Last week, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was parlayin’ with Killer Mike, throwing up what could inevitably be mistaken for gang signs, and going to soul food restaurants in The A like it was just a typical day in the ‘hood and shit. Now, if that’s not a White man trying to assimilate into Blackness, I don’t know what is. That’s damn near the Blackest thing I’ve seen this year. Even Obama hasn’t courted his rapper-supporters in the same manner.
Moderate historical research on The Sand Man—my personal nickname for Bernie, because I hope he puts his wack-ass rivals to sleep come the 2016 election—will hip you to just how Black this man is. He was born and raised in Brooklyn. In 1941. That’s less than 100 years removed from when Black slavery (allegedly) ended in the United States. Before gentrification. Way before that lone pioneer Columbused–I mean, “settled”–downtown Brooklyn. Do you realize how Black that is? I’m talking a Brooklyn that preceded Spike Lee Joints and bodegas.
Bernie’s Jewish, but less than a century earlier, based on looks alone, he literally could have been willed a plantation to oversee.
In the name of Black baby Hay-Sus, this man endorsed Jesse Jackson for president…before some of you were even born. Twice!
Forget I said that and strike it from the record. Not necessarily the best example of why Bernie should be the leader of the free world, but I’m sure he had his reasons based in progressiveness. He did get slapped in the face at a rally around that time, too–presumably for supporting Jackson.
Yes, he’s definitely had his mea culpa moments, which I’m certainly not excusing. But he also seemed to make use of the slight margin of error he was granted to make up for them. Besides, if we no longer supported folks who shared only a fraction of our sensibilities, and not all, every Black actor, comedian, athlete and talk show host on Earth would be without a following, broke as hell and homeless. Bernie has shown solidarity with people of color in ways that resonate with us, past and present. And not by embarrassing himself doing rudimentary shit like the Nae Nae on national TV.
All that aside, he aligns himself with Socialism. And all your favorite Black Americans have at some point. Truuuust me, the only socialists you know–and the most important ones–are Black. Tupac’s mama, Afeni Shakur. His godmother, Assata. Hell, the entire Black Panther Party. Malcolm X and even MLK, Jr. All of whom were martyred courtesy of J. Edgar Hoover and his COINTELPRO or other White supremist adjacent fuckery. Shit, from the looks of things, Bernie need to go’on and put FOI on speed dial.
In true Black rapper fashion at Bernie's Atlanta campaign rally, Killer Mike passionately endorsed political revolution and declared that he has "no time to relive the Reagan years," but not before informing anyone listening that he had “tours to go on” and “jets to fly on.” Full disclosure, I was born in the thick of the Reagan years and don’t remember them like some of y’all do, but I’ve heard and read the shit was bad. Before Killer stepped away from the podium, he made sure to clarify that Bernie “spent the last 50 years radically fighting for your rights and mine.”
Frankly, I’ve seen actual Black people less enthusiastic about our liberation than Bernie Sanders or Killer Mike is. And I’m sure one of you is reading this right now. And that’s exaaaactly why Bernie Sanders just might be Blacker than you are.
Lelita Cannon is a PSA-specialist and anti-fuckery advocate. She lives by the adage, 'I ain't no killa, but don't push me.' She also is the creator and editor-in-chief of www.listentolita.com and the blog, Diva Style.