After a group of #BlackLivesMatter protesters disrupted Democratic candidates Gov. Martin O'Malley (MD) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) at Netroots Nation 2015 on Saturday, some activists took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction with Sanders' response.
By Sunday afternoon, the hashtag #BernieSoBlack was trending, with progressives trading barbs on Twitter and accusing each other of racism, character assassination, censorship, "whitesplaining" and more.
It began as a way of mocking the candidate while trading cultural signifiers.
Pretty sure Bernie played spades with Stokely Carmichael at a Jackson 5 concert once. @rodimusprime— 🎅🏿Imani Gandy Cane🎅🏿 (@🎅🏿Imani Gandy Cane🎅🏿)1437316670.0
#BernieSoBlack he had a Maxima in the '90s and he co-produced Jodeci's first three albums.— (((RuggedAmethyst))) (@(((RuggedAmethyst))))1437333886.0
#BernieSoBlack he playin' cowbell on #GotToGiveItUp— Questlove (@Questlove)1437332381.0
#BernieSoBlack I saw him pulled over with his hands up by the side of the road, surrounded by cop cars because he had a broken tail light.— Ragnarok Lobster (@Ragnarok Lobster)1437320771.0
He was the first one to put plastic on the good furniture #berniesoblack— TheseLegs (@TheseLegs)1437317880.0
#BernieSoBlack he was an extra in Coming to America, The Color Purple, and Love Jones.— Lemu. (@Lemu.)1437318114.0
But then some progressives began to point out some of the real work Sanders has done for racial progress in this country.
#BernieSoBlack he wants you to have a university education without #studentdebt http://t.co/XADDKRy4dL— #GeneralStrike with whatsername (@#GeneralStrike with whatsername)1437328416.0
Instead of attacking the guy who fought for Civil rights with #BernieSoBlack we should be tweeting #HillaryDidntMarch http://t.co/J2LvSYafj0— Bipartisan Report (@Bipartisan Report)1437326937.0
He fought "tough on crime" policies & mass incarceration before it was cool, not cuz #BernieSoBlack, cuz he's so red:https://t.co/qlaBntdF4s— Host of morbid symptoms (@Host of morbid symptoms)1437336989.0
#BernieSoBlack he's the first presidential candidate to #SayHerName https://t.co/I3tH5AmetS— TMI with Aldous Tyler (@TMI with Aldous Tyler)1437339304.0
And then the usual tears and recriminations followed.
#BernieSoBlack This hashtag has folks doing the work of MSM smear. Got folks teasing the 1 candidate who's known to have ever given a damn.— Kimberly Skipper (@Kimberly Skipper)1437336149.0
If you show up in #BernieSoBlack to derail it or shut it down instead of listening, you're proving our point.— Ragnarok Lobster (@Ragnarok Lobster)1437328141.0
That's why #BernieSoBlack is trending. Because "Bernie marched w/ MLK" rings as hollow as "I have a Black friend." That was 40 yrs ago, fam.— April (@April)1437327597.0
While others just had fun with it.
The saying is actually "The blacker the Bernie the sweeter the juice." #BernieSoBlack— William K. Wolfrum (@William K. Wolfrum)1437325202.0
#BernieSoBlack people ask for his potato salad recipe. Bernie just shrugs. "A little of this, a little of that..."— Happy Holidays from Joseph Nobles (@Happy Holidays from Joseph Nobles)1437327856.0
#BernieSoBlack he's deliberately losing his hair so people will stop asking if they can touch it.— Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher (@Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher)1437326771.0
Trying to come up with a good #BernieSoBlack joke http://t.co/SCFiTEDehj— Ian Boudreau (@Ian Boudreau)1437333076.0