Talib Kweli Defends Bernie Sanders Critics in Debate With Bill Maher

Bernie Sanders has notably caught heavy criticism from activists in the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks. Talib Kweli went on Real Time with Bill Maher and explained why the backlash is warranted.


This ongoing conversation of course stems from black activists calling for Sanders to put forth a more rigid police reform plan during his presidential campaign. The counterpoint from white liberals is essentially: chill.

“Bernie Sanders plainly is not a racist,” says Maher in the clip. “Bernie Sanders is not the problem.” Maher argues that Bernie has “a 100 percent approval rating from the NAACP,” to which Kweli responds, “NAACP liked Donald Sterling, too.”


Kweli adds, “Just because someone has a record of civil rights doesn’t mean they’re automatically entitled to the black vote. [Bernie] might be the easiest [target] because he’s somebody who’s dealing with the people more directly than a Jeb Bush or a Hillary Clinton.”

Later, Kweli thankfully points out how significant black women’s voices have been in forcing the dialogue. “The job of activism is not to be liked, or not to be polite,” says Kweli. “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.”

Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

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Yoga Nerd, Maybe Dead

The whole point of the protest being aimed at white progressives at this point is to point out that white people aren’t entitled to ANYTHING from black people. Why is it so fucking difficult for white people to understand how condescending it is to think their ostensibly progressive politics inures them from issues of race? Sander’s views on race are through a Socialist lens that argues that racially inequality stems from economic disparity rather than the other way around - a viewpoint with plenty of flaws, which calls for more dialogue with POC to refine those views, to better understand issues that frankly he doesn’t much tackle in Vermont.

At this point, Sanders isn’t even the main issue - the issue is white people getting butthurt that no one is absolved.