Bernie Sanders had a good weekend, picking up YUGE victories in the Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii caucuses. But the mainstream media was quick to discredit those wins by attributing his success to the largely white populations of those states.
“These caucus states — largely white and rural — are the type of places Sanders traditionally does well,” CNN wrote. “In order to win the nomination, he must replicate this success in other, more ethnically diverse states that hold primaries, as he did in Michigan last month.”
Sanders’ supporters of color immediately took umbrage with this analysis and dismantled major news outlets’ ignorant whitewashing of the Democratic socialist candidate’s fan base as they rallied behind the hashtag “Bernie Made Me White.”
Finally I have white privilege.#BernieMadeMeWhite— WesleyZ3 (@50th_President) March 27, 2016
A cop tried to ticket me for jaywalking but I let him know that #BernieMadeMeWhite and he let me off with a warning.— Sam Adams (@Teapublicanways) March 28, 2016
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Sanders’ supporter and writer Leslie Lee III launched the viral hashtag to showcase the media’s total erasure of people of color from his campaign and the blatant biases of Berners: that the candidate’s support only rests with white bros.
“The common narrative in this election that Bernie has a ‘minority problem’ or that all his supporters are ‘bros’ is pervasive, and insulting to the POCs [People of Color] and women who support [him].” Lee told The Raw Story in an interview. “It hit a peak… when Hawaii, the least white state in the nation, retroactively became white or ‘not diverse’ due to the fact that Bernie won it. So, I started
#BernieMadeMeWhite…since my real existence as a black person who supports Bernie is ignored… might as well embrace my new whiteness.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has consistently dangled her minority support over Sanders as her salvaging advantage in this race. Yet to ignore Sanders increasing support with voters of color and portray Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington as majority white states is reprehensible and inaccurate. Washington is the seventh most diverse state in the country, CNN labeled two of Alaska’s counties as the most diverse in the U.S., and Hawaii is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation, with only 26.7 percent of its population identifying as white.
By discounting Sanders’ victories and generalizing his supporters, the media — like the Democratic establishment — is subtly hinting towards who has garnered their support but the public is not blind to the sly manipulation.
Banner image credit: Gage Skidmore