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Quoting one of the tweets from the article:

    [Sanders] is a broken-down bitter and racist old man.

This is why Democrats keep losing. It's especially stupid to call Sanders racist, given his start in politics. Sanders was an organizer of CORE and SNCC in Chicago while in college, and organized a protest of segregated campus housing ("We feel it is an intolerable situation when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university-owned apartments"). Dude saw MLK speak at the March on Washington.

When the bar for the "racist" label becomes so low it becomes meaningless, and this does a huge disservice to people who have actually experienced racism. When it becomes a magic argument-ender, it no longer means anything.

Stories from my own life, and some ranting follow.

First, I spent a couple of years hearing unemployment cases for my state. Basically, my job was to do a hearing if someone (either the company or the ex-employee) appealed the lower decision. I fast became incredibly cynical when it came to charges of racism, because every single time it was a shitty employee who was trying to blame the employer for their own failures. Now you may wonder how I know, and the simple reason is that I would ask. This is paraphrasing from memory, but is indicative:

    Claimant: I was harassed.

    Me: What did [employer] do that you felt was harassment?

    Claimant: They wrote me up after I was late 37 times in 2 months.

    Me: ...

I'm sure racial discrimination at work still happens, but shit like that (which happened every couple of weeks) makes it impossible for the legitimate claims to be taken seriously. I pity people who work for the EEOC.

Second. I volunteered at our local legal aid organization while in law school. This was a group funded by a combination of private donations and the Legal Services Corporation, and provided civil representation to low-income people (so not criminal defense). We did a lot of housing stuff (Richmond sadly has plenty of slumlords), some divorce and custody (but only if there was abuse, so those were fun), just kind of whatever. We'd go after anybody: our state's sole power utility (a lawyer for which once accused me of legal malpractice for suggesting that they can be sued, which even as a lowly 1L I knew was ridiculous), Wells Fargo, whatever.

Random aside: knowing tenant's rights served me well as a tenant myself. If any of you still rent, do some research on what your state's laws are if you haven't already.

Anyway, the "high" point of my time there was being told I was a racist while standing in the clerk's office of Richmond Circuit Court because our client had spent over a year (I worked on this case both summers of law school) ignoring everything we told her. We'd arranged a way to solve her mortgage problem by having a private investor take over the note, but she was convinced she could get the money together. She was wrong, got foreclosed on, and then this was our fault (and we were racist).

Now I get it, people (in both examples) often look for someone else to blame. It is what it is. But it doesn't excuse it either, and ultimately does more harm than good.

One, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar. As cathartic as it may be to yell at a racist, there's no evidence (whether anecdotal or more formal) that this actually helps. MLK didn't do it. There was a guy who has converted a bunch of white supremacists by simply sitting down and talking to them, which is a hell of a counterexample. And it's consistent with the conclusion that most racists have very little actual experience with the people they hate. I saw a stat awhile ago looking at Germany, and the folks who were most afraid of immigrants were also the ones with the least contact with them.

And second, as I mentioned earlier, it cheapens claims of racism. It's easy to be dismissive of someone crying race when your overwhelming experiences have been of people using it as excuse. For white folks, we don't generally see racism the way other races will, and it's difficult for anyone to trust a stranger over our own lived experiences. It took me until the shooting in St. Louis and all these protests to think that where there's smoke there's probably fire. Plus, talking to some folks there (mostly cabbies and the janitors in the building I was working in) really helped, and I am grateful to this day for their willingness to share their impressions and their fears with some white stranger who for all they knew could've been wildly unsympathetic. It was an interesting time, actually, and I'm hoping to write more about it one of these days.

Ultimately, we're all in it together, and none of us can solve this problem alone. It sucks that so much of the onus is on the same people who are taking the brunt of it, but pretending reality is other than it is doesn't lead anywhere. We can complain or we can get to work, but I don't think any of us have the energy to do both.