The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Ok, some of you may be thinking, "Aha, it's Purim tonight, and it's traditional on Purim to engage in satire. You almost got me, Bernstein." Nope.
At a town hall on "racial and economic justice" in Flint, Michigan, Sanders was scheduled to deliver a prewritten speech… "They talked over the idea and decided it was probably better to let the people of color who were on the panel discuss instead of him giving a traditional speech," [Sanders spokesman] Casca said in explaining why the speech was scrapped. He added: "He does not have those experiences. He is a white Jewish man."
In fairness to the Sanders campaign, the speech apparently was not meant to be about racism or racial justice writ large, but a specific appeal to the African-American community. And it's true that Sanders is white, and therefore hasn't had the experience of being black. But (a) I'm not sure what adding that he's Jewish accomplished, beyond that the campaign seems determined to highlight his Jewish identity this time around to obscure the fact that he has surrounded himself with antisemites. It also results in perplexing headlines such as, Sanders Campaign Says Status as 'White Jewish Man' Disqualifies From Giving Racial Justice Speech, as if Jews have never been victims of racism; and (b) You would think that if he wants the votes of African Americans, refusing to directly appeal to them on the grounds that he's white is a combination of silly, counter-productive, and overly-politically correct–especially given that Sanders, to his credit, was a civil rights activist back in the early 1960s.