I know, it’s difficult to trust an old white man. Even still, sometimes I see Bernie Sanders and unconsciously dream of drop kicking him in the chest for the ghost of Rosa Parks. I get that.
But after I chill for a moment, and reflect on the potential candidates of the 2016 presidential bid, I push past the cognitive dissonance and realize Bernie Sanders is the blackest candidate we have. On rare occasions, we need an old white man to combat society’s villains. Think about it. Obi wan Kenobi, Dumbledore, Abolitionist John Brown, Gandalf. They were all old white men needed to combat their respective forces of evil. Let me iterate a few points going through my head this election cycle about Bernie Sanders.
He rolls with Killer Mike. The hip hop artist, who is currently using his clout to defend rap as free speech on a supreme court level, is feeling the Bern ( I must say, never would I have ever dreamed that the dude featured on Bone Crusher’s “Never Scared” would become a prominent social activist). This tells me one thing, Sanders is dank enough to converse with a rapper who is so beloved, folks threw money at just the chance to buy his parody album of cat noises.
In an interview with Senator Sanders, at a barber shop no less, Killer Mike noted that every barbershop has an honorary white guy.
“When I was growing up, it was Martin Luther King, Black Jesus, and John F. Kennedy,” Killer Mike said. “In my shop, you’re really about to get the heralded position of white guy. It’s going to be like, Martin, Malcolm, and Bernie.”
That’s real talk. No one else is talking about unemployed African Americans. No one else is talking about wealth inequality, a janky biased judicial system, police brutality…and if they are, the volume is about as loud as the anticipation for the 2016 Omarion album, Reasons (you didn’t know bruh was still making music either, don’t kid yourself). If Killer Mike is a representation of “real” hip-hop, the sort of hip-hop that is as Chuck D. once said “the black CNN,” then Bernie Sanders has a potential major backing from black culture.
He’s been doing black things way longer than you. It’s no lie, Sanders is old. If elected he’d smash the 69-year-old record of Ronald Reagan by roughly 6 years. He’s been around to experience first hand the rise and fall of Bill Cosby, the debut of the double down KFC “sandwich”, The Jerry Curl, every Shaft movie in theatres, the word fleek, and was literally present for the renowned “I have a Dream” speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963.
Sen. Sanders was also a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) back in the 1960s. This organization holds its significance right along SNCC, the SCLC and the NAACP as ass-kicking civil rights activist groups. I’m an African Humanities graduate and just assumed membership would have required organic blackness for validation. Sanders is like the real life old white jewish version of Robert Freeman. Only they’re not just stories, he’s really about that life, which brings me to my next point…
He ain’t a shook one. Bern Man has spit the same beliefs for 40 plus years. The keeping it 100 consistency is only rivaled by perhaps Charlamagne tha God, or maybe the assurance of $1 Arizona tea in a can. Money, political favors, and media spin fail to move Sanders from his lane. If you think Tech n9ne is independent, sit down and cop that real life, spitting “bars” against the system, Bernie album. No other candidate this season, red or blue, has clapped back against major corporate political funding, wealth inequality, unequal power structures, and racial discrimination like Bernie Sanders.
Case in point, in a recent debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Sanders speculated that Flint, Michigan’s water crisis may not have happened at such a severity if the community were a bit more pastey. Other political figures would roast under those words. Not Sanders.
When Black Lives Matter protesters stormed his rally last August in Seattle, Bernie calmly gave up the mic. He came back a few days later at a rally in L.A. with the same fire of Nas’ Either. Among other zealous statements made that night, he exclaimed, “There’s no president that will fight harder to end institutional racism.”
As the Guardian reported, “he told no jokes or anecdotes” at that L.A. rally. He simply flooded the room with that raw, K-dot’s verse from Control, bang em over the head, I’m too upset for proper sentence structure because student debt is too damn high, why is Tyler Perry still making movies, typical Bernie Sanders swag. I respect that.
By the way, Sanders has a new ad out that features not only his vocal stance on racial profiling and unequal treatment from police, but none other than the daughter of Eric Garner, Erica Garner, to bring home that point.
As I’ve said, its tough looking past the old white skin and seeing a little flavor. But, ever since Hillary Clinton was caught pandering to latino grandmothers or whatever the hell her campaign was trying to do with that article titled “7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela,” I’ve been looking for a candidate that would reserve a seat for people of color at the dinner of social policy. I believe Sen. Bernie Sanders is that cat. He’s not pandering to a voting block, he’s as Nina Turner said, “Reminding Big Mama down the street, or Mr. Jones up the street that they have voice.” Sanders rides with the people against a historically unequal system, economically and otherwise. And I’m just going out on a limb here in assuming he too would have chosen Kendrick over Drake just like Obama did.