Rock the (Black) Vote! – Part 1 of 3
Is Hillary Clinton a champion for Black Americans?
It’s that time again, y’all! Every four years, politicians jockeying to be the next president of the United States dust off their Black people black book and show us how much they care about the African-American community, and how our issues are their issues:
Are you mad about police brutality? They once got a ticket for a rolling stop. Are you disturbed by the lack of access to reproductive healthcare in low-income neighborhoods of people of color? They can’t believe Olivia aborted Fitz’ baby on Scandal! Did you forget hot sauce in your bag (swag)? They’ve got a bottle of Louisiana at the bottom of their Birkin bag, underneath a box of thin mints and watermelon candies that you can only get if you are a Black grandmother with an active church membership.
Join Parlé Magazine for a three part series where we’ll get behind the bluster to unearth the truth about the candidates’ records with the African-American community. First on the docket is former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Hillary Clinton has been a political power player for decades and has the resume worthy of a heavyweight of her status. In addition to serving as President Obama’s first Secretary of State, Hillary is an accomplished lawyer, former First Lady, and Senator of New York. Over the years she has been hailed as an advocate of the poor, having first earned her political stripes fighting for universal healthcare in the 1990s. She and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have been icons in the Black community since Bill and his saxophone serenaded us during a 1992 appearance on the original Arsenio Hall Show.
This election year Hillary Clinton is working harder for the Black vote, having received major endorsements from the (Congressional Black Caucus PAC), Sabryna Fulton, mother of murdered teen Trayvon Martin, and more. She has recently proclaimed her support of justice reform, called out Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for his mishandling of the Flint Water Crisis, and even announced a plan to fund Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). When she’s not publicly expressing her sudden admiration of all things Barack Obama, the nation’s first actual Black President (Sorry, Bill), Hillary can be found making the rounds as she attempts to seal cracks in her Black voter firewall. However, Hillary’s record is plagued by questionable decisions that have negatively impacted the lives of countless Black Americans.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has reignited rhetoric about justice reform, lopsided prison sentencing and the subsequently devastating incarceration rates among African-Americans. Well guess who supported her husband’s infamous 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, a law that exacerbated a decades’ old problem of unjust and disparate prison sentences for African-Americans when compared to their White counterparts. This law, better known as “Three Strikes,” helped to fuel mass incarceration by imposing life sentences on people convicted of a violent felony after two or more prior convictions – any conviction.
For instance, consider the case of Jerry Dewayne Williams, a Black man out of southern California. In 1995, Williams, a felon with five previous convictions, received a 25 year sentence for stealing a slice of pizza from a group of kids in Redondo Beach, CA. He was released five years later due to public uproar over the controversial case, but others weren’t so fortunate.
Hillary Clinton was all too happy to jump on the “Lock ‘em Up” bandwagon. While promoting the 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, Hillary infamously called mainstream America into their own Formation:
“They are not just gangs of kids anymore,” Hillary said of Black children perpetrating inner city crime. “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.”
Scared suburban soccer moms and trigger-happy cowboys heard Hillary’s dog whistle and used it effectively to justify their own biases against Black Americans. Our youth weren’t adolescents in need of support, resources, compassion and guidance like their children. They weren’t even human. They were rabid animals ready to rob, rape and kill God-fearing White families.
But that was then. Now in an era of #BlackLivesMatter, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Flint, Detroit public schools, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Baltimore, and a veritable legion of atrocities perpetrated against the Black community will Hillary finally make good on her promises to us and truly be a champion for Black America? How will she remediate the damage of over 400 years of systematic oppression, subjugation and degradation?
Tell us in the comments below your thoughts on Hillary Clinton being ready to remedy the challenges negatively impacting our community.