By Mary Margaret Olohan
A moderator reminded 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that a question was about race Thursday night at the Democratic debates.
Moderator and PBS broadcast journalist Amna Nawaz refocused the Vermont senator’s attention to race after Sanders attempted to steer her question toward climate change. Her question followed 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang pointing out that he was the only candidate of color on stage.
“I’ll answer that question, but I wanted to get back to the issue of climate change for a moment, because I do believe this is the existential issue,” Sanders told Nawaz.
“Senator, with all due respect, this question is about race,” Nawaz told Sanders firmly. “Can you answer the question as it was asked?”
Sanders responded by saying the topics are linked because “people of color, in fact, are going to be the people suffering most if we do not deal with climate change.”
“And by the way, we have an obligation up here, if there are not any of our African-American brothers and sisters up here, to speak about an economy in which African-Americans are exploited, where black women die three times at higher rates than white women, where we have a criminal justice system which is racist and broken, disproportionately made up of African-Americans and Latinos and Native Americans who are in jail,” Sanders added. “So we need an economy that focuses on the needs of oppressed, exploited people, and that is the African-American community.”
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