The feminist, anti-racist educator Killer Mike quoted and the media calls ‘a woman’
Killer Mike introduces Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a campaign rally in Atlanta on Nov. 23, 2015. [YouTube]

Rapper and Bernie Sanders endorser Killer Mike made a terrible mistake on Tuesday night when he quoted "a woman" who used the word "uterus," during a speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Twitter and several media outlets blasted Michael Render, AKA Killer Mike,  for sexism. Interestingly, most of them didn't bother to explain what he was really saying or who the woman he had cited was: feminist, anti-racist educator and activist Jane Elliott.


Here is what he said:

When people tell us 'hold on, wait a while' – that's what the other Democrat is telling you,  'Hold on Black Lives Matter, just wait a while. Hold on young people in this country, just wait a while,’ And then she get good, she have your own momma come to you, your momma sit down and say, 'Well you're a woman.'

Render is describing what he sees as an attempt on Clinton's part to appeal to gender identity to get the vote. Whether or not you think this is accurate is another question. But we can all agree on what he's saying. He goes on:

I talked to Jane Elliott a few weeks ago, and Jane said, 'Michael, a uterus doesn't qualify you to be president of the United States. You have to have policies that's reflective of social justice.’ ”

To me, it's pretty clear what Render is saying here. Again, you don't have to agree with him, but the point he is making is that policies and not gender determine whether someone is actually promoting social justice.

Somehow the takeaway from this was,"Killer Mike Quotes Woman Saying ‘Having a Uterus Doesn’t Qualify You to Be POTUS’" as Blue Nation Review headline put it. The Hill said, "Rapper Killer Mike drew attention late Tuesday after saying during a rally for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders that a "uterus doesn't qualify you to be president." And Mediaite wrote that he "got pretty fired up about Team Clinton saying “just wait a while” and quoted a woman who told him, “A uterus doesn’t qualify you to be President of the United States.”

The idea that Render would say out loud to a Democratic audience that Clinton is nothing more than a uterus or that having a uterus disqualifies you from being the president is absurd on its face. Even if Render thought these things, which I really doubt he does, why would he say them while stumping for Sanders?

And as Killer Mike himself explained, there are several female candidates whom he would wholeheartedly support  like Cynthia McKinney, Elizabeth Warren, Connie Rice, or Sen. Nina Turner, an Ohio State Senator who also endorsed Sanders and whom Render calls, "my Next Great Political Champ." Again, you may disagree with his politics.

The idea becomes even less plausible when you look into who the woman he cited by name twice was (which none of the three sites mentioned above actually does): Jane Elliott, a former teacher, feminist,  anti-racist educator, who created the anti-bigotry "blue eyes/brown eyes" exercise in 1968. I'm not saying that Killer Mike can just say, "some of my best friends are feminist, anti-racist educators who talk about their uteri when explaining why they're supporting Sanders over Clinton." You can say Killer Mike is appropriating a woman's perspective or dismissing identity politics, or being insensitive towards reproductive rights. And, as a rule of  "thumb," if you will, people should stay out of other people's uteruses when it comes to policy and prose. But claiming that Killer Mike is neanderthal who considers testes to be a litmus test for the presidency is dishonest or profoundly ignorant.

I'll let Killer Mike's tweets speak for themselves.

@MichaelSkolnik not an "attack" but a quite from another progressive woman to me. I don't attack

headline originally referred to Jane Elliott as a lesbian. She is an activist around LGBT rights, in addition to being a feminist and anti-racist educator.