An op-ed piece written by a former professor and principal calls out Bernie Sanders as a manifestation of "white privilege, male privilege, and class privilege."
Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, who is now a teacher at San Francisco Unified School District high school, wrote about the Capitol riot and the presidential inauguration, saying, "We saw diversity, creativity and humanity, and a nation embracing all of this and more."
However, after Sanders was seen wearing a "puffy jacket and huge mittens, distant not only in his social distancing, but in his demeanor and attire," the image gained immense popularity in the form of memes for several days following his appearance.
Seyer-Ochi's intent was to have her students focus on "gender" and the "possible meanings" of the clothing worn by Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden, but said she was unable to move past Sanders' wardrobe for the occasion and the attention he received as a result.
"And there, across all of our news and social media feeds, was Bernie: Bernie memes, Bernie sweatshirts, endless love for Bernie. I puzzled and fumed as an individual as I strove to be my best possible teacher. What did I see? What did I think my students should see? A wealthy, incredibly well-educated and -privileged white man, showing up for perhaps the most important ritual of the decade, in a puffy jacket and huge mittens," wrote Seyer-Ochi.
According to Seyer-Ochi, she was not meaning to "overstate the parallels" between Sanders and the "white supremacist insurrections" at the Capitol, but "he manifests privilege, white privilege, male privilege and class privilege, in ways that my students could see and feel," she added.
Seyer-Ochi said she "struggled" to explain it to her students.
"I am beyond puzzled as to why so many are loving the images of Bernie and his gloves. I don't know many poor, or working class, or female, or struggling-to-be-taken-seriously folk who would show up at the inauguration of our 46th president dressed like Bernie. Unless those same folk had privilege. Which they don't," said Seyer-Ochi.