CNN contributor Symone D. Sanders says she is tired of Black men offering up their “unsolicited opinions” of California Sen. Kamala Harris — and now folks are tired of her.
Sanders, 29, voiced her frustrations on Twitter this week after ’90s rapper and entertainer Uncle Luke of 2 Live Crew fame penned an op-ed criticizing Harris’ prison-reform record as San Francisco’s district attorney and state attorney general. Luke, whose real name is Luther Campbell, argued Harris would be hard pressed to find many blue-collar blacks, especially men, who would be willing to vote for her in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
The California Democrat officially threw her hat in the ring in the race for the White House on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, promising to “bring our voices together.” If successful, she would be the first woman to hold the presidency and the second African-American.
“Kamala Harris will have trouble persuading black voters to make her president in 2020,” Campbell wrote in a column published Tuesday in The Miami New Times. “First, the U.S. senator from California must explain why Donald Trump has a better prison-reform record than she had as the Golden State’s attorney general.”
Sanders, a former national press secretary for Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, didn’t take too kindly to Campbell’s critique on Harris and said she didn’t see why he, or any other Black man for that matter, felt obligated to give their negative opinions.
“Uncle Luke is no political mastermind or strategist,” she tweeted. “Why do Black men keep popping up with their unsolicited opinions about Kamala Harris?”
It wasn’t long before social media critics called Sanders out for her comments, accusing the political analyst of “weaponizing” her gender to belittle the political opinions of African-American men.
Unsolicited? Obviously it was solicited it’s in the paper. Luke doesn’t own the paper. Men can speak Symone. I know you’d rather we didn’t unless it supports your opinions. Speech is available to us all not just MSNBC contributors like you who weaponize gender.— Tim Black ™ (@RealTimBlack) February 5, 2019
“Unsolicited? Obviously it was solicited — it’s in the paper,” journalist and show host Tim Black replied “Luke doesn’t own the paper. Men can speak Symone. I know you’d rather we didn’t unless it supports your opinions. Speech is available to us all, not just MSNBC contributors like you who weaponize gender.”
“He has an opinion and his political mind doesn’t invalidate that,” another critic chimed in. “The majority of voters aren’t political masterminds.”
One user noted that “not once Mrs/Ms Sanders did you refute @unclelukereal1 article. We (Black men) see right through what is trying to be done. Kamala and those like her (you included I guess) are aligned with everyone but … BLACK MEN. It’s not gonna work.”
Another critic put it plainly: “We will not be silenced!”
Black women also chimed in to note they too had no plans to vote for Harris and took issue with Symone’s critique.
“why do people who really have no clue that kamala harris isn’t for black people at all. it’s not just black men..we are NOT rocking with her but anyway 🛏️🐜 #NotWithHer,” tweeted one user.
I seen just as many Black Women share dissatisfaction with Kamala track record....(I know it’s trendy to pick on Black men right now though 🤷🏽♀️ ) plus with what Luke said...’Where the lie at’— LeftHanded_Virgo✍ (@LeftHand_Virgo) February 6, 2019
Another added, “I seen just as many Black Women share dissatisfaction with Kamala track record….(I know it’s trendy to pick on Black men right now though 🤷🏽♀️ ) plus with what Luke said…’Where the lie at’”
In his op-ed, Campbell pointed out how Harris supported legislation that fueled the school-to-prison pipeline and opposed federal supervision of California’s prisons after U.S. Supreme Court ruling determined the jam-packed facilities “inflicted cruel and unusual punishment on inmates.”
“When she appealed a court order to implement new parole programs, Harris cited the need to use prisoners as slave labor to fight wildfires and pick up highway trash,” he added. “Though black voters want politicians who’ll put away thugs and killers terrorizing the neighborhood, they don’t support those who deny defendants rehabilitation and send them to prison for crimes they didn’t commit to line private prison companies’ pockets.”
This story originally appeared in the Atlanta Black Star.