Bernie Sanders attempted on Monday to clarify his remarks at Sunday’s Democratic presidential debate that whites don’t know what it’s like to live in ghettos or in poverty, but the Vermont senator may not have done much to help his case.
“When you’re white you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto,” Sanders said during the debate, which was held in Flint, Mich. “You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or you get dragged out of a car.”
The remarks touched off a social media firestorm with many whites and blacks taking offense at the 74-year-old democratic socialist’s assertion. The existence of poor white people undermined Sanders’ claim, many noted. His statements also implied that only blacks can live in poverty or be poor.
Asked about his remarks on Monday, Sanders tried to explain his gaffe.
“What I meant to say is when you talk about ghetto traditionally, what you’re talking about is African-American communities,” Sanders told reporters, according to NBC News.