How #BernieMadeMeWhite became a rallying cry on Twitter
File this under hashtags to watch: #BernieMadeMeWhite.
In case you missed it, the phrase has become a widespread protest slogan among Bernie Sanders supporters who believe the media is glossing over his support from people who aren’t white. The hashtag has been picking up steam for the past 24 hours in the wake of Sanders’s big wins in the Washington, Hawaii and Alaska caucuses, and analyses such as this one from The Post — “Why did Bernie Sanders dominate Saturday? Caucuses in states with smaller black populations” — are fueling the fire.
The slogan was coined by “L.,” a.k.a. @tokyovampires, who tweeted this Sunday morning:
Thus #BernieMadeMeWhite was born.
Here’s how @tokyovampires, who Raw Story identified as Louisiana native Leslie Lee III, explained his thinking:
“I think every POC supporter of Bernie Sanders has had this discussion,” he tweeted. (“POC” = people of color.) “The common narrative in this election that Bernie has a ‘minority problem’ or that all his supporters are ‘bros’ is pervasive, and insulting to the POC and women who support [him]. It hit a peak this morning when Hawaii, the least white state in the nation, retroactively became white or ‘not diverse’ due to the fact that Bernie won it. I said yesterday this would happen, but I still couldn’t really believe it. So, I started #BernieMadeMeWhite.”
Here’s another way of putting it.
To some Sanders supporters, coverage of the Hawaii caucus was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They believe Hawaii — a majority-minority state where Sanders beat Hillary Clinton roughly 70 to 30 percent — challenges the logic that voters who aren’t white pose a problem for Sanders. And they think the media is wrong not to seize on it and give Sanders credit for his support among people of color.
That’s the logic behind a growing stream of jokes accusing the media of whitewashing Sanders’s base of support:
Of course, the hashtag hasn’t come without conflict. Clinton supporters — including Joan Walsh, a national affairs correspondent for the Nation — are fighting back:
Here’s another from a Clinton supporter in Texas:
As the debate heats up, it’ll be interesting to look at Sanders’s exit polls in the next round of Democratic primaries and see whether he can improve his performance among nonwhite voters.
As a reminder, the upcoming contests are Wisconsin on April 5, Wyoming on April 9, New York on April 19 and Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island on April 26.