Bernie Sanders' Policy Brutality Gaff Doesn't Mean He's Racist
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Yes, Bernie Sanders Flubbed A Police Brutality Q&A, But His Answer Doesn't Make Him A Racist

Attacking a candidate for the way he tried to respond to a question is not going to do anything.

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Yes, Bernie Sanders Flubbed A Police Brutality Q&A, But His Answer Doesn't Make Him A Racist

This past Saturday, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders held a question-and-answer session at HBCU Benedict College's Second Step Presidential Justice Forum. A black male student there asked Sanders how he should handle getting pulled over by a police officer — a pertinent question coming from somebody living in a nation that frequently visits police brutality on its black male citizens.

Sanders responded by telling the student that he should "respect what [the police officers] are doing so that you don't get shot in the back of the head," and to "engage the officer in a polite away."

Sanders' response was bad and I can see why it offended people, but I don't think he said what he did with bad intentions. Institutionalized racism is real and prevalent in our country, but we very often place the blame on solely police officers when that's not always the case. Police officers are trained to respond with force if the perpetrator does not comply with what the officers say. Sanders' comment was obviously referring to this, and he said what he could as a privileged white male giving advice to a black student. The student simply asked him what to do in such a situation, and that's what Sanders' answer was.

When Joe Biden, the front-running Democratic candidate, was asked the same question, he answered with, "If you were my daughter, you'd be a caucasian girl and you wouldn't be pulled over. Institutional racism should no longer exist. As president, I'll put forward change to help put an end to it." While the answer drew both real and virtual applause, it honestly sounds more scripted and robotic. Biden told the girl what she wanted to hear. Sanders told the student what he would personally do. The latter seems more authentic, in my opinion.

Police brutality, institutionalized racism, and racial disparities in incarceration are real and serious issues in our country, but attacking a candidate for the way he tried to respond to a question about it is not going to do anything. Applauding the candidates that say only what you want to hear isn't, either.

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