Teacher says Bernie Sanders’ mittens outfit was white ‘male privilege’

A high school teacher has claimed in an op-ed that US Senator Bernie Sanders displayed male, white and class privilege when he wore a casual jacket and mittens to the US Presidential inauguration.

“Sen. Sanders is no white supremacist insurrectionist. But he manifests privilege, white privilege, male privilege and class privilege, in ways that my students could see and feel,” Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, a former UC Berkeley professor wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle.

She said as she saw the thousands of memes, merchandise and “endless love for Bernie” she “puzzled and fumed”. Her article is now being slammed online as “ridiculous” and Ms Seyer-Ochi has been labelled “the humour police”.

The democratic Senator, 79, made international headlines and spawned millions of memes last month, when he appeared looking dowdy and cranky at the event which takes on a semi-sacred tone in the US.

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“We talked about gender and the possible meanings of the attire chosen by Vice President Kamala Harris, Dr Jill Biden, the Biden grandchildren, Michelle Obama, Amanda Gorman and others.

“We referenced the female warriors inspiring these women, the colours of their educational degrees and their monochromatic ensembles of pure power,” she wrote.

“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. 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.”

Ms Seyer-Ochi’s op-ed has copped criticism online, with people accusing the former professor of taking on the role of “the humour police”.

“My eyes rolled so high and so hard it hurt. I’m thinking if you’re offended by Bernie’s mittens you might be getting a bit over-fragile,” one Twitter user wrote.

“Which is the white privilege: a man dressed in a heavy coat in winter, or a schoolteacher telling us how she imagines her students would perceive it instead of letting her students see it and speak for themselves,” another woman asked.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Opinion Twitter page later deleted a link to the story which had been attracting thousands of negative comments.

The publication has since published a letter to the editor titled: ‘Sen. Bernie Sanders is on the right side of history’.

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