Andrew Yang on being only candidate of color on Dem debate stage: 'Honor and disappointment'

Businessman and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang lamented the fact that he was the only person of color on the Democratic debate stage Thursday night.

"It's both an honor and a disappointment to be the lone candidate of color on the stage tonight," Yang said during the debate.

Thursday's debate occurred just weeks after Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., dropped out of the 2020 race -- leaving a top tier of just white candidates.

"I miss Kamala, I miss Cory, though I think Cory will be back," Yang said, referring to Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. Booker remained in the race but was unable to qualify for Thursday's debate.

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Yang went on to suggest that he was the only candidate of color on stage because minorities lacked disposable income.

"You know what you need to donate to political campaigns? Disposable income," he said to applause.

"The way we fix it this is we take Martin Luther King's message of a guaranteed minimum income, a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month for all Americans -- I'd guarantee if we had a freedom dividend ... I would not be the only candidate of color on this stage tonight," he said.

Yang wasn't the only one to note that the 2020 field was overwhelmingly white for a party that claims to champion diversity.

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Aimee Allison, a leading progressive activist, lamented Harris' departure from the race, noting that it left only white candidates to participate in the debate.

"It's a sad state of affairs to have six white candidates on stage, many of whom don't necessarily speak with black women, who are the powerhouse voters -- and we're at this moment where we went from the most diverse set of candidates in the history -- certainly in my lifetime -- to an all-white stage," Allison told MSNBC's Ali Velshi.

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Yang's comments came amid a Los Angeles Times report claiming that progressive leaders viewed Mayor Pete Buttigieg as a symbol of white privilege.

“There is frustration that Pete is the living and breathing embodiment of white male privilege," Rebecca Katz, who leads a progressive consulting firm, told the paper.