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Tue Jun 12, 2018, 12:32 AM

Sanders: "Aren't most of the people who sell the drugs African American?" [View all]

The experience was a new one for Sanders. On a trip to Seattle in August 2015, Black Lives Matter activists interrupted two events in one day. The next day, in a meeting with Don't Shoot PDX, a Portland group loosely affiliated with Black Lives Matter, Sanders repeatedly answered questions by referring the activists to his campaign website. (“He said: ‘I don't know you and u don't me, so you have to read my website, you can go on [there] and see my work and judge me from that,’" one attendee recalled in a Facebook post about the meeting.)

Around that time, the candidate brought on Symone Sanders to serve as his national press secretary and one of the first black faces of his campaign. During her first week on the job, she said, she told Sanders that he had to treat racial inequality and economic inequality as “parallel issues” — a suggestion she said he ran with. “I [told him], you know, economic equality is an issue. It’s something we need to address. But for some people it doesn’t matter how much money you make, it doesn’t matter where you went to school, it doesn’t matter what your parents do. It doesn’t matter that Sandra Bland had a job and was on her way to teach for her alma mater. It doesn’t matter. None of that matters.”

By the time his campaign aides scrambled to release a detailed criminal justice platform on Aug. 9, Sanders was still struggling. In a September meeting with Campaign Zero, a movement formed out of the Ferguson protests, activists asked Sanders why, in his opinion, there were a disproportionate amount of people of color in jail for nonviolent drug offenses. Sanders, seated across the table, a yellow legal pad at hand, responded with a question of his own, according to two people present: “Aren’t most of the people who sell the drugs African American?” The candidate, whose aides froze in the moment, was quickly rebuffed: The answer, the activists told him, was no. Even confronted with figures and data to the contrary, Sanders appeared to have still struggled to grasp that he had made an error, the two people present said.



https://www.buzzfeed.com/rubycramer/bernie-sanders-revolution-needs-black-voters-to-win-but-can?utm_term=.xhp4gKb0yx#.sfdvgAbDLn

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