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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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