- The seven candidates running for Democratic National Committee chair met in D.C. last night for a candid discussion on the party’s handling of race
- The most surprising outburst came from Sally Boynton Brown, a white woman from Idaho, who suggested that white people needed to sit back and listen
- She argued that the leaders of the Democratic Party had failed, pointing to how DNC chair candidates had to discuss how to deal with Black Lives Matter
- Brown suggested that members of the Democratic Party were prejudiced and that white people needed to learn more about what minorities experienced
- ‘Until we shut our mouths,’ she argued at the forum, ‘We’re not going to break through this’
The sole white woman running for the job of Democratic National Committee chair said part of her job would be to shush other white people up, so that voices of color could be heard.
Sally Boynton Brown, who’s currently the executive director of Idaho’s Democratic Party – a state she joked was ‘so white, right?’ – suggested that those volunteering and leading the party needed ‘training’ to have hard conversations about race.
‘We have to teach them how to communicate, how to be sensitive and how to shut their mouths if they are white,’ she said last night at a forum on race with the other six DNC candidates led by MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid.
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DNC chair candidate Sally Boynton Brown (pictured) gave a boisterous speech last night about race relations, suggesting that white people needed to shut up and listen
Brown was broadly critical of the Democratic Party’s dealings on race, saying at the forum – held in D.C. last night at the George Washington University – that leaders had failed if there’s even a question about embracing the Black Lives Matter movement.
Of course they should be for it.
‘We have to accept that there is prejudice that exists within our own party and we have to be able to have that conversation,’ she said.
‘We cannot sweep that under the rug, we can’t continue to hide it, we cannot smash voices down when they are trying to scream listen to me, you don’t get it,’ she continued.
‘I’m a white woman, I don’t get it,’ she proclaimed.
She suggested that her job, as a white American, should be to listen – and check her privilege.
Better known candidates running for DNC chair include President Obama’s former labor secretary Thomas Perez (left), who was pro-Hillary Clinton in the primary, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (right)
‘My job is to listen and be a voice and my job is to shut other white people down when they want to interrupt,’ she said.
‘My job is to shut other white people down when they want to say, “Oh no I’m not prejudiced I’m a Democrat, I’m accepting,'” she continued.
‘My job is to make sure that they get that they have privilege and until we shut our mouths and we listen to those people who don’t … we’re not going to break through this,’ she went on.
As Democrats look to who will fill the shoes of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigned as DNC chair on the eve of the Democratic National Convention over the email hack, much has been made about the party losing Midwestern white voters.
A trio of Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – allowed for there to be a Republican President Donald Trump.
A handful of newcomers are challenging the old guard to become DNC chair including South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a 35-year-old openly gay veteran
DNC chair candidate Jehmu Greene argued that the Democratic Party did a ‘piss poor pathetic job’ engaging young people of color during last year’s race
But last night’s conversation centered around how the Democrats improve their standing in communities of color, as some have also argued that Hillary Clinton could have won if she had gotten younger voters, including black and Hispanic millennials, to the polls.
Brown appeared alongside two better-known candidates, former President Obama’s ex-Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, who had supported Clinton in the primary, and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a big Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter, who’s also one of only two Muslim members of Congress.
Beyond that, a number of up-and-comers are running to become the face of the anti-Trump opposition.
There’s Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, who is black.
Two party chairs are also in the race: Jaime Harrison (left) who leads the Democrats in South Carolina and Raymond Buckley (right) in charge of the New Hampshire Democratic Party
There’s Raymond Buckley, an openly gay, older, white politician who chairs the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
Jehmu Greene, is a black female Democratic leader, known for being a commentator on Fox News Channel.
And finally, Pete Buttigieg, a white gay veteran, who is the current mayor of South Bend, located, as he put it, in ‘Mike Pence’s Indiana.’
Buttigieg talked about how the Democratic Party has a ‘salad bar problem.’
‘We think the only way to speak to somebody is one group at a time,’ he noted.
Greene made a similar point, but with a caveat.
‘We have to do a better job as Democrats engaging Americans of all hues, genders, generations and backgrounds,’ she said during her opening remarks.
‘But, I will be very blunt, the DNC did a piss poor pathetic job of engaging young people of color in the 2016 election,’ she argued.
Brown piggybacked on this with her eyebrow-raising remarks.
‘This is not just rhetoric, this is life and death,’ Brown argued.
‘We need to make sure that our actions and our words and our values all match and around the issue of race we are so far out of alignment I don’t even know the way back,’ she said.