UPDATE: 6/26/2015 Mrs. Clinton, in a speech given near Ferguson, Missouri, this week used the hashtag AllLivesMatter.This is yet another instance in which Mrs. Clinton shows she is still woefully unprepared at best, and arrogant enough not to care to better prepare, at worst. It shows a lack of respect for voters when a politician can’t be bothered to do simple homework. Understandably, this latest flap has caused quite a bit of consternation and backlash, as The New York Times reports:
Hillary Rodham Clinton is facing backlash for saying that “all lives matter” in an African-American church in Missouri on Tuesday, offending some who feel that she is missing the point of the “black lives matter” mantra.
Mrs. Clinton’s remarks at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Mo. — only a few miles north of Ferguson, where a black teenager was shot by a white police officer last August — came during a broader discussion of civil rights in America.
She was talking about how a disproportionate number of young people of color are out of school and out of work and, explaining that everyone needs a “chance and a champion,” she recalled how her mother was abandoned as a teenager and went on to work as a maid.
“What kept you going?” Mrs. Clinton remembered asking her mother. “Her answer was very simple. Kindness along the way from someone who believed she mattered. All lives matter.” […]
Hillary Clinton has addressed the topic of racism only four times in the last eighteen months. She only addressed it head on yesterday. In a town hall she was a part of on CNN, no matter how hard Christiane Amanpour pressed, she just would not concede that “racism” describes the treatment of President Obama by Republicans. Not only wouldn’t she budge, but she seemed irritated and defensive.
Then, when Clinton gave a major policy speech in Brooklyn recently, it was nice to hear hers and President Clinton’s regret at mass-incarceration and the terrible consequences stemming from policies that were put into place under Clinton’s watch. There was even a promise in there to fix what Bill’s administration broke.
The morning after the Charleston Massacre, Hillary said:
“In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest—we have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns, and division,” she said. “Today we join our hearts, the people of Charleston and South Carolina, people everywhere, pray for the victims, pray for the families, pray for a community that knows too much sorrow. And we pray for justice.”
“How many innocent people in our country—little children to church members to movie theater attendees—how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?” Clinton continued. “So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity that we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together.”
Had this particular statement been made months or even weeks after such a terrible tragedy, it would have been a fine one. But on the morning after, when the victims’ bodies weren’t even cold, not to honor them by giving them sole mention makes Clinton appear insensitive. It isn’t proper or thoughtful when, on such a day, as sorrow is so deep, fears so heightened, she addresses an hours-old white supremacist massacre in Charleston in the same breath as other events. Why couldn’t Thursday be just about Charleston? Why couldn’t the things that happened be called by their rightful names: racism and white supremacy? It is what they are. Why did policy have to even be mentioned while consoling broken hearts?
Hillary spoke out again on Saturday, at the US Conference of Mayors in San Francisco:
In the Charleston Massacre portion of her address, Clinton takes her audience on an abbreviated tour of America’s history with racism and civil rights, while appropriately expressing sadness and disappointment that we aren’t post-racial. But then, she follows with the gun control and mental health refrain from her Thursday speech, and then closes this part condolence, part civil rights sandwich with the Four Fights at the center of her campaign.
To anyone who is relatively conscious, this is a very transparent move; one designed to fulfill a perfunctory duty to a grieving Black audience, while being careful not to upset a lighter shade of voter. Of note is the fact that nowhere among the Four Fights is an expression of the regret she expressed in a different speech last month on the prison-industrial system her husband started. While she mentions a distant Jim Crow era, she doesn’t name our current New Jim Crow. There is no word on the police state we now live in, or the police brutality that has become a nationwide daily occurrence – only mayors working hard to get guns off the streets (former Mayor Bloomberg’s pet agenda, without naming it).
“Many mayors are part of the U.S. Coalition of Cities against Racism and Discrimination, launched by this conference in 2013. I know you’re making reforms in your own communities, promoting tolerance in schools, smoothing the integration of immigrants, creating economic opportunities.
Mayors across the country also are doing all they can to prevent gun violence and keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.”
This portion of the speech strikes as cliché. Racism isn’t unique to the Southern states. Her reference to racism in this section of her speech is now generalized, no longer specific to the Black community or even to our time. She awkwardly switches to urban violence from race, without a transition. She, quite stereotypically, made mention of mayors’ work in prevention and safety, but made none on acknowledging and ending generalized police brutality in every city and state.
Then, there is the terminology used by Clinton. She has uttered the words “hard truths” three times now. While those words were appropriate in the context she used them during her Brooklyn speech, they’re inappropriate when used in the same breath as Charleston. Those “hard truths” are the most painful part of the African American experience; pain not of their own making, and irrelevant when presenting one’s condolences.
When the topic is the massacre of African Americans at the hands of a white supremacist, “hard truths” are what white Americans need to contemplate. Clinton is very careful in her speeches not to be direct. We have never, as a nation, acknowledged the extent and nature of our racist past. We have yet, as a nation, to properly teach our children about our own racist past. Other than generalities, Clinton offers nothing in the way of specifics to begin addressing the issues that underlie racism and white supremacy. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center hate map, there are almost as many hate groups in California as there are in Florida and Missouri, for example.
Clinton has consistently used the word “race.” Race is not the same as racism. The terms are not interchangeable. Hate crimes are caused by racism, not race. There is a difference and she should use more precise language.
My grade of Hillary Clinton’s statements and speeches since leaving her post at State is a C-.
Clinton: We Must Face ‘Hard Truths’ About Race, Guns After Charleston Shooting
Clinton told an audience Thursday at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Las Vegas that the news “broke my heart.”
“The shock and pain of this crime of hate strikes deep,” she said, as quoted by National Journal. “Nine people, women and men. Cut down at prayer, murdered in a house of God. It just broke my heart.”
Like President Barack Obama did earlier in the day, Clinton also urged Americans to address gun violence after failing to act in the wake of past mass shootings like the 2012 Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre. She said that the country must “face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division” in order to make sense of the latest tragedy, according to National Journal.
“How many innocent people in our country—little children to church members to movie theater attendees—how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?” she said, as quoted by National Journal. “So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity that we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence, this time we have to find answers together.”
Read the rest of this article on Clinton: We Must Face ‘Hard Truths’ About Race, Guns After Charleston Shooting