San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed: Bernie Sanders “Manifests” White Privilege, Male Privilege, Class Privilege

An op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle (paywalled) asserts that socialist Bernie Sanders is a manifestation of “white privilege, male privilege, and class privilege.”

The piece, published in the Chronicle‘s “open forum” part of their opinion section, was penned by Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, a former professor and principal who now teaches at a high school in the San Francisco Unified School District.

Seyer-Ochi begins her op-ed by describing how she “processed the Capitol insurrection” with her high school students and then the inauguration of Joe Biden two weeks later. “We saw diversity, creativity and humanity, and a nation embracing all of this and more,” she wrote.

But then Bernie Sanders came out of nowhere with his “puffy jacket and huge mittens, distant not only in his social distancing, but in his demeanor and attire.” An image of Bernie looking grumpy and uninterested while sporting a mask and those mittens spread like wildfire, quickly becoming the basis for a barrage of memes over the next several days.

Despite Seyer-Ochi’s best efforts to focus with her students on “gender” and the “possible meanings” of the clothing worn by Kamala Harris, DR. Jill Biden, et al, Bernie and his mittens just kept on distracting her.

And there, across all of our news and social media feeds, was Bernie: Bernie memes, Bernie sweatshirts, endless love for Bernie. I puzzled and fumed as an individual as I strove to be my best possible teacher. What did I see? What did I think my students should see? A wealthy, incredibly well-educated and -privileged white man, showing up for perhaps the most important ritual of the decade, in a puffy jacket and huge mittens,” she wrote.

Lest anyone think she’s comparing Bernie with the “white supremacist insurrectionists” at the Capitol on January 6, Seyer-Ochi says she does not mean to “overstate the parallels” between the two. BUT, she adds, “he manifests privilege, white privilege, male privilege and class privilege, in ways that my students could see and feel.”

And there it is. Bernie was “manifesting privilege when seemingly no one else did.” Seyer-Ochi claims she “struggled” to explain it to her undoubtedly aghast students.

I am beyond puzzled as to why so many are loving the images of Bernie and his gloves,” she says. “I don’t know many poor, or working class, or female, or struggling-to-be-taken-seriously folk who would show up at the inauguration of our 46th president dressed like Bernie. Unless those same folk had privilege. Which they don’t.”

And once again, the line between satire and reality has entirely blurred. It’s nothing short of a tragedy that people like Seyer-Ochi are teaching your children. Homeschool if you can!