Why the Bernie EBros are a disservice to Bernie supporters

How Bernie Sanders’ followers made me support Joe Biden even more

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jesse Jackson endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders today, the same day that Senator Kamala Harris endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. And I rolled my eyes because I knew exactly what was going to happen next — Bernie EBros (i.e. Bernie Sanders Entitled Brothers) were going to come out in droves to appear just as unlikable as they have consistently been.

They were going to salivate over the opportunity to look past a grown man saying he wanted to cut a former president’s nuts off because obviously Jesse Jackson is a prominent voice for African-American politics and social justice. Skip right on by an actual politician who won the presidency for eight years and the vice president by his side. Go with the guy who’s making sneaky comments on Bill O’Reilly’s show and forgot his mic was on. The only problem is this: There are entirely too many black folks who couldn’t give a damn who Jesse Jackson endorses, and too often Bernie EBros couldn’t care less about African-Americans in their everyday dealings. But it supports their political agenda, so now they’re Jesse Jackson fans, too.

Full disclosure: I met Jesse Jackson before. I don’t care for him. His idea of a greeting was to see me walk right by him in a newsroom, simply to grab a personal item and go back out the door. And his response was to swiftly grab and squeeze my arm, and stare straight ahead like a mannequin. He never said a word, just felt like it was OK to grab a stranger’s arm. I yanked my arm away. My guess is he would’ve never behaved like that with a man; maybe he would’ve acted like a decent human being and stuck his hand out for a proper introduction. He’s creepy as hell, and anything this Bernie Bro co-signs, I triple check to make sure I agree. I do not care about Jesse Jackson’s opinion on anything. But there are black men who endorse Sanders who I do pay attention to and highly respect.

I need to make the distinction between Bernie Sanders supporters who walk their walk and talk their talk versus Bernie EBros. Lyricist Killer Mike (real name: Michael Santiago Render) is a Bernie Sanders supporter. Truth be told, Killer Mike’s support of the Vermont senator was initially the only reason I paid attention to the man. The more I saw the two of them together, the more curious I became about him in the 2016 elections. In turn, I voted for Sanders in the primaries. The MLK march helped, but it was what Sanders was doing in recent years that mattered far more to me than what he did decades ago.

And there have been plenty of other Sanders supporters who I highly respect. While I’m not particularly interested in any of these celebrities who support Sanders, there are three congresswomen (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib) who I pay quite a bit of attention to. Their backgrounds are proving that they publicly stand for the kinds of causes that I do.

But there’s another kind of Bernie Sanders supporter, and that’s the one who made me distance myself from my 2016 decision. These are the Twitter accounts that were idle both before and after 2016 — or not created until the election against Hillary Clinton. Their dormant social media accounts conveniently pop up with all kinds of anti-racism and anti-sexism messages when presidential elections come around, but are crickets when it’s not voting season.

  • Black women were reportedly 17 percent more likely to be in a police-initiated traffic stop than white women: Nothing.
  • Thirty-four percent of black women were more likely to be stopped than Latina women: No dice.
  • Black male drivers were about 12 percent more likely than white drivers — and 17 percent more likely than Latino drivers — to be stopped: Too busy to comment.
  • #MeTooMovement gains in momentum: No supportive tweets.
  • Transgender ban on the military: Nothing to say.
  • Xenophobia running rampant after coronavirus gets the attention it deserved since December of 2019: Stone-cold silent.
  • Thousands of children forced to stay at a Border Patrol facility: Meh, no comment.
  • George Zimmerman, the scum of the Earth, is being … George Zimmerman with multiple arrests and suing Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg: Booked and busy.

But Bernie goes up against Biden, and now they’re all of a sudden advocates for years and active as all hell on social media. They’ve miraculously been pounding the pavement against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and everything else for longer than I’ve been alive (although a noticeable amount are younger than me — and no, I don’t mean 50). They’re in full support of responsible health care and against ageism — all while making dementia jokes nonstop.

Their accounts are usually memes, stock photos or random poster ads because, according to one user, “this is an alt account because I have a real life.” And that’s where my problem lies. When white people (judging from the images chosen) specifically want people of color to believe that they really care about the kind of controversial and sensitive topics mentioned above, the last thing we want to hear is how you have to create a fake persona on social media to defend your beliefs. It gives us the impression that you are the type who laughs off your friends saying the “n-word” (the only phrase I quote from Jesse Jackson — except apparently when he wants to describe Obama) and are as quiet with your own racist, sexist, entitled social circle so long as they don’t know your “real” thoughts.

This is the Twitter account (kudos to him for a real photograph) that wants to educate me on why Jesse Jackson running for president is the reason former President Barack H. Obama had a chance. Meanwhile this same newfound Jesse Jackson enthusiast has no idea who Shirley Chisholm or George Edwin Taylor are. These are the users I consistently run into who want to school me on African-American history and social justice issues, but never speak on these topics any other time than when Sanders can make it to the election ballot.

If you really stand for a politician or cause, you can do it publicly. (If you are a journalist or work in an industry that contractually obligates you to not air your political opinions, just don’t bother with the fake accounts at all. I’ve been in your shoes. We don’t take fake accounts anymore seriously than you would.)

If you stand in your convictions, there is no need to create fake accounts or hide your real opinions. And if you do have strong opinions, don’t wait until election season to share them. While I don’t care for Jesse Jackson at all, I can at least admit that he has a track record of standing up for the kinds of causes that Bernie EBros hide behind computer screens, avatars, stock photos and fake banners half-heartedly claiming they do. Then they log off, put on their suits and ties, and smile and nod at family functions with their favorite FOX-loving family members and friends. Would they dare to be as vocal in their personal lives with those in their social circles who really need to hear these anti-hate messages? Doubt it.

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I Do See Color

“Seeing” color is no more a problem than “seeing” height.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

I Do See Color

We are not ashamed of our melanin, and we know you “see” it. Just don’t discriminate and disrespect us because of it.

Shamontiel L. Vaughn

Written by

Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

I Do See Color

We are not ashamed of our melanin, and we know you “see” it. Just don’t discriminate and disrespect us because of it.

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