Kirsten Gillibrand Has White Privilege and Knows How to Use It

The senator explained this concept very well. It’s worth watching.

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When the topic turned to race and criminal justice in Wednesday night’s second Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) took a refreshing step: she leaned into her white privilege, and explained how to use it to educate other white Americans, some of whom voted for President Donald Trump.

The senator from New York said that the two black candidates on stage—Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)—shouldn’t be the only ones responsible for highlighting institutional racism. Instead, she said, she has a unique ability to explain white privilege to “those white women in the suburbs who voted for Trump.”

“When their son is walking down a street with a bag of M&M’s in his pocket wearing a hoodie, his whiteness is what protects him from not being shot,” she said, as the audience burst into applause. “When their child has a car that breaks down and he knocks on someone’s door for help and the door opens and the help is given, it’s his whiteness that protects him from being shot.”

Watch her full statement below.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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