Bernie Sanders Says If Sandra Bland Was White It Is 'Unlikely' Police Would Have Mistreated Her

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28:  Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to guests at an event sponsored by Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago on September 28, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Sanders is currently polling second behind Hillary Clinton in the Democratic race for the nomination  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders Says If Sandra Bland Was White It Is 'Unlikely' Police Would Have Mistreated Her

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to Ebony magazine about issues affecting Black Americans.

Published October 6, 2015

Aware that his fellow Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton has more familiarity with African-Americans, Bernie Sanders understands that he must push for more outreach to gain Black voters' trust.

Sanders recently spoke to Ebony magazine about issues affecting African-Americans and his plans to solve them. He went over several topics, including the economic obstacles unique to Blacks, police harassment and incarceration. 

"When I say we need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, that’s going to impact the country but it will impact African-Americans even more," said Sanders. "When I talk about pay equity for women workers, it will impact all women but it will impact African American women even more because they are more discriminated against and their wages are even lower than White women."

Sanders says he has a strong track record of voting for civil rights while in Congress. He also discussed the difficulties former prisoners face as they look to find a normal life after their sentences. 

"We need to examine the high rates of recidivism so that when people do serve time they have a path back to society, which won’t put them back into the environment that sent them in jail in the first place," he said.

Sanders also spoke on his meeting with activists who were part of the Black Lives Matter movement and how it has expanded his understanding of the difficulties Black Americans experience. 

"Many White people are not sensitive to the kind of abuse that African-Americans, especially younger African-Americans, receive at the hands of police officers and police departments," Sanders explained. "I think for most Whites their experience with the police has been good or neutral because they don’t interact with the police as much as those in the Black community."

He also mentioned the case of Sandra Bland, whose death in a Texas jail cell following a police encounter brought heightened outrage nationally. 

“Clearly if Sandra Bland, who was a middle class Black woman, had been a middle class White woman, it is unlikely that the police would have treated her in the same way,” he admits.

Read the full interview at

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(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Written by Natelege Whaley


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