Al Sharpton credited Sen. Kamala Harris for her criticism of Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s claim that he can better understand black Americans because he is gay.
Buttigieg, 37, has struggled to earn support from black voters in key early states like South Carolina during his presidential campaign. He has argued, however, that his sexuality helped him to understand the feeling of oppression often felt by black Americans because gay men have not always had equal rights either.
“While I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country, turning on the news and seeing my own rights come up for debate, and seeing my rights expanded by a coalition of people like me and people not at all like me,” Buttigieg said during the CNN debate earlier this month.
That argument has been destroyed by many prominent black Americans, including his 2020 Democratic competitor Harris. After the debate, she told CNN, “What he did on the stage, it’s just not productive, and I think it’s a bit naive.”
Sharpton, a racial activist and MSNBC host, commended Harris’s response, telling the Washington Post this week, “I think Kamala had a point, and I understood what she was saying.” He said he appreciates the effort Buttigieg is making in the black community and admitted that he is “evolving,” but said the South Bend, Indiana, mayor still has a long way to go. (Read more from “Al Sharpton Rejects Buttigieg Claim That Being Gay Is Like Being Black” HERE)