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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Voices / Letters from readers

For Sanders, a missed opportunity

Bernie Sanders missed a golden opportunity in the second Democratic debate when Kamala Harris was taking Joe Biden to task for his recently expressed support of segregationist Senators.

The New York Times featured a picture on its front page the following morning of the three of them in the middle of this exchange, with Harris and Biden confronting each other.

And Sanders was standing between them — just staring ahead, not doing what he as a white male should have done at a much-earlier time in the debate: addressing Biden on the matter that Harris raised, not leaving it up to a black woman to do the heavy lifting that people of color have always had to do by themselves in taking the lead on addressing racism in our country.

Racism in whatever form it assumes is not the responsibility of black people, if it is to be honestly dealt with in white America. It is the responsibility of white people (and particularly men) to address other white people (especially men) about it, most notably whenever our behavior, however unintentional, gives support to racism, in whatever way it does.

The obvious truth of the matter has rendered it as a cliché at this point, but perhaps it bears repeating once again that race is not a black problem (though white people make it theirs to suffer). White folks — it’s our problem.

And it begins by being a so-called “stand-up guy” whenever the situation calls for it.

Tim Stevenson

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Originally published in The Commons issue #519 (Wednesday, July 17, 2019). This story appeared on page D1.

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