Instead of apologizing or avoiding her white privilege during Wednesday evening’s Democratic presidential debate, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said she wants to use it to “talk to those white women in the suburbs that voted for Trump.”
“I can talk to those white women in the suburbs that voted for Trump and explain to them what white privilege actually is,” the New York senator said.
“When their son is walking down the street with a bag of M&Ms in his pocket, wearing a hoodie, his whiteness is what protects him from not being shot,” she continued to applause from the audience. “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.”
Gillibrand explained that she wants to join in helping educate Americans about racism and white privilege instead of leaving it solely up to lawmakers of color such as senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
“I don’t believe that it’s the responsibility of Cory and Kamala to be the only voice that takes on these issues of institutional racism,” Gillibrand said. “I think as a white woman of privilege who is a U.S. senator running for president of the United States, it is also my responsibility to lift up those voices that aren’t being listened to.”
Gillibrand’s remarks were in response to a question about what the Democratic candidates would do to heal race relations in America.
Washington governor Jay Inslee remarked on the topic as well, acknowledging that he “has never been a black teenager pulled over in a white neighborhood.”
“That is what white privilege in America is today,” Gillibrand concluded.