Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been strong. She is getting toe-to-toe with known socialist Bernie Sanders. As the democrats try to decipher their best Anti-Trump move, one cannot help but wonder if the sway for Hillary Clinton is caused by sincere belief that she will bring America to new heights, or is it simply caused by popular conceptions on her campaign numbers on mainstream media?
Since this is not the first time Hillary Clinton campaigned for the White House, it is not hard to dig up previously held statements regarding multiple issues that concern the American public.
One of the biggest topics for controversy is Hillary Clinton’s stance on racism. Recently, Clinton was praised for her stance on “systematic racism” when she said she would want to open up opportunities for Black entrepreneurs.
Though she made some good points about the correlation of economic downturn to the constant struggle to eliminate racism in the 21st century, these outcries for defending the black minority are somehow questionable.
Musa Al-Gharbi of Salon pointed out that the general public seems to have this false belief that Hillary Clinton would preserve President Barack Obama’s legacy. At the same time, Al-Gharbi noted that black people are standing behind Hillary because they are “terrified at the prospect of Donald Trump presidency,” but what they do not understand is, according to election results, Bernie Sanders “actually stands the best chance of prevailing over Trump.”
Nonetheless, Hillary Clinton’s swaying stance on the race issue has been problematic. When she went head-to-head with Obama in 2008, co-founder of ColorofChange.org James Rucker wrote on the Huffington Post and said that the female candidate is “playing cynical racial politics again.”
As Hillary Clinton tries to appeal to and sympathize with black voters, her previous statements regarding the issue do not back her up.
But it’s hard to believe she’s serious about fighting for racial justice unless you pretend her 2008 campaign against Obama never happened. If you remember that period, there’s good reason to believe today’s promises are nothing more than lip-service to a community she sees as key to winning the nomination.
In 2008, Clinton blatantly pushed the public to explore Obama’s race controversy saying that the president’s roots “to basic American values and culture are at best limited.” Though Hillary Clinton reportedly apologized behind the camera, Obama did not accept the apology.
“The candidate [Obama] very respectfully told her the apology was kind, but largely meaningless, given the emails it was rumored her camp had been sending out labeling him as a Muslim,” according to Reggie Love, Obama’s personal assistant.
During the 2008 campaign, she also said that “white voters are more important.” Her entire campaign was built on the premise that white people will not be able to support the Obama campaign. Though she tried to sugar-coat her statements patronizing “hard-working white Americans,” Hillary Clinton still pointed out her advantage when it comes to winning “white” votes.
One might say that Hillary Clinton probably had a change of heart. It had been so many years since this happened and she might have progressed as a politician. However, that does not seem to be the case.
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In August 2015, when Hillary Clinton was just at the beginning stages of her campaign, she attended a closed-door meeting with the top leaders of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in Boston. Fortunately, Good was able to capture the moment on camera.
After the leader pointed out Hillary Clinton’s massive support for former President Bill Clinton’s Violent Crime and Law Enforement Act in 1994 that received a $19 billion funding compared to the $17 billion for the public housing cause, Hillary responded by saying that she already had made changes on her end. She even used the fact that she is a mother to translate her supposed willingness to help black kids.
Hillary Clinton also pointed out that the reason why the #BlackLivesMatter movement is not progressing is because they are not “clear” on what they want. She told them: “I don’t believe you change hearts…you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate.” She left them out to solve the issue by themselves before bringing the topic up to her office.
However, this does not answer the activists’ main concern, which is, if she won as the new president of America, what will she do to eliminate the race issue. When the leader pointed it out to Clinton, “as respectfully as I can… if you don’t tell Black people what we need to do, then we won’t tell you all what you need to do.”
“This is and has always been a white problem of violence. There’s not much that we can do to stop the violence against us.”
Before the leader can even expound on his thoughts, Hillary Clinton interrupted him and said:
“Well, respectfully, if that is you position, then I will talk only to White people about how we’re going to deal with the very real problems.”
This is not a show of sympathy. Hillary Clinton did not even take a second to digest what the leader was saying, but instead, she went immediately on the defensive.
The bottom line is, people need to understand Hillary Clinton’s history on race. As Rucker noted, “Should Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee, I would of course choose her over any of the Republicans running. But I would be doing so understanding who she is, with no illusions about her record and past actions. And today, while we’re in the context of the primaries, I don’t know how Black Americans – or those who care about resolving the scourge of racism in this country – can cast a vote for Clinton, without an honest discussion of this history.”
[Image Credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool]