Everyone looks bad when you quote them out of context!


“‘The law in an ass.’ Charles Dickens said that.”

My law school professor saw my raised hand and nodded for me to respond.

“With all due respect, professor, a character in a Dickens novel said that. It’s not the same thing as him saying it.”

She waved me down and brushed it away, as if my objection was meaningless, but it’s true — you can’t hold someone to an internal quote made by someone else. Some of the characters in my novels have said terrible things that are the exact opposite of what I believe.

Which brings me to Fox News and Bernie Sanders.

Fox is attacking Bernie for this quote made at the recent debate:  “White people don’t know what it’s like to live in the ghetto.”

Ooh, bad statement — it implies that only blacks are in the ghetto, and shows a real misunderstanding of the situation.

When I first blogged about this, I said “Except he never said that. He was quoting someone else.  And that wasn’t even the exact quote; it’s a rewriting of it.”

I was basing that on other posts people had written, giving the quote from Bernie.

I should have known better.

I have since watched the clip (inserted above) and it’s clear that while the first part of the quote is from someone else, he then says “So to answer your question…” and replies with the part that is in contention, making it clear that this is him speaking and not the original woman.

Here’s the entire exact quote:

“I was with young people in the Black Lives Matter movement. A young lady comes up to me and says you don’t understand what police do in certain black communities. ‘You don’t understand the degree to which we are terrorized. I’m not just talking about the horrible shootings we have seen that we have to end and hold police officers accountable. I’m talking about everyday activities where police officers are bullying people.’ So, to answer your question, when you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto and to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or get dragged out of a car. I believe as a nation in the year 2016, we must be firm in making it clear: We will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system.”

So I apologize. While I am a Bernie supporter, I refuse to be misleading in order to support him. His statement was poorly said, and he has apologized and clarified his statement:

“What I meant by that is I think many white people are not aware of the kinds of pressures and the kind of police oppression that sometimes takes place within the African-American community. I don’t want to be lectured about talking about poverty whether it’s white, black, Latino. Nobody in this campaign has talked about it more, nobody in this campaign cycle has proposed more specific ideas on how to address poverty.”

And that was all him saying that.