A lot of the Bernie-Hillary debate has recently centered on issues about racism and feminism. The election cycle began with Clinton expecting to win the majority of women and non-white votes. Bernie's appeal was originally seen to be strongly limited to white males. Now Bernie's supporters argue that he is more of a feminist and less of a racist than Hillary, hoping he will attract more non-white and non-male voters. The facts paint a different picture, however. Bernie's supporters are willfully ignoring how white male privilege has supported him in the present campaign and throughout his career.
"No one has ever heard me say, ‘Hey guys, let’s stand together, vote for a man.’ I would never do that, never have. I think in a presidential race, we look at what a candidate stands for and we vote for the candidate we think can best serve our country."
(I have a lot more comments on feminism and the role of gender in the present campaign here.)
I'm not knocking Bernie's civil rights record. However, when it comes to race issues, Hillary and Bernie have decidedly different approaches. Hillary emphasizes humility and the need to listen to minority communities. This was a big part of her discussion with members of the Black Lives Matter movement back in August: After being asked how she, as a person, has changed since she supported mass incarceration in the 90's, she responded with two main points: First, she is and has long been committed to helping the disadvantaged, especially minorities and children; second, she thinks the community activists need to tell the politicians what needs to be done. She does not want to impose her own point of view on the Black Lives Matter movement. She fully supported what they were doing and saying, but implicitly criticized her interlocutor for asking her to sell "lip service." Hillary wants to listen, learn and grow, and that is one of the ways she excels. She does not have the answers for Black America, and doesn't claim to. She does not offer a "one size fits all" approach to progressive change. In contrast, Bernie thinks jobs are the answer for everything. We can thank the labor movement and white male privilege for that. Bernie does not show humility, patience or a desire to learn from the underprivileged. As a white male representing Vermont, he has not had to.