In recent weeks, 2016 Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders bagged a significant amount of backlash from Black Lives Matter activists for excluding the critical topic of police reform and racism from his campaign circuit.
Despite Sanders’ rollout of his “Racial Justice” campaign policy and extensive history of activism in the Civil Rights movement, Brooklyn’s own Talib Kweli stepped forth to say that it takes more than that for the black vote. During Kweli’s appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher, he gives Sanders just due for interacting on a more personable level with social activists, but insists that Sanders is not automatically granted favor.
“Just because someone has a record of civil rights doesn’t mean they’re automatically entitled to the black vote,” the former Black Star member said. “He might be the easiest because he’s somebody who’s dealing with the people more directly than a Jeb Bush or a Hillary Clinton.”
During their debate, Maher reminded him that the 73-year-old candidate is not “plainly a racist” and has received a 100 percent approval rating from the NAACP. Kweli responded with the noteworthy point that the NAACP also approved of Donald Sterling, the former L.A. Clippers owner who was banned from the NBA for his privately-made racist comments that went viral. He added that though Sanders is portrayed as more of a forward-thinker than his political opponents, it doesn’t equate to his true understanding of prevalent racial plights.
“The job of activism is not to be liked, or not to be polite,” he said. “Black women vote more than anybody in this country. And you have young black women who started Black Lives Matter and they are forcing this discussion. You’re not gonna be a progressive and say that just because you’re progressive that you have a grasp of racial issues.”
Catch the full convo below: