Hillary Clinton Should Ask for Black America's Forgiveness Before She Asks for our Vote

Hillary Clinton Black America
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Originally Published on Huffington Post

Houston, we have a problem. Hillary Clinton's campaign has run into a major speed bump and it's called Bernie Sanders. As we move toward the day of reckoning known as Super Tuesday, she's dialing up Black America to answer the call to action. The woman that was supposedly married to America's first black president is now hoping that it is Black America that buoys her campaign. The problem is that regardless of whether Bill Clinton believes, as he has recently stated, that"we are all mixed-race people...", he is white and the Clintons were far from good for Black America in their last go around in the White House. Whether we look at "The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act " signed by President Clinton in 1994, a piece of legislation which led to more black men being incarcerated than we had seen in all of America's dark history, which is saying a lot. Or, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which nearly gutted black media ownership by removing caps on corporate media ownership. The Clinton era was marked by a reality of setbacks for African Americans that are too often understated, and are best summed up by Michelle Alexander, author of the bestseller "The New Jim Crow".

"If anyone doubts that the mainstream media fails to tell the truth about our political system (and its true winners and losers), the spectacle of large majorities of black folks supporting Hillary Clinton in the primary races ought to be proof enough. I can't believe Hillary would be coasting into the primaries with her current margin of black support if most people knew how much damage the Clintons have done -- the millions of families that were destroyed the last time they were in the White House thanks to their boastful embrace of the mass incarceration machine and their total capitulation to the right-wing narrative on race, crime, welfare and taxes. There's so much more to say on this topic and it's a shame that more people aren't saying it. I think it's time we have that conversation." Michelle Alexander

Under former President Bill Clinton's administration the number of incarcerated rose dramatically, the increase primarily being composed of young black males. According to the Los Angeles Times, "During Clinton's eight-year tenure, the total population of federal and state prisons combined rose by 673,000 inmates--235,000 more than during Reagan's two terms." As I wrote in one of the more popular pieces on incarceration, The Black Male Incarceration Problem Is Real and It's Catastrophic,

"... there are currently more African American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined. India alone is a country of 1.2 Billion people, the country in total only has around 380,000 prisoners."

Recently Bill Clinton admitted regret for his part in the incarceration increase stating, "... the president spoke a long time and very well on criminal justice reform,..But I want to say a few words about it. Because I signed a bill that made the problem worse and I want to admit it." But his words do little to correct the effects his legislative pen had on millions of black families. This is covered extensively in the documentary I served as a producer on "Freeway: Crack In The System", which details how lawmakers racialized the punishment of non-violent crimes, and the devastating impact that approach had on black homes across the nation. The increase in gangs and drugs that we covered in our film, resulted in Hillary Clinton calling those convicted 'super-predators', and stating they needed to be brought to heel. An action often reserved for breaking an animal, rather than rehabilitating human beings.

" They are not just gangs of kids anymore. 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..." Hillary Clinton 1996

The problem was they were not super, nor predators, they were just a generation of misguided young black men. In actuality they were brothers, fathers and sons caught in a webbing of economics that was 30 years in the making, one that dated back to a time when President Nixon formally declared a "war on drugs". This entanglement closed in on them as cheap drugs became available, and cities across the nation lost manufacturing jobs leaving employment deserts in urban ghettos.

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