America Right news, a facebook page that is liked by 16 thousand people posts about American news. It is the one stop shop for America First News, entertainment, networking, and so many more. As shown in the meme above, on the left side they show images of white families who are experiencing poverty and on the other it is a picture of Bernie Sanders during the presidential debate ; in big white letters, “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” and underneath the image in red letters it has a fact: 70% of Americans in poverty are white. Stop dividing us. Stop pitting us against each other.” The meme was created because of Sanders’s claim that whites have never experienced poverty.
After analyzing the meme and Sanders’s claim, I decided to fact check his claim. I explored the web with the purpose of gaining more insight and knowledge about why Sanders had made that claim. I put his claim in a search engine on politifact, politico, and on google where I found several articles that were about the topic.
Real Clear Politics shows the actual conversation that happened during the presidential debate. Bernie Sanders contextualized his comment with two anecdotes: one about a African-American who refused to get in a cab in Washington DC because 20 years ago cab drivers would drive past him, and the other about a young lady who spoke to him about the injustices black communities go through on a daily basis. He used both anecdotes to state his position on racial discrimination against minorities.
On March 2016, the Democratic party held a seventh presidential debate at The Witting at the Flint Cultural Center. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, two people going head to head to see who would be representing the Democratic party and gain votes from blue-collar workers in Michigan. During the presidential debate, Don Lemon, CNN’s go-to expert on race and politics, asked both Sanders and Clinton a question about racial inequality.
Lemon asked, "Everybody is a little racist." So on a personal front, what racial blind spots do you have?”
Both Clinton and Sanders responded to the question, however, what people went crazy about all over social media was Sanders’s response to the question, “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.”
Subsequently, following the memes portrayal of Sanders’s claim, Politifact published an article that gave statistical information and made claims that proved Bernie Sanders was wrong in undermining white poverty. Jacobson uses the information collected from the U.S. Census Bureau since the 1960’s to demonstrate the numbers and percentages of Americans by their race who have an income level that puts them in the poverty line. There are 19.7 million whites who are in poverty compared to 10.8 million African Americans. Through this statistic, Sanders was incorrect when claiming that “white” Americans do not know what being poor means. Next, they used a graphic created by Christopher Wimer, a research scientist at the Columbia University Population Research Center. As depicted by the image, the white population in America is shown in purple. This shows, that the white share has fallen, but is still the most wide-ranging out of the four groups.
In conclusion, after fact-checking Bernie Sanders claim that “white” Americans do not know what it is to be poor, Sanders attempts to clarify his “ghetto” comment. He states that he had no intention of generalizing white American communities, but that when you mention “ghettos” you think of African-American families. Sanders aims to make white Americans understand the kinds of pressures and discrimination African-Americans encounter on their daily lives. Still, once you look at the numbers, percentages, and the graphics it clearly demonstrates that there are more “white” Americans that are in poverty compared to the rest of the racial groups living in the United States. Therefore, Bernie Sanders’s claim is false.