Shaun King, White Man Who Claims He Is Black, Stars in Bernie Sanders Ad

Shaun King (Leon Bennett / Getty)
Leon Bennett / Getty

Shaun King — a self-described black man whose family says he is white — stars as an official surrogate in a Tuesday-published political ad released by Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaign.

Millions of Americans voted “against their own self interest” in voting for President Donald Trump in 2016’s general election, declares King in the video ad published on Sanders’ official Instagram profile.

King describes himself as a journalist, humanitarian, leader, and activist against injustice, racism, and policies that criminalize blackness.


King is identified as a “civil rights activist” in Sanders’ ad as he reads the following script (emphasis added):

Bernie resonates in places where Trump won. Here’s the thing, to win this election you have to win the electoral college, and Trump won 30 states in 2016, and he won in places where Bernie actually crushed it in the Democratic primaries. Bernie won 71 or 72 counties in Wisconsin. Trump won there. Bernie won every single country in West Virginia. Trump won there.

Donald Trump exploited real pain and problems in this country and began to scapegoat African Americans, immigrants, other marginalized communities, LGBTQ folk, as demagogues always do, and Donald Trump as a con man began making promises that he never intended to keep.

Bernie said the Democratic and Republican establishment has failed people all over the country, and people feel that failure and take it personally. Donald Trump understood that and exploited it for his own gain. People were so agitated and frustrated and felt that this guy actually believed in them, when in reality it was just a con.

So you have millions and millions of white folks in this country who voted against their own self interest. They need an elimination of medical debt. They need equal access to health care. There are rural communities all over this country where hospitals are closing down. There are counties all over the state of Tennessee where there’s nowhere to deliver a baby.

When Bernie wins the nomination, Bernie is going to take this fight to Trump in all 50 states and fight to win the hearts, the minds and votes of everyday people all over the country.

Sanders’ campaign ad declares via chyron that the Vermont senator “will beat Trump.”

Sanders is regularly lauded as “authentic” by sympathetic news media outlets such as the Chicago TribuneLA Times, government-funded NPR, Politico Magazine and Salon. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and the “squad” have similarly praised her own endorsement of the self-described “democratic socialist” senator’s presidential bid as “authentic.”

King aligned himself with various media-driven narratives, controversies, and campaigns, including support for Black Lives Matter, backing Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest against the national anthem, and praising the perpetrator of a thwarted mass murder attempt against an ICE facility.

After latching onto the Black Lives Matter campaign, King was dismissed by Black Lives Matter figurehead Deray Mckesson in 2015 over questions of “integrity” regarding activist fundraising.

In 2019, Black Lives Matter activist Mckesson accused King of a “lapse in integrity” related to the latter’s political fundraising and leadership style.

King received a scholarship from Oprah Winfrey to attend Morehouse College, a historically black school. He later denied lying about his race in applying for the award.

The festivities of Christmas and Easter are used as “tools of white supremacy,” claimed King in 2015. In 2018, he derided Independence Day, July 4th, as a “sham.”

In response to questions about his racial self-description, King said he is “3/4ths” white in 2016, adding, “We are each complex racial characters.”


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