Bernie Sanders, the second-placed candidate in the Democratic primary race, has a problem. Despite his apparent history of fighting for civil rights in the 1960s, and his support for Black Lives Matter, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is capturing the crucial black vote.
In order to reverse this trend, a new organization was set up in March of this year, called Black Men for Bernie (BMFB).
"Hulk" actor Mark Ruffalo appeared in a video supporting the organization, jovially declaring, “This is a white guy, supporting black men for Bernie.”
BMFB is currently touring the nation with a truck full of T-shirts, to rally the public around Sanders.
The mastermind behind BMFB is one Bruce Carter -- a man passionately supporting the “democratic socialist” candidate, in spite of just discovering him “a month and a half” before starting the project.
Carter is now publicly declaring that he loves and supports Sanders because, “he has proven his love for black people a long time ago.”
Ironically, now that Carter is the face of this movement, questions have been raised about his own “love for black people.”
Around 2007-2008, Carter founded an organization called We Are Graduating (WAG).
The WAG program was promoted as an “educational outreach program for fifth- through eighth-grade” minority students, in order to help them graduate high school. The students in question volunteered for the organization, and were therefore promised stipends and scholarships as a reward for their hard work. Starting in Waco, Texas, WAG eventually spread out to Dallas and Ellis County.
However, this supposedly generous program was just too good to be true.
An ex-member of the program saw the Mark Ruffalo video and recognised Carter. He then posted the following to his Facebook account.
According to poster "Eric" (not his real name), Carter had a considerable number of employees and young volunteers under his direction, having them perform tasks such as collecting donations and advertising the program.
“Despite our hard work and promises of events, stipends and scholarships, very rarely did we see results. In fact many of us left the program before we even graduated, because Carter left without paying anyone. We never saw any stipends, nor any scholarships … [even though] we stood up and worked for him ... and were promised help.”
"Eric" stated that when Carter expanded out to Dallas and other locations, he gave no attention to the students and teenagers in Waco, who were there from the very beginning and were crucial in the growth of WAG:
“He’s very inconsistent and is very bad at budgeting - which is why he tried to expand it and move it to a different place - but he just left a bunch of kids in the dirt. They didn’t get their scholarships or their stipends. They didn’t get anything.”
A YouTube comment on an interview with Carter by Dallas South News that was uploaded in 2011 seems to corroborate "Eric’s" claims.
The commenter, "214smooth", said that, “its [sic] about to get ugly for Mr Bruce Carter if he dont [sic] start paying his workers … I been [sic] working for 3 months and haven’t got a check yet!”
"214smooth" goes on to allege that “Bruce is a dirty con artist and is about to get exposed! He hasn’t paid over 100 workers!”
In 2012, Fox 4 News supposedly report on the failing of a charitable organization that Carter ran. It is unclear whether this failing organization was WAG, however, because there is no copy of the original nine minute news segment online -- only a press release by the “Sledgehammer Coalition”, attacking Fox 4 for “media bullying” and declaring that the report was solely based on “hatred of people of colour.”
Carter proceed to file a $777,777,777 defamation suit against the station, of which there is no record of the outcome.
So despite Carter’s failure to provide the better future to the black youth that he had promised, he is now in charge of another minority-based campaign that rides on the back of the black community to aid a good cause.
Carter is using just the same methods he did before: handing out t-shirts, asking for donations, and using disenfranchised youth as a poster-board for his organization.
Carter is also skilled at acquiring celebrity backers. WAG was endorsed by Lil JJ, a Nickelodeon star, and ex-Dallas Cowboys player Eugene Lockhart.
Now the Blacks For Bernie program has "virtue signalling" expert Mark Ruffalo backing it.
Also, since BMFB is not officially endorsed by the Sanders campaign, all donations go directly to Carter himself, as before with WAG.
“I’m surprised I recognized him, he looks extremely different now from when he ran the WAG program. What didn’t surprise me was that he was once again trying to focus on uninformed and disenfranchised black people,” said "Eric". “That was his whole shtick … he would target predominantly black areas and schools to promote his program. You can see he’s going to Detroit, going to Flint, going to Atlantic city, going to Jersey, trying to get black people to vote for Bernie.”
"Eric" worries that Carter (and Bernie) are doing the same thing to young black men today that the WAG program did to him and others in his youth:
“My experience with Carter is basically what’s probably going to happen with Bernie - he’s made so many promises to black people but when he gets in office he’s probably going to sit in the white house for 4 years and do absolutely nothing about those promises.
“I also feel [Bernie] doesn’t have a lot of respect for black people, and is [just] using them ... call me crazy, but it takes a lot more to be president than fighting for civil rights… [and] I think he knows that. There are other things he could be campaigning for but instead he’s focusing on identity politics.”
We reached out to Carter for comment before publication. In response, he pretended that the contact address that was publicly listed as the registration email for blackmenforbernie.com was not actually his, even though it accompanies his name on the form and contains his initials.
The emailer said that they would forward us Carter’s correct contact details, but at the time of writing, he has yet to respond with the information.