted out of context and used against them by 1) dickish Republicans and 2) Democrats they run against. It’s a damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenerio. That’s why I thought Hillary’s middle ground response was good. Maybe too safe but better than the others. What the campaign folks worry about is alienating the white folk who could vote for you but wouldn’t if they thought you were pandering to black folk. Now I don’t see saying BL do M as pandering but that is how Fox will play it and the rest of the MSM will follow because the rest of the media are complete assholes. Present company excluded of course.

  57. 57
    Tommy says:

    @Calouste:

    And somewhat OT, but in general: this country needs to move on from the fucking 60s. 60% the people in this country are so young they weren’t even born then.

    Yes please.

  58. 58
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Doug is technically capable of that, I believe.

  59. 59
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Well stated, VDE.

  60. 60
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @John Cole:

    I don’t think it is trolling to ask a simple question that eviscerates the logical foundation of someone else’s position.

    I think “education” is a better word for the activity.

  61. 61
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Tommy:

    Bernie ought to call him up and get a drum circle going at each event.

    … If only to prove how inclusive and empathetic he can be

  62. 62
    C.V. Danes says:

    @the Conster: It may not be “the answer,” but they are certainly linked.

  63. 63
    MomSense says:

    @Steve from Antioch:

    Here’s a pretty bug of some sort.

  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Now that’s just crazy, JSF.

  65. 65
    John Cole says:

    @Calouste:

    It’s a very valid question to ask Sanders and others like him what they have done since that moment 50 years ago.

    I agree. Also doesn’t make you look like a total dick for saying “I don’t give a shit if you marched with MLK.” But that’s just me.

  66. 66

    @John Cole:

    Because I like to troll, if marching WITH MLK no longer matters, do people who marched against him at the time have their history expunged?

    I’m with the “what have you done for me lately” group. Sanders has been in public office almost all the time since 1981, which is plenty of time to do something substantive for civil rights at a policy level. If the best thing he can say about himself is that he marched with MLK, then that says he hasn’t made civil rights a priority. My understanding is that he could make a better case about his record as a legislator, so it’s more annoying than anything.

  67. 67
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @John Cole: depends. Are they working on voting rights and today’s issues right now? My guess is no.

  68. 68
    Rob Bush says:

    I know I’m not a regular commenter here in West Cole-istan, and I can see how my little one-line post above got overlooked, but i am genuinely curious, so I’ll ask again.

    What has Hillary done LATELY for African Americans, for BLM, for Civil Rights that Bernie hasn’t done?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

    Bueller?

  69. 69
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @pamelabrown53: Updating his creds by mindlessly yelling the name of someone who may or may not have killed themselves in jail?

    “Hey, look at me kiddies, I can yell someone’s name.! What other tricks do you want me to do?”

  70. 70
    lowercase steve says:

    I haven’t looked but I’d guess that when civil rights bills came up during his career, Sanders voted “the correct way” on them. I think he has a history of being on the right side of the issues progressives care about.

    That said, it is not clear that he would make civil rights issues a priority as president. If handed a bill on voting rights or police brutality or whatever I am pretty certain he’d sign them. But would he make them a a prominent part of his agenda/legislative push?

    The reasons to be concerned:

    a. Economic injustice is his comfort zone so he might not naturally gravitate toward social justice as part of his agenda.He might not feel like he has the expertise to address them.

    b. He seems to believe that social injustice is a product of economic injustice (and that is by no means a fringe opinion) so you can effectively solve the former by tackling the latter. That is not a position he takes out of racism or malice but it is one that a lot of people on the left don’t share. Jamelle Bouie says they are orthogonal to each other. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I am damn near certain that social justice is not a simple byproduct of economic justice (and I’d argue racism in many cases needs to be tackled before economic injustice can be dealt with effectively).

    So I don’t think it is “Bernie Sanders is racist” or “Bernie Sanders has a bad record on civil rights.” It is more like, “Hey, is this guy going to give priority to the issues we care about?

    And I think people interested in immigration reform, women’s rights, LGBT issues, and so forth would also be justified in asking the same question.

  71. 71
    mtiffany says:

    @pamelabrown53:

    No, Sanders was supposed to first of all listen. Also, too, why not join the protesters who were chanting: Say Her Name by responding with Sandra Bland. Shows empathy and respect while updating his racial justice creds.

    All fair points, but I would quibble with the first one on the grounds that he was invited to speak. And since he’s ‘an old’ I’m not sure how adaptable he is to the ‘new’ way of doing things (less formal, less structured interviews and Q&As),or how capable of spontaneity he may be. He may know that he’s as spontaneous as Al Gore, so he avoids it like the plague, who knows? He may have been fully expecting to get his alloted time to speak and then who knows, maybe he would have been fully willing to engage and embrace the issues of racial justice and inequality.
    But that’s not what went down…

  72. 72
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @Rob Bush: The real question is what has Scott Walker/Jeb Bush/ Ted Cruz done that Hillary/Bernie hasn’t done?

  73. 73
    Cacti says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Not to mention, if you’re trying to find common ground with a young-ish movement like BLM, the best place to start might not be 20 years before both of its founders were born.

  74. 74
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Paul in KY: How so?

  75. 75
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Freemark: Amen. Sadly, the electorate is more than 70% aligned with Bernie on the issues they most care about, but once you mention his name he is suddenly unelectable.

  76. 76
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tommy: Go away, poseurs! If you can’t sing the Kent song, you’re not legit!

  77. 77
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Freemark:

    Ya know, when I keep hearing from the strongest Bernie supporters that Killer Mike’s endorsement is the shiznit, I’m reminded of the Edward’s supporters in 2008 who kept telling us that Danny Glover’s endorsement meant that Edward’s deserved liberal cred…and he would win.

    I didn’t think that Glover’s endorsement meant jack shit, even though I love his acting ability.

  78. 78
    cmorenc says:

    @John Cole:

    Because I like to troll, if marching WITH MLK no longer matters, do people who marched against him at the time have their history expunged?

    Well, I didn’t march against MLK, but as a native southern guy in my mid-60, my childhood up through my early teen years were spent in the still-segregated south in a small town in eastern North Carolina, where even most white folk from relatively polite, genteel sectors of society nevertheless were deeply imprinted with racist attitudes toward blacks that seemed as natural and sensible to us at the time as breathing water does to fish. I did grow out of that during my later teens (when our local high school was integrated and the cool kids quickly discovered that the black kids didn’t have cooties and were actually fun to hang around with at school) and the changeover continued during my early twenties in college at UNC-Chapel Hill.

    NEVERTHELESS, decades later I unexpectedly had an ugly mirror to my former self thrust at me – when I unexpectedly ran into one of my very closest childhood friends one evening down at the beach, and we went to a bar and had a few delightful beers with one another, reminiscing and catching up on each other’s lives, and we exchanged email and phone contacts. We didn’t discuss politics or race at all that night, but it didn’t surprise me too much from knowing him way back then that after we exchanged a couple of emails about personal stuff, he added me into the loop of his eastern North Carolina wingnut buddy list (because frankly, my politics way back then to the extent I had any, were the early 60s version of wingnuttery too). I didn’t let on that I had grown out of that and gone completely over to the progressive side. BUT THEN, after Obama was elected, some of the chain emails started containing really raw, racist stuff such as jokes taking off on Michelle Obama’s alleged resemblance to a chimpanzee, Barack Obama dressed in Kenyan tribal garb, etc. I was at first shocked at my friend, until the horrible realization came to me that the reason my old friend felt comfortable sharing such nasty, blatantly racist fare with me was that MY expressed attitudes were not all that different when I was twelve and saying crap like that felt perfectly correct at the time. HOLY SHIT, DUDE! THAT WAS ME ONCE UPON A TIME LONG AGO! But the upside was realizing the light-years scale enormous positive change my own attitudes and thinking had undergone over the last 40 to 50 years.

    So I hope to hell one’s past can deserve expungement, depending on what one has learned and how one has changed since then.

  79. 79
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @lowercase steve:

    He seems to believe that social injustice is a product of economic injustice so you can effectively solve the former by, tackling the latter

    This is the orthodox Socialist position, and with a few exceptions, has been for generations.

    Change the mode of production, and the social relations will change as well, of necessity.

  80. 80
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Cacti: You mean on the issues that started hundreds of years before they were born?

  81. 81
    AnonPhenom says:

    @lowercase steve:

    It is more like, “Hey, is this guy going to give priority to the issues we care about?

    Good point. In a perfect world there would be a venue where that question could be asked and answered …
    No. Wait.

  82. 82
    Cacti says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Nothing’s going to make a young person’s eyes glaze over like a “when I was your age” story.

  83. 83
    cmorenc says:

    @ my earlier post: I should point out that I literally hadn’t had contact with my old friend for four+ decades when I ran into him that night at the beach.

  84. 84
    mtiffany says:

    @Rob Bush:

    What has Hillary done LATELY for African Americans, for BLM, for Civil Rights that Bernie hasn’t done?

    For the last eight years, nothing formally, because she was Sec of State and then left government. Any policy regarding those issues was not within her purview at the State Dept and then after she left government, private citizens don’t get to make public policy.

  85. 85
    Paul in KY says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: He’s the President, has been for 7 years or so, and due to various laws he has gotten passed & executive orders, has had a bigger impact on the lives of our black fellow travelers (IMO).

    However, I’m white, so black commenters am I on target here or have I over-estimated Pres. Obama’s impact vs Sen. Sanders?

  86. 86
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Davis X. Machina: It may not magically solve the race issue, but it may make it easier to solve when fewer people are scrapping over the same pile of bones.

  87. 87
    Davebo says:

    @Roger Moore:

    The problem is, his time as a legislator show’s his support has continued for all those years. And it’s continued despite the fact that he had nearly no black constituents to serve and a lot of white constituents who most likely wouldn’t be impressed by his support. Yet he did give his support.

    To argue about the chronological order he chose to explain that support as protestors took over his appearance is a bit silly to me.

  88. 88
    Paul in KY says:

    @cmorenc: Very thoughtful post. Glad you have come over (years ago) to the dark side.

  89. 89
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Rob Bush:

    She has pushed for universal voter registration, for starters. She has also made statements emphasizing the importance of issues central to BLM. She has also hired staff with a solid history of interlocuting with the black community.

    I am seeing all the dem candidates address BLM concerns more than they did prior to the protest. BLM issues are liberal issues. I never saw the big deal other than some dudes getting outraged because BLM had the nerve to take the mic from poor misunderstood Bernie.

    There’s legit complaints about the future of protest in politics, but I think we can all agree that the large scale marches do not have the impact they once had.

    Finally, I repeat ad nauseum that social justice issues are equal to economic justice issues because for black men and women it is life or death. And it peeves me when we can freak out over NSA abuses with surveillance, but break out Emily Post’s Etiquette to lecture BLM on their manners. It’s privileged blinkered thinking that is driving the negative attitude over something I believe we should be participating in.

  90. 90
    the Conster says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    So, we white progs will just tell our fellow black citizens they’ll have to wait until whites feel economically secure and magnanimous enough to structurally alter the way policing and justice is done, which preserves all that white privilege? That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

  91. 91
    Steve from Antioch says:

    @cmorenc: Very thoughtful post, thank you.

    I’ve been on a similar journey myself, having grown up in West Virginia. That’s one of he reasons I started reading this blog years ago, back when Cole was making waves for coming to his senses about Iraq (http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....ospective/)
    I remember thinking, “Hey, here’s another guy from West Virginia who is not a complete moron. Better bookmark this site.)

  92. 92
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Davebo:

    His record as a legislator is not the same as his campaign policy platform. And Bernie has a history of sticking his foot in his mouth and telling minorities that they should think about their economics first over issues of justice. Which is all well and good, provided you aren’t a black woman minding her business in Texas.

    I mean, who are you to tell BLM who is their ally? Answer that, please

  93. 93
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Paul in KY: Bernie Sanders was involved in any legislation the president may have signed that benefited people of color. In addition to that, he was working at the national level on progressive issues for 18 years before there was a President Obama.

    Look, we get it, Bernie Sanders is very white and will therefore have to jump through many hoops to qualify for the oh-so-important “black vote”. But let’s not kid ourselves that it has anything to do with issues. It’s just identity politics.

  94. 94
    Davebo says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    And it peeves me when we can freak out over NSA abuses with surveillance, but break out Emily Post’s Etiquette to lecture BLM on their manners.

    Let’s leave aside the fact that the BLM group decided to get up on stage and take the microphone. I’d rather not, but OK.

    What did they do when they had the microphone? Did they take advantage of that opportunity created after hijacking the talk to pose questions to the candidate about how he would address their concerns? Were there honest inquiries put to the candidate about the issue they care about in an attempt to get his answers?

    Forget the fact that they decided they now had “head of the line” privileges in the forum. Once they got there (and weren’t dragged from the stage by event security) how did they take advantage of it?

  95. 95
    Cacti says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Bernie Sanders was involved in any legislation the president may have signed that benefited people of color. In addition to that, he was working at the national level on progressive issues for 18 years before there was a President Obama.

    And which ones did he shepherd through Congress?

  96. 96
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Jeb Bush? Is that you?

  97. 97
    Tommy says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That is LOL funny in a sad way. I live 39 miles from Ferguson MO. I am listening to some of the current protest songs and I can’t understand them to be honest. I am getting old I guess. But protest with music!!!!

    I bet most people won’t understand what I think of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World’ from like 1990. I was the President of my frat at the time. We had this Peavey system. So many noise violations.

    I am walking home from class one day and I hear what can only be our speakers. On stun.

    I start to walk fast and then run into the Delta Tau Delta house and reach for the power switch to shut off the music.

    Two of my best friends were putting everything they could/owned into a bag to leave to deploy as part of the National Guard. They had enlisted and served three years Airborne and now wanted their “free” education.

    Called back to service again …

    We let Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World play on repeat for hours and hours. Nobody complained this time around.

  98. 98
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Davebo:

    Yet he did give his support.

    Along with what portion of the House Democratic caucus? 90%? 80%? Now that the Blue Dogs are a ghost of their former selves.
    There’s a lot of party-line voting in the House….

  99. 99
    Cacti says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Bernie Sanders is very white and will therefore have to jump through many hoops to qualify for the oh-so-important “black vote”.

    Life is so unfair sometimes for white, male US Senators.

  100. 100
    Davebo says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    His record as a legislator is not the same as his campaign policy platform.

    No. But it is evidence of his priorities to date. And his platform is readily available for all to read.

    I mean, who are you to tell BLM who is their ally? Answer that, please

    I’m obviously in no position to do such a thing. Which is why I didn’t. Who are you to falsely claim I did?

    Never mind. It was a rhetorical question.

  101. 101
    Paul in KY says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: To me, you are absolutely correct in the 1st para of this post I’m responding to. Also, compared to any Republican this side of Earl Warren, he’s done so much more for minorities (IMO).

    I also expect that if he’s the nominee, our black citizens will come out in droves to vote for him as the Democratic standard bearer. I know I will. However, you lost me with the 2nd para. We are in a primary & if he wants what you call ‘the black vote’, he’s gonna have to work for it.

  102. 102
    Paul in KY says:

    @Tommy: You are certainly the coolest Da Tee Da I’ve ever run into :-)

  103. 103
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Davebo:

    (Turns to page 130 of Etiquette)

    “Black folk should ask themselves the following questions when seeking to get political attention:

    1. Am I dressed appropriately? Provocative clothing and ethnic hairstyles will only cause white people to express concerns over your outrageous and angry attitude.

    2. Am I interrupting something more important? White people can be delicate about priorities. Compare your needs to theirs and perhaps consider tabling your concerns for a time and place where needs intersect.

    3. Am I allowing the interrupted parties to retort? I know you want to be heard, but white folk really like their opinions. You should let them express them. They might surprise you.

    4. Is the person(s) my friend? If these white individuals believe they have your black interests at heart, you should reconsider protesting and instead support their cause. They will appreciate your support and address your needs. History shows this to be true.

  104. 104

    @Davebo:

    Isn’t this entire argument implicitly about whether or not Sanders should be considered an ally for issues about race? If it’s not, what do you think the argument is about?

  105. 105
    Freemark says:

    @pamelabrown53: Perhaps if you would read before you comment your comments might make sense. I was replying to people who were talking about if Bernie was strong on Voting Act restoration. I pointed out that a well known activist for this issue endorsed Bernie because he was strong on this particular issue. In no way did I give even a minor indication that anyone should vote for Bernie because of Killer Mike’s endorsement or that Bernie will win because of it.

    So if you want to make stuff up to argue about feel free. I assume you think since it often works for Republicans who can’t respond to the facts of the argument it will work for you too.

  106. 106
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Mnemosyne (tablet): I suspect he’s an ally for issues about race. Then again, so are probably 160 Representatives, and at least 40 senators.

    It’s not what advertisers used to call a Unique Selling Proposition.

  107. 107
    zomgitsjesus says:

    and why we don’t care if you marched with King

    Nice.

  108. 108
    AnonPhenom says:

    So, if I can sum up:
    1) we need a transcript.

    2) No Democrat, much less a progressive one, will be elected without the African American vote.

    No Republican is going to do anything about reforming the structural and institutional racism that is murdering African Americans.

    So, there we are.

    I think Cole volunteered to type up the minutes and deliverables..

  109. 109
    Pogonip says:

    Proposed tag line: Karl Marx was an insulin-dependent dialectic.

  110. 110
    mtiffany says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    His record as a legislator is not the same as his campaign policy platform.

    You’re right, it isn’t a policy platform. But it is a signifier of his legislative priorites and what he is willing to go to bat for when he is accountable to his constitutuents. Past is prologue…

    And Bernie has a history of sticking his foot in his mouth and telling minorities that they should think about their economics first over issues of justice.

    Assuming good faith on Sander’s part, he may see the instersection of economic and social inequality as the weakest spot to attack both problems to best effect: most bang for the buck. We all have our blindspots and frames of reference for making sense of the world. He may not be able to grasp or understand the BLM issue any other way. To paraphrases His Veepness, are you questioning Sander’s motives or his judgment?

  111. 111
    rikyrah says:

    Elon,

    I love this NFTG you.
    You are a twitter beast!!!

    Love it.

    And, yes…nobody give two rat’s ass if you marched with King, when, when the vote counted, you couldn’t be counted on for sensible gun control – which matters.

    Economics and all……..the only time Black folks had full employment was during slavery. Every other time, our UER has always been higher, during the worst and even during the best of times.

    We just want to be able to live in peace. We just want to be able to go from point A to point B in peace.

    There is no reason why Black folks should have a fundamental mistrust of the criminal justice system. And, once again, I’ll point out that it’s not Pookey and Ray Ray who mistrust it – they’re not supposed to trust it. I’m talking about the average Black person who just gets up and goes to work and comes home to their family – they don’t trust it either, and THAT is the problem.

    Driving While Black IS REAL.
    Walking While Black IS REAL.
    Shopping While Black IS REAL.

    And, NONE of them have to do with whether or not one has a job….

    They all have to do with whether one is BLACK IN AMERICA.

  112. 112
    Ruckus says:

    @C.V. Danes:
    Is there a reason we can’t do two or even three vitally necessary things at once?

    I can’t think of one, especially when they aren’t linked at the hip. A wealthy economy with racists in charge can exist, and a poor economy with equality can exist. That a good economy will lift all boats and therefore solve other problems really is simplistic. It may solve the problem of a better middle class, it won’t solve the problem of racism, not in the way many police and the legal system is. People may be unhealthy and dying from not having enough to eat, but they actually are dying from racism and guns.

  113. 113
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @mtiffany:

    Personally, (not speaking for BLM) I can’t assume good faith because socialist critiques have a century old track record of centralizing economic justice as the panacea for what ails us. While I love socialism as an economic model, I believe this country would not overcome core racist and sexist structures via economic policy.

    For those parties who suffer under racist and sexist structure (up to and including death), their concerns are particular and immediate. Being told by wise socialist granddad that you should see things his way is not going to fly.

  114. 114
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: @Freemark:

    Nope. Don’t want to argue. Thanks for the clarification@Freemark:

    Unbelievable. Sorry if I porced your quills.

    If you genuinely believe I’m trying to make stuff up like a republican than you are so beyond the pale.

    Best wishes in your Bernie advocacy.

  115. 115
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Pogonip:
    Engels was an insulin resistant dialectic!
    Bloody splitter.

  116. 116
    Davebo says:

    @Mnemosyne (tablet):

    It’s certainly what it should be about. But it seems to have been diverted IMO to an argument about the efficacy of one protest at a candidate forum. It’s also gotten into a discussion about the policy prescriptions put into play toward the goal of ameliorating the race issues we face.

    There is no “issue of race” in America. There are dozens of them. Economic opportunities are certainly a big part of that. Civil rights, especially as they involve law enforcement is another big one. Fair housing, access to quality education at all levels, community investment, all are important.

    So yes, perhaps we should not place too much emphasis on Sander’s work with the Civil Rights movement. We can also ignore the fact that he endorsed Jesse Jackson for president not once, but twice (and was instrumental in him winning the Vermont Caucus). We can ignore every vote he cast on legislation over decades.

    But at some point you have to admit he has a pretty good record on the issues over decades and that cumulatively it’s impressive for an old white guy who faced almost no political pressure from his constituents to take those stands.

  117. 117
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @rikyrah:

    Thank you rikyrah. TRUTH.

  118. 118
    Davebo says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Now you’re just being silly. I apologize. I thought this was something you took seriously.

  119. 119
    White Trash Liberal says:

    I brought up the NSA a couple times. And for real, Snowden is celebrated for fighting an encroaching Orwellian police state.

    But the typical black community is a police state. Nancy Reagan got to joyride alongside Daryl Gates with a tank that bulldozed suspected crack houses (ie, private residences). Police state is the reality and has been. But the theoretical future police state elicits more concern than the actual police state.

    This is just to draw a comparison. Food for thought.

  120. 120
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Davebo:

    I’m deadly serious. Sorry you can’t see that.

  121. 121
    Tommy says:

    @Paul in KY: Western Illinois. State school. Macomb Il. If I had kids I’d send them tomorrow. State school.

  122. 122
    Freemark says:

    @lowercase steve: That is well reasoned argument that I nearly completely agree with. I see nothing wrong with wanting to know Bernie’s or any other candidates priorities. My over-developed sense of fairness kicks in when people make-up stuff like ‘he hasn’t done anything since marching with MLK’, etc. I especially find it activates my ODSF when he has demonstrably done more than any other candidate on the very issues he is being attacked on. It doesn’t mean I think he has done enough, or couldn’t do some things better. But most of the complaints about him don’t seem to be based on anything substantive he has done or said or hasn’t done or said. It really seems the complaints are mainly based perceptions based only on what happened or they heard happened at NN and that he is an grumpy old white man.

    That being said, perception does matter. The people voting for you need to perceive you are strong on their issues. In the end when it comes to getting elected your actual record and beliefs matter much less. I would hope the actual record and reality would help people form those perceptions, but if BJ is any indication, it is not a very realistic hope.

  123. 123
    mtiffany says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    While I love socialism as an economic model, I believe this country would not overcome core racist and sexist structures via economic policy.

    Republican characterizations of government programs designed to help the poor and needy as tyrannical confiscatory wealth transfer from hard-working, deserving whites to the hedonistic, lazy blahs lends more than a wee bit of credence to your assertion.

  124. 124
    dogwood says:

    @AnonPhenom:
    Well I listened to the entire podcast. They explain in detail what happened in Arizona and then go on at length about their frustrations with white progressives. It’s serious and amusing at the same time. What struck me was how removed I felt, not from the issue, but from the networking context where it’s playing out. As big as the issue is, it has to play out in a broader space. The vast majority of white liberals aren’t on Twitter, don’t read Kos, and certainly have no connection to NN. Yet, the discussion was all about interacting in those spaces. I agree with Steve, making Bernie recite some names and change his stump speech shouldn’t be seen as a big victory. It’s not good enough for me and it shouldn’t be good enough for them.

  125. 125
  126. 126
    kc says:

    *Reads all comments*

    So, Rand Paul, then?

  127. 127
    kc says:

    @Freemark:

    I especially find it activates my ODSF when he has demonstrably done more than any other candidate on the very issues he is being attacked on. It doesn’t mean I think he has done enough, or couldn’t do some things better. But most of the complaints about him don’t seem to be based on anything substantive he has done or said or hasn’t done or said. It really seems the complaints are mainly based perceptions based only on what happened or they heard happened at NN and that he is an grumpy old white man

    Truthiness isn’t just for wingnuts.

  128. 128
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Welp, we’ve got a live one.

  129. 129
    Sly says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Personally, (not speaking for BLM) I can’t assume good faith because socialist critiques have a century old track record of centralizing economic justice as the panacea for what ails us. While I love socialism as an economic model, I believe this country would not overcome core racist and sexist structures via economic policy.

    Not just this country. No nominally socialist country, from social democracies to those that operate under the most extensive forms of Soviet-style state socialism, have made class identities so primal among their populace that all other identities fall to the wayside and disappear. Some of the most intensely racist people I’ve met on-line have been from Scandinavia, where the socialist utopia is under constant threat from the menacing brown hordes. And, at the end of the day, even hard-core Communist regimes always – always – appealed to ethnic nationalism, and not class consciousness, in order to create and maintain popular support for the regime.

  130. 130
    EthylEster says:

    @rikyrah wrote:

    Driving While Black IS REAL.
    Walking While Black IS REAL.
    Shopping While Black IS REAL.
    And, NONE of them have to do with whether or not one has a job….
    They all have to do with whether one is BLACK IN AMERICA.

    Thanks for making this very good point.

  131. 131
    Freemark says:

    @pamelabrown53: I apologize for saying you are making things up to argue about like a Republican. That was uncalled for. I’ve been in several arguments with Republicans and frackers both in person and online here in Pa recently who would keep arguing as if I had made argument I actually hadn’t made. Having you appear to do the same thing pissed me off. I was wrong to say what I did.

  132. 132
    Sly says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    It’s just identity politics.

    I want to take this sentence and beat it about the head and neck with a shovel until it stops moving.

    All politics is identity politics. The term is redundant. It’s just become a euphemistic shorthand for “political issues white dudes are compelled to learn about in order to get what they want, but would rather not in order to maintain their safe distance from the real world.”

  133. 133
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Good god, do you have any notion what a clueless, racist twit you come off as? Also tragically misinformed. Jesus.

  134. 134
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Davebo: They got their issues heard throughout the progressive blog-o-sphere, a space that, despite copious denials, clearly needed to hear it. Fuckin’ successful action.

  135. 135
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @White Trash Liberal: I thought your snark was on point.

  136. 136
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Freemark: I think his online supporters are his biggest problem. (Although I have issues with some of his votes. Not going to lie.) Just the other day one of his supporters came on here lecturing about how Bernie believes that social equality will be solved when we address income inequality or whatever. I have no idea if Sanders actually believes this or is working this into his stump speeches. But this is the image being flogged to all and sundry. Frankly, I think anybody who tells me that in this day and age is dangerously out of touch.

  137. 137
    Sly says:

    @Another Holocene Human:
    ACT UP got in people’s faces about the AIDS crisis. Pissed a lot of them off. Got told they were alienating important allies, even from within the Gay Rights community.

    They didn’t give a fuck because people were dying and, at the end of the day, people with influence would rather have them inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in. They got the political establishment to stop being silent about the crisis, because when hundreds of people bust in on Sunday Church service and call the Archbishop of the New York Diocese a murderer to his face, politicians can’t ignore it.Their members got on the boards of important public institutions like the NIH and expedited clinical trials of live-saving drugs. They got the pharmaceutical industry to lower the cost of those drugs for the people who needed them; a course of AZT was $10,000 per year when it got on the market, and Burroughs Wellcome dropped the price by a third after just one ACT UP protest at the NYSE.

    In other words, they saved lives. Which is exactly what they wanted to do in the first place.

    If BLM stops just one black person from being summarily executed by the state, that’s a worthwhile goal no matter how many white liberals have their feelings hurt because their assumption of being an all-important ally was put to an actual test.

  138. 138
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Sly: That would be a valid reason to distrust Sanders if he only advocated economic remedies. But he has explicitly called out issues with structural racism (prior to the Netroots protest and after it) and supported legislation for non-economic remedies to racial injustice throughout his career as a legislator. I think his ideology explains why he thinks economic remedies are so important, but he seems to get that economic and social justice issues are intertwined and to understand that economic equality isn’t a panacea all by itself. Do you disagree?

  139. 139
    Cervantes says:

    @ruemara:

    No one is saying walking with MLK is a little thing

    Whereas Elon James White in the post above:

    we don’t care if you marched with King

    It ought to be funny, but it isn’t.

  140. 140
    dogwood says:

    @Sly:
    “All politics is identity politics”.
    Republicans use “identity politics” as a dog whistle. Anyone who is a regular voter is engaging in identity politics. The privilege white people have is that they have a wide spectrum of identities to choose from.

  141. 141
    ruemara says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: HAHAHAHAH! yeah. Well, that’s great outreach.

  142. 142
    mike in dc says:

    It sounds like Bernie has gotten a little better about these issues post-NN. I hope that continues, and I hope his people reschedule a sit-down with EJW and TWiB.

  143. 143
    Sly says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    To an extent I agree. To take this a bit further, I think this is less about Sanders as a specific politician than it is about the progressive space that supports him and how black progressives fit into that space within the framework of current events. Stuff like #BernieSoBlack shouldn’t be taken as a criticism as Sanders, but as a criticism of his most ardent fanboys who are making very dangerous assumptions not just about black voters, but American leftism in general. BLM is not in the mood for fanboy politics, and no one else should be, either.

  144. 144
    ruemara says:

    @Cervantes: “We don’t care” =/= “is not a little thing”. Again, I’m not sure why you are die hard on this. Did you want us to give Sanders a cookie for a march? Do you know how many good people of all races, genders, religions & sexuality marched? I thank them, but it’s not some hallowed icon an entire voting block needs to genuflect before. It’s not what you did then, it’s what are you doing now – is that not clear enough? We are doing exactly what we should do as voters in the primary, ask a goddamn question from someone who is trying to get our votes. Now considering how angry I see progressives at GMOs, TPP, Banksters, et al, you’ll forgive me if I don’t take kindly to the dismissal of the anger, fear and concern black people are having right now at fucking being black in America. It’s a little bit fatal. We have agency and frankly, fuck anyone who thinks that us using that agency is wrong time wrong place wrong method wrong candidate, because most of the people whining in this thread would splooge if this had been Hillary & Webb caught flatfooted. At least Hillary had her flatfoot moment and learned, which Sanders has done also. Which is the damned point of a primary.
    I’m blessed to see some quality obtuse in supposedly smart liberals this past week. Thank you for doing your part in missing the point. Do you plan on consistently missing the point or will you pivot to something else now? I do recommend doing something else, but you are Cervantes and tilting at windmills does seem to be a thing with you.

  145. 145
    mtiffany says:

    @Sly:

    Stuff like #BernieSoBlack shouldn’t be taken as a criticism as Sanders, but as a criticism of his most ardent fanboys who are making very dangerous assumptions not just about black voters, but American leftism in general. BLM is not in the mood for fanboy politics, and no one else should be, either.

    Then how do you correct those dangerous assumptions of the ‘Sanders’ fanboys’ if they’re being trolled and criticized (#BernieSoBlack) rather than engaged? Are they an enemy that needs to be defeated or are they potential allies that can be won over and persuaded to join the cause?

  146. 146
    kc says:

    From Oliver Willis, this makes a lot of sense to me:

    If you just protest something, it isn’t going to change policy. I think this belief comes about thanks to the fairy tale manner in which social change has been discussed in America, particularly related to the progressive movement.

    When Martin Luther King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SNCC, the NAACP and thousands of other organizations marched and demonstrated against racism, they didn’t simply protest against the concept of racism. Their direct actions were almost always targeted at some policy, whether within a city, state, or nationally. There were not civil rights marches to “raise awareness” of systemic racism. The protests were about: bus service, counter service, voter registration, education access, and on and on. They weren’t protests just to have a protest, but instead protests with a very clear “ask” of government, government officials, elected representatives and beyond.

    Similary, the Vietnam War did not just end when protesters hit the streets in outrage. Neither President Johnson nor Nixon was swayed to end the war based on hippies and slogans and the like. The war ended — as it did in Iraq — when the American people got tired of losing their family members in a conflict that made no sense, or watched the coffins of young men get unloaded from cargo planes every day without fail. That’s what ended the war.

    So in today’s system, simply protesting against politicians without asking them for something will not work. It didn’t work with Occupy Wall Street and it won’t work here.

    The other issue is that people appear to think solutions come from politicians. In an ideal world, sure, our politicians would sit in a room with each other, put their thinking caps on and come up with a solution, then they enlist the support of others to make it happen.

    In the real world, politicians do what outside forces tell them to. Democrats both under President Clinton and President Obama didn’t magically come up with the idea to do health insurance reform on their own. There has been longstanding pressure on Democratic politicians, for decades, to reform the system. When Democrats introduced and voted on the Affordable Care Act, it was the culmination of a pressure campaign.

    For them to act, we can’t lambast – for instance – Bernie Sanders for not magically coming up with a plan to appease #BlackLivesMatter.

    What instead has to be done is to present politicians with a slate of ideas/policies/laws — concrete ideas, not pie in the sky unicorn talk about “ending white supremacy,” etc. — and then hold their feet to the fire if they choose not to support the slate.

  147. 147
    julia says:

    People like Bernie Sanders because they believe him to speak his mind honestly, and he does. I like him a lot. I appreciate he is running because he voices the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which doesn’t get a lot of MSM attention. He is prodding Hilary to move leftward. However, I do not support him for President. My main issue with him is he’s too old. I wish Hilary was younger. Bernie will be 75 in 2016. That takes him out of contention, as far as I’m concerned. I remember Reagan very well, and it was clear that he was suffering with Alzheimer’s in his second term. Even my father, a pretty staunch (old school) Republican, said at the time he should never have run for a second term because of his age. Bernie is also great on economic issues, income inequality, Wall Street, etc. But he isn’t nearly as strong when he moves out of his comfort zone. I believe Hilary to be a much better, stronger and more well-rounded candidate in a general election. If BLM can move all the candidates to promoting issues important to the Black community in a meaningful way, more power to them!!

  148. 148
    Paula says:

    Comparing Bernie Sanders’ legislative intentions to HRC’s kinda misses the point though, right? Sanders isn’t going to win, but he is expected to move her left, and that involves clearly articulated opinions on all sorts of issues, not just economics. Also, I don’t know anyone who takes the racism of America seriously without taking class issues into account as well (granted, most of them are academics for whom intersectionality is kind of old hat theory).

    He’s treated as the “ideal” candidate, not the one you have to hold your nose to vote for. So he has to be very close to consistent and perfect to have the expected effect of convincing political laymen and his opponents that he has to be answered.

  149. 149
    dogwood says:

    @kc:
    I agree with Willis as well. I listened to the entire podcast and I didn’t hear any talk of specific policy. BLM faces the same problem that so many democratic leaning advocacy groups, and that’s putting their energies into influencing a presidential election. I think I read yesterday that the NYPD commissioner is asking the legislature to make resisting arrest a felony. That’s appalling. And if he succeeds, there won’t be a damn thing any president can do about it.

  150. 150
    CK says:

    @Steve from Antioch: Im not sure why the BLM are harassing people that are on their side. Why not do this at the Republican convention?

    Also, FWIW black choices matter too. Everyones choices matter. You have to take personal responsibility for yourself and your actions.

  151. 151

    @kc:

    So, Rand Paul, then?

    Sounds like it to me. Rand Paul has spent the last couple years speaking very eloquently about the issues facing people of color. He meets the criteria of:

    a) doing something recently
    b) campaigning for the black vote

    If that’s the standard, he should get the black vote in a landslide. But that’s not the standard, of course. This post and comments are just the normal gratuitous left-bashing that Balloon Juice is famous for.

  152. 152
    Sly says:

    @mtiffany:

    Are they an enemy that needs to be defeated or are they potential allies that can be won over and persuaded to join the cause?

    On an individual basis? Both. Events like the one that took place at NN do a pretty good job of sorting out who is who.

  153. 153
    rikyrah says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Look, we get it, Bernie Sanders is very white and will therefore have to jump through many hoops to qualify for the oh-so-important “black vote”

    Yes, despite your ridiculousness….

    it is oh-so-important.

    Show me a Democrat that wins without it.

  154. 154
    karen marie says:

    @Steve from Antioch: This attack by BLM against “progressives” pisses me off. If their goal is to make “progressive” a dirty word, they are succeeding. Nice job, kids. Apparently there are some specific people who label themselves as “progressives” who have upset BLM activists. It’s chickenshit to not simply go after them and instead smear an amorphous group which results in the alienation of a lot of people who are otherwise on your side. Does that make me “not a real ally”? Go fuck yourself, and good luck.

  155. 155
    karen marie says:

    @the Conster: @pamelabrown53: No, it’s fucking retarded. Are you 12?

  156. 156
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @karen marie:

    It makes you not a real ally because you are critiquing manners. You are doing it wrong is not a valid excuse to ignore black lives.

  157. 157
    mtiffany says:

    @rikyrah:

    Show me a Democrat that wins without it.

    Excellent point. Very true. Democrats cannot win the general without ‘the black vote.’

    However, also true, Democrats have lost the general even when they won ‘the black vote.’ Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore*, Kerry.

    *Nader notwithstanding.

  158. 158
    Admiral_Komack says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Yep, you’re Just Some Fuckhead, alright.

    It’s not a compliment, asshole.

  159. 159
    Paul Dempsey says:

    I was talking to a WW2 vet at the VA the other day. You know, that slacker hadn’t killed a single Nazi in the last 70 years?

  160. 160
    Kropadope says:

    @Paul Dempsey: Are you trying to imply that you don’t think racism is a current problem?

    Just asking, cuz Nazi military aggression certainly isn’t.

  161. 161
    Kropadope says:

    @pamelabrown53:

    No, Sanders was supposed to first of all listen. Also, too, why not join the protesters who were chanting: Say Her Name by responding with Sandra Bland. Shows empathy and respect while updating his racial justice creds.

    Because what the candidate does in office or proposes during his/her campaign doesn’t matter nearly as much as using the correct Twitter-fueled language.

    Seriously, if someone was chanting “Say her name” at me, I would be like “whose?” If someone asked me “What do you think of what happened to Sandra Bland,” however, I would note it was a tragedy and express a serious interest in following up with the investigation.

    Not everyone knows for hashtags.

  162. 162
    Paul Dempsey says:

    No, I’m trying to say that fighters get old and, while nobody wants or needs approbation for what they might have done, neither do we deserve contempt for not manning the barricades today. On the other hand, there are no barricades to man and nothing like the marches in Mississippi. Some of us old timers might be tempted to come out on the promise of real action as opposed to arguments about mind sets.

    Yet please let me be clear. We are members of the same precious tribe, something new in history. Our differences are merely generational.

  163. 163
    Kropadope says:

    @Paul Dempsey: I disagree. The barricades definitely need to be staffed,people are dying and it’s a tragedy.

    The problem is that I don’t think we need to be squabbling amongst ourselves about lack of empathy because some of us aren’t plugged into Twitter style activvism

  164. 164
    LAC says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: living up to your name, I see.

  165. 165
    LAC says:

    @ruemara: sad… You listen to a great podcast and then come here to play six degrees of MLK with Bernie Sandinistas. And have black activists scolded because they show up up at the Net Roots rose scented fart fest and fluster president Bernie Sanders. I will be sure to get to that next black peoples meeting and let’s vote for Bernie because reasons…

  166. 166
    Kropadope says:

    @LAC:This seems to have stopped being about NN a while ago

  167. 167
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    When Harlan Ellison got in trouble for groping Connie Willis on stage in some kind of bizarre gag at the Hugo award ceremony several years ago, his retort was that he had marched for the ERA in the 1970s. Great, but does that give you a blank check denominated in non-sexist cred for all time? Same kind of thing.

    For the record, Harlan Ellison took a great deal of well-deserved flack from “us feminists” back in the 1970s, because his Bold Feminist Commitment was transparently about grandstanding for the benefit of a certain Harlan Ellison.

    So unless you want to tell me that Bernie Sanders has a history of “joking” about watermelons and gangstas going back to his days in the SNCC, or demanding deference from people of color because ‘fighting for You People since before you were a dribble down your mother’s leg’, your metaphor is really unfair to Sanders.

  168. 168
    Jenny says:

    Just Some Fuckhead says:
    July 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Bernie Sanders has done more for people of color than Obama. You should probably enter that into your voting calculus.

    Are all of Sanders’s supporters really this offensive? Do they all sound like Rush Limbaugh?

    Then they wonder why Sanders is doing so poorly.

  169. 169
    Paul Dempsey says:

    You are right, Kropadope — there are barricades, and we are called to stand in their defense. I hope you guys have something going in Houston when I return to the country in March.

  170. 170
    LAC says:

    @Kropadope: that’s funny, because that seems to be an issue here.

  171. 171
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Jenny: I think JSF would be the first to acknowledge he’s not representative of any particular type. He’s a performance artist, which is why his comment elicited eyerolls rather than outrage from most people who are familiar with his shtick.

    As for Sanders, he’s actually doing quite well — better than most political pros would have guessed a 70-something avowed socialist would be polling. He’s not going to be the nominee, but he’s already moved the conversation to the left on economic issues, just as many (including me) had hoped.

  172. 172
    Kropadope says:

    @LAC: No, the issue is people talking past each other. It started with NN, but now it’s people talking about how they feel about what everyone else said.

  173. 173
    LAC says:

    @Kropadope: and you seem dismissive about BLM style of activism and condescending. I followed the thread and understand English. So I guess you are contributing to the problem here as well.

  174. 174
    Tonya says:

    ABC/Washington Post Poll (7/23/15)

    Females: Hillary 71% Bernie 9%

    POC: Hillary 71% Bernie 9%

    Bernie Sander’s deficit isn’t with POC, it’s with women, since he trails Clinton by the same margin and women are a larger voting bloc than POC. Instead of whitesplaining you should be mansplaining.

    Bernie Sanders has done more for people of color women than Obama Hillary Clinton. Your should probably enter that into your voting calculus little female brain.

    /fixed

  175. 175
    Plantsmantx says:

    Yes, the black vote is all-important. That’s all ’tis to it.

  176. 176
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    I freaking love all the somber declarations that “Bernie can’t win”. I heard all the same solemn proclamations when I was campaigning my ass off for Obama in 2008.

    They are even better in the context of “Relax, center-right BJ’ers, the ultra white commie can’t win.”

  177. 177
    Cervantes says:

    @ruemara:

    You wrote a lot, which I can get to as needed — but for now I’ll stick to your first line because it’s the only part that’s responsive to what I wrote:

    I contrasted these two lines:

    No one is saying walking with MLK is a little thing

    and

    we don’t care if [X] you marched with King

    The joint implication (if any) of the two statements being that X was important and yet we don’t care about it.

    Now you attempt to clarify:

    “We don’t care” =/= “is not a little thing”

    How is this a clarification?

    Oh, and an aside: regarding your allusion to Don Quixote, I’d be happy to provide a list of good interpretations but, honestly, that topic is far afield and I’m not sure delving into it would help with the matter at hand.

  178. 178

    […] and disproportionate violence directed at them through #BlackLivesMatter and they are meeting totally irrational fear-based resistance. A number of my fellow white people significant enough to characterize the group are being immature […]

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