Kirsten Gillibrand Has White Privilege and Knows How to Use It

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

Jim Watson/Getty

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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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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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