Hillary Clinton and Bill de Blasio are in hot water for a staged joke that has struck some observers as being racially insensitive, MSN is reporting.
On Saturday night, Clinton and de Blasio were attending the Inner Circle dinner, a black-tie charity event where members of New York’s press community and political elite spend the night trading barbs at each other.
In a scripted bit, Clinton took the stage to thank de Blasio for his endorsement. De Blasio had been notably cautious about endorsing Hillary’s campaign, and that delay set the stage for the joke.
Clinton said, “It took you long enough.”
To which de Blasio responded, “Sorry, I was running on C.P. time.”
For those not familiar, “C.P. time” means “Colored People time,” according to New York Magazine. It’s a reference to the distasteful cultural stereotype that African Americans are late for their appointments.
Clinton and de Blasio, with the help of actor Leslie Odom Jr., who is African American, went even deeper into the joke.
Odom, who was in on the joke, told de Blasio, “That’s not – I don’t like jokes about that, Bill.”
De Blasio then delivered the punchline, “Cautious Politician Time. I’ve been there.”
You can watch the awkward joke in the video below, beginning at 8:30.
Needless to say, the joke did not go over particularly well.
Writing in the Root, Breanna Edwards characterized the exchange between de Blasio and Clinton as “casually [putting] their feet in their mouths.” Salon writer Sophia Tesfaye called the joke “cringeworthy.” And New York Magazine writer Rembert Browne called the joke “amazingly unfunny” and “terribly executed.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 11, 2016
The awkward and vaguely racist joke comes at a difficult time for the Clinton campaign when it comes to race issues. Although she enjoys strong support among black voters, decades-old remarks, combined with her support of controversial legislation her husband signed in the 1990s — legislation that has been seen as devastating to the black community — are coming back to haunt her.
Last week, according to this Inquisitr report, Bill Clinton, while campaigning for Hillary, got into an argument with Black Lives Matter protesters regarding the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Prevention Act. The bill, which expanded the death penalty and mandated lengthy minimum sentences for various crimes, has been seen by some as having had devastating effects on the black community. In particular, the bill is believed to be at least partially responsible for the today’s mass incarceration epidemic, a problem which disproportionately affects blacks.
At the time, Hillary, then the First Lady, supported the bill, making a statement that, 20 years later, she would come to regret. Mrs. Clinton said the bill was necessary to prevent the rise of so-called “super-predators.”
“They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
Despite the poor timing and the inappropriateness of the joke, Bill de Blasio is standing by it. Speaking to CNN on Monday, de Blasio said that critics are missing the point.
“It was clearly a staged show. It was a scripted show and the whole idea was to do the counter intuitive and say ‘cautious politician time,’ Every actor involved, including Hillary Clinton and Leslie Odom Jr., thought it was a joke on a different convention.”
Do you think Hillary Clinton and Bill de Blasio’s joke was offensive?
[Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images]