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#BlackLivesMatter Protesters Disrupt Bernie Sanders Again

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Many white liberals are grieved and aggravated by the disruption of BLM protesters. In the past, BLM has interrupted Democratic candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders at Netroots Nations, and now Seattle. Unfortunately for Sanders, once again, he was met with the in-your face BLM protesters, who refused to allow their grievances to be whitewashed by frustrated white progressives.

In Seattle, the BLM protesters were not deterred by boos and racial slurs hurled at them. Neither were they deterred by Sanders eagerness to hush and rush them off the stage. Thinking he could cater with yes black lives matter, but there are many other things to talk about as well, like economic disparity. No such luck for Bernie, because the black women of the movement stayed, persistent with their chant “black lives matter,” redirecting ‘Feel the Bern’.  In the end it was Sanders who walked away angry, again.

Hot Air believes Sanders has become a “hostage” of BLM. I have a feeling BLM is okay with this. Oddly, I think this is a good thing too. I believe these disruptions will force the party, particularly Sanders, to address the issues, which will only pivot him in a positive light with the black community, if addressed correctly. The BLM movement would not spend a significant amount of time following Sanders if they didn’t believe he was worth the effort and time. Contrary to the media, Sanders is not an easy target due to lack of security. If that were the case they would berate Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb as well. Neither of these candidates light the fire for BLM to delegate their time too as Bernie Sanders does.

Although Sanders may feel under attack, the truth is, he’s not. Like Martin Luther King Jr. his rhetoric is being tested, as it should be. After-all, Sanders has bragged about his track record of supporting the Civil Rights Movement. He proclaims to be against police militarization. He claims to be the crusader of economic prosperity. He claims to be the protector of public education. Candidacy is about showcasing your truth and strength. It’s also about facing the heat.

With BLM, Bernie Sanders is failing, and it’s truly a shame because Bernie is a good man, and formidable candidate.

Here’s my advice to Bernie: Take the grievances of BLM seriously and stop walking away. Feel the Bern.

Black people are tired of being used by the Democratic Party for their votes. Far too many promises of equality and civil rights have been made. Oprah may be a billionaire, white people may worship at the altar of Beyoncé (except Republican Mike Huckabee), Barack Obama may be president, and for the first time in history a black woman is Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. All are great accomplishments. Yet in the black community, what remains is the same of what has always been: economic disparity, police brutality, segregation, underfunded schools, gang activity, infiltration of drugs, injustice in the court system, lack of access to affordable healthcare (tied to jobs), injustice in lending practices, and a high rate of abortion. Adding to the shame is dismantling of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and an erosion of Affirmative Action laws in many states.

Black people continue to struggle to survive in this country. We’re only 13 percent of the population. Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 28.7 percent of black people are unemployed. The Federal Bureau of Prisons reports black people make up 37.6 percent of the incarceration population. These numbers are staggering and a sad reflection of the plight many black Americans have been dealing with. Black people continue to be marginalized by bigotry and unarmed black citizens are killed at an alarming rate by the police. It’s been one year since the tragic shooting of Michael Brown and Refinery29 has reported 314 black men have been killed by the police and one-third were unarmed. Washington Post documents, a black male is seven times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a white male. This is the definition of tragic.

But white progressives in Seattle are mad at BLM protesters, because they did not allow Bernie Sanders to speak. Talk about priorities?

What happened to the progressives I always loved, you know the ones that are concerned about all communities? What happened to the progressives that stood up for the right of a citizen to protest? I do not recall such backlash by progressives over the Occupy Wall Street protests; certainly they disrupted everyday life on the streets of New York and in many other communities? And women with their breast out protesting for better treatment of nourishing mothers − progressives have not treated them as heathens for their disruption − and what many would subscribed as vulgarity in nudity. Why the irate reaction towards #BlackLivesMatter protesters who are disrupting with a righteous cause for equality in economic policy, justice, and community.

Could it be the Republican Party pegged the Democrats correctly, nothing but a bunch of white racists playing black people for fools? As a black liberal, certainly I hope this is not the case, because I love the Democratic Party. I believe in the power of liberalism, most black people do.

White progressives join in #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName because black progressives would do the same for you, if such grievances were occurring in your community too.

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Quiana Fulton is a writer and culture critic. She has a bachelors in political science. Contact her via https://about.me/quianafulton.

CounterPunch Magazine

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