Gwen Ifill has been moderating political debates and televised discussions for over thirty years. She does this. And clearly, gives not a damn about holding back or being nice.
This fact proved itself true at the Democratic presidential debate on Thursday in Milwaukee, WI between Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.
Instead of asking them questions aimed at people of color, which we know is a sensitive subject for these two, she flipped the script. “Let me turn this on its head, because when we talk about race in this country, we always talk about African-Americans, people of color,” Ifill said mid-debate. “I want to talk about White people, OK?”
Adding, “By the middle of this century, the nation is going to be majority non-white. Our public schools are already there.”
“If working-class white Americans are about to be outnumbered, are already underemployed in many cases, and one study found they are dying sooner, don’t they have a reason to be resentful?”
Let’s pause for the cause real quick and consider this: Ever wonder why Donald Trump is doing so well in polls after habitually offending people of color with outlandish, wildly offensive and derogatory statements?
Resentful White America may be the answer.
And as left field as Ifill’s question seemed, it was actually one of the most pointed questions we’ve heard all campaign season long.
Of course the candidates failed to directly answer the question and be trill about scared White voters who support racially biased policies. “I’m going to do everything I can to address distressed communities, whether they are communities of color, whether they are white communities, whether they are in any part of our country,” Clinton said.
But what we walked away with is so much more important than anything Sanders or Clinton could have said. What we now can talk about, unabashedly, is the changing landscape of this country and who’s woke to the upset.