Hillary Clinton’s appearance at a posh NYC charity dinner Saturday night took a controversial turn. During a skit with Mayor Bill DeBlasio and African-American Broadway actor Leslie Odom, Jr., Clinton participated in what many believe is a racially offensive exchange. One might refer to it as one in a long line of instances of Hillary’s casual racism.
Odom and de Blasio had completed a portion of a skit and Clinton walked on to resounding applause. She then thanked the mayor for his support, adding that it “took you long enough.”
De Blasio, a former aide to Clinton, responded with a phrase that is a known stereotype in black culture.
“Sorry, Hillary. I was running on C.P. time.”
The phrase refers to the outdated “colored people” who are stereotypically late for appointments.
Odom provided the lead-in to Hillary’s punchline by objecting to the mayor’s use of the phrase. Hillary’s punchline managed only to garner hushed murmurs.
“Cautious Politician Time. I’ve been there.”
She followed up with a joke about the subway card slots, a reference to her earlier difficulty in getting her card to work. It took her five swipes through the card reader before she could go through the turnstile.
For anyone familiar with Clinton, the racist jokes aren’t much of a surprise, yet no matter how many times they fall flat, she never seems to learn. It is this kind of casual racism that outs her as a person of privilege who doesn’t understand that making jokes about racial and ethnic stereotypes are not acceptable.
Take, for example, Hillary’s 2004 appearance at a fundraiser in St. Louis, Missouri. During a speech, she made a stereotypical joke about Mahatma Gandhi as she was introducing one of his most famous quotes.
“…Mahatma Gandhi. He ran a gas station down in St. Louis. A lot of wisdom came out of that gas station.”
She later apologized for the poor judgment she’d exhibited in making a joke about Indians. But the fact remains, she chose to make a racist joke about a widely respected Indian civil rights leader based on an ethnic stereotype.
In 1996, while her husband, then-President Bill Clinton, was working to pass massive crime and welfare reform laws, she employed the use of racially coded language to refer to groups of kids as “superpredators.” During that time, it didn’t take much mental wrangling to realize she was referring to young black men.
In an interview with John Heilemann of Bloomberg’s “All Due Respect,” rapper Ice Cube called Clinton’s remarks harsh and claimed it helped inspire the Black Lives Matter movement.
“…it’s not really solving the problem — it’s just making it worse. Because now you have authorities that feel like they’re justified in how they treat these so-called ‘superpredators.’ And what is that? Who is that? I mean, specifically, who are you talking about?”
He went on to explain that Clinton’s description of “gangs of kids” being called superpredators harmed the Black community and young black kids in particular.
“The thing — back in the 80s, Daryl Gates and the LAPD — they did a ‘war on gangs.’ But if I”m a black kid that’s not in a gang, but I look like a gang member to this white officer, then it’s a war on me. That’s the problem with a term like ‘superpredators.'”
The result of Bill Clinton’s crime policies, which Hillary supported, is the proliferation of private, for-profit prisons, and a disproportionately high percentage of African Americans in jail.
Black activist, civil rights lawyer, and legal scholar Michelle Alexander writes in the Nation, when President Clinton left office, his policies had such a negative impact on black communities that the rate of incarceration had skyrocketed.
“When Clinton left office in 2001, the United States had the highest rate of incarceration in the world… African Americans constituted 80 to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison.”
Alexander points out that it was Hillary Clinton who lobbied Congress to expand the drug war and mass incarceration. It was also Hillary Clinton who worked hard to reduce federal welfare benefits for women and children, many of whom were black. In her book Living History, the former First Lady tells the reader how proud she is of the 60-percent drop in welfare recipients.
The drop had nothing to do with a reduction of poverty, but the Clintons’ roles in kicking the working poor off benefits.
And during the 2008 campaign, Hillary’s campaign laid out a plan to discredit her opponent, then-Senator Barack Obama, as “other” and someone to be afraid of. Political strategist Mark Penn worked with Hillary Clinton to plan her line of attack against Obama.
In a March 2007 memo, he suggested painting Barack Obama as not American enough, not experienced enough, and unelectable. He emphasized his “lack of American roots” as a point of contention.
“All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light.
Save it for 2050.
It also exposes a very strong weakness for him — his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values.”
And take Clinton’s former New Hampshire campaign co-chair, Billy Sheehan. In a roundabout attack, Sheehan questioned Obama’s drug use as a young man. During an interview with the Washington Post in December 2007, he implied that Obama may have sold drugs, a common stereotype attached to black men, and that the GOP would latch onto that in a general election race.
The recent kerfuffle between Bill Clinton and a BLM activist hasn’t helped Hillary’s campaign, nor has her casual attitude regarding antiquated stereotypes against black people. Her history of racially insensitive jokes and her past advocacy of harsh policies that inordinately affected the black community illustrate her lack of judgment and unfitness to be President.
[Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images]