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What we can learn from Bernie (from his former press secretary)
Briahna Joy Gray, who served as national press secretary for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, triggered a firestorm when she announced that she would not be voting for Joe Biden in April 2020. Many, including her former boss, criticized her unwillingness to tone down her views to fight a common enemy: Donald Trump.
This is why it’s surprising to many that Gray also has been one of the most powerful critics of so-called “identity politics.” Identity politics, which is defined by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as “political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups,” has become ascendant in modern American political life, especially on the Left. Yet, as a Black woman who was too “radical” for Joe Biden, Gray has denounced the exclusive focus on identity as, ironically, detrimental to people from marginalized identities.
This conversation explains why.
It also offers a fascinating personal journey. You see, Gray could have lived a very successful and peaceful life as a corporate lawyer. She graduated from Harvard Law School and went on to work for a white shoe law firm. But she started moonlighting as a journalist and, within months, ended up sitting in a car with Bernie interviewing him about his historic 2016 campaign to be President of the United States. And when Bernie witnessed her power as a communicator, he sought her out to be his spokesperson when he ran again in 2020 – and shocked the establishment by nearly becoming the first socialist President in American history. Briahna had a front seat position on that ride, and there’s much to learn from that experience for anyone interested in change.
Hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.