Dem Candidates Describe Their Own Racial ‘Blind Spots’

The Democratic presidential candidates were asked by CNN’s Don Lemon what racial “blind spots” they each possess during Sunday’s debate in Flint, Michigan.

“Being a white person in the United States of America, I know that I have never had the experience that so many people in this audience have had,” Hillary Clinton said.

Flint is almost 60 percent black.

Clinton spoke about meeting with the mothers of Sandra Bland, a black woman who died in police custody in Texas, and Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old who was fatally shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida.

“I will do everything that I can to not only do the best to empathize, but to tear down the barriers of racism that are in the justice system and education and health care system,” the former secretary of state said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) echoed that he could not pretend to understand the experience of black Americans.

“You don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto and to be poor,” he said, a comment that raised eyebrows among viewers who thought the senator was characterizing all black Americans as impoverished.

“You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or get dragged out of a car,” Sanders said. “I believe as a nation in the year 2016, we must be firm in making it clear: we will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: