The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Decolonize Your Mind: Feel the Bern!

Disclaimer: Article contains content that may be offensive or unsuitable for minors.
Disclaimer 2: The views expressed in this piece are those of the writer, not KRUI.


I know what you’re thinking, readers.

“Bernie Sanders? How is he an artist? Isn’t he just another dirty old politician? This column’s going to Hell.”

Bernie Sanders is definitely an old politician, but he qualifies as an artist because in 1987, he released “We Shall Overcome,” a folk album recorded with 30 other local musicians in Vermont. Sanders doesn’t exactly have golden pipes, so instead of actually singing, he sort of… talks through the lyrics. They’re still powerful! Listen below.

If you aren’t convinced, he also acted in a movie called My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception as Rabbi Many Shevitz, where he drew from his own upbringing in Brooklyn to perform the role.

Photo via:

Actors and musicians are artists in my opinion! Now that we’ve established that I’m abiding by my own rules, let’s talk about how Sanders is decolonizing our minds.

The Vermont senator has touted his record of actively supporting the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and he should! He marched in Selma with Martin Luther King Jr., opposed the Vietnam War, was a member of SNCC, and is one of the only candidates in the 2016 presidential election who has acknowledged the exigency of systematic, institutionalized racism and police brutality. He has vocally supported the Black Lives Matter movement, advocated women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, recognizes the threats of climate change and so many more issues. He has made incredible progress on veterans’ affairs and supports pretty much any disadvantaged group of people you can name. Sanders’ campaign for the presidency has made income equality a top priority, and makes the vital distinction that the problem affects minority communities in different, more severe ways. Sanders has been outspoken about how our country’s economy and government privileges wealthy people and ignores the struggles of the rest of the population.

I’m as surprised as you are!

A 74-year old straight white male politician represents my interests closer than any other candidate running in 2016.

His campaign has successfully brought high numbers of young people into the political process, which leads to an entire generation of voters (and future politicians) becoming knowledgeable, engaged, and aware of these important issues that he discusses. Since we will inevitably inherit these problems, his engagement with the younger community has educated them and instilled passion in the youth.

Cartoon via:

Many of my peers feel their votes don’t make a difference, and that real change is a Utopian idea. But Sanders has made the prospect of a “political revolution” seem real, possible, and more importantly, in our control.

Whether or not you support Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate, he has undeniably dedicated a large part of his life to achieving justice for disadvantaged people. By integrating more young people into the political process, he has helped to educate a whole new generation of voters about serious issues that other politicians ignore. Bernie Sanders fights against establishment politics and decolonizes our minds by encouraging us to fight the rigged economy, the corrupt campaign finance system, and social injustices.

The idea of “decolonizing our minds” comes from writings of the author, feminist and social activist bell hooks. She encourages us to critically examine every thought and action, free ourselves from the coercive ideologies, and overcome the impacts of structural oppression. This monthly column will analyze spaces and times where and when we can pause and make strides in this arduous process, and also highlight figures who are helping us to decolonize ourselves.