Bernie Sanders has been trying to make inroads with African-American voters for quite some time now, but so far, he has been largely unsuccessful.
Despite all his attempts and endorsements from prominent Black Lives Matter activists, the minority community has proven itself a staunch supporter of Sanders’ Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
The Vermont senator, on many occasions, has talked about systemic racism and the culture of police brutality in the country. However, his most recent attempt at sympathizing with the black voters seems to have backfired big time.
The White House hopeful was asked about presidential candidates’ “racial blind spots” during Sunday night’s Democratic debate in Flint, Michigan. In response, Sanders told the moderators and the audience a moving story about how an African-American congressman two decades ago avoided taking cabs because it was embarrassing when drivers would go past him because of his race.
Sanders also recalled an incident when a Black Lives Matter activist came up to him and told him didn't understand "what police do in certain black communities" beyond the shootings that tend to get more attention and "the degree to which we are terrorized" during everyday activities.
"When you're white, you don't know what it's like to be living in a ghetto," the presidential candidate said. "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. I believe as a nation in the year 2016 we must be firm in making it clear we will end institutionalized racism and reform a broken criminal justice system."
The answer was awkward (at best) and implied several stereotypes — only minorities are poor in the U.S., white people don’t know anything about life in the “ghetto” and all black people are born and brought up in poor areas.
Here’s how Twitterati responded to Bernie Sanders’ off-the-mark remark.
He knows that all Black people don't live in ghettos, right?— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) March 7, 2016
Of course, many white Americans know exactly what it's like to "live in the ghetto." Many, including immigrants have, do and did.— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) March 7, 2016
I really hope Sanders clarifies his comment in the coming days. I'm black and didn't grow up poor or in the ghetto. ??— Erica Bennett (@EricaANjax) March 7, 2016
That look when Bernie Sanders says you don't know what it's like to be poor. pic.twitter.com/RjIELmgvDP— Miles Kahn (@mileskahn) March 7, 2016
Bernie Sanders has to stop saying "ghetto" to refer to poor communities of color. It's racist, actually,— remy danton (@jaredloggins) March 7, 2016
Just to return to that Sanders quote: Can you not understand what it is like to be poor if you are white?— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) March 7, 2016
We have to end the view that black=ghetto=poor. And that was implied in the comments of a Democratic presidential candidate. (Sanders.)— Perry Bacon Jr. (@perrybaconjr) March 7, 2016
Watch his complete answer in the video above.