Bernie Sanders stumbled on a question at Sunday's debate over whether white Americans can empathize with blacks, stating that white people don't know what it's like to be poor.
"When you are white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor, you don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you are walking down a street or dragged out of a car," Sanders said when asked about his personal racial blind spots. "We must be firm in making it clear that we will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system."The poverty rate among African Americans is disproportionately high, the result of a long history of racial prejudice. No serious person believes otherwise. But it absurd to suggest that no white people know what it is like to be poor.
In 2014, the Census reports (Table 3), 46.7 million Americans lived below the poverty line. Of this number, 19.7 million were non-Hispanic whites.