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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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