Is Bill Clinton Still "Black"?

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[Politics: Commentary]


Now that African American voters have decided to back Senator Barack Obama, who has been winning more than 90% of the Black vote in the recent primary elections, does Bill Clinton still want to be referred to as the first “Black” president?

Really: Come now. Does Bill Clinton still want to be referred to as “Black” after African Americans “abandoned” his wife’s presidential campaign to support a candidate who unites all the races and just happens to be Black?

I even wonder: Did Clinton ever like being referred to as “Black” anyway? I had my doubts even before the Clintons used race-bating tactics to try and derail Obama’s campaign before he surged ahead.

Was Clinton’s seeming acceptance of the “Black” honorific a ploy created several years ago because Bill Clinton knew that one day in the future his wife would be running for president and could then count on the Black vote?

After all, under such a scenario, all he had to do was “accept” being referred to as the first “Black” president for a few years. How harmful could that be?

Clinton knew that sometimes Black people are easily impressed; and who can blame us, after the history of racism, slavery, genocide, Jim Crow, and lynchings?

It seemed like a good deal. All Bill Clinton had to do was endure being called “Black”; in return his wife stood to earn the critical Black vote that would propel her to the White House down the line.

After all, Clinton knew he really wasn’t Black. He knew he wasn’t ever going to be picked up and beaten or sodomized with a broom stick by white cops, like poor Abner Louima; he knew he would never get fired at 48 times like poor Amadou Diallo; he knew he could always get a cab to stop for him in Manhattan if he felt like hailing one just for the fun of it; he knew he wasn’t ever going to be denied a job he was obviously qualified for; he knew he wasn’t ever going to be referred to by the N-word; and, he knew that he wasn’t ever going to be locked up to serve a long-sentence for a crime he had never committed.

Where was the harm? There was no risk at all; or so it seemed?

So Bill Clinton might have gone along with it; and, I‘m not saying this is fact. It’s reasonable conjecture.

Heck--maybe he was the one who actually suggested to Toni Morrison to coin the term “Bill Clinton is the first Black President.”

Wouldn’t this all be rather sad, if, indeed it was just a ploy to get the Black vote down the line considering the way Black support at the voting booth for Hillary Clinton has evaporated in recent weeks?

Might it be that Black people are punishing Hillary Clinton at the voting booth because they believe Bill Clinton demeaned historical Black suffering by accepting the honorific “Black” without having endured any of the hardships that many Black people have?

A few weeks ago, when Hillary Clinton was still leading in the polls and in the early voting, the Clintons still seemed to like the honorific “Black.”

During a CNN hosted debate, when a moderator asked Obama about Clinton having been referred to as the first “Black” candidate, senator Obama laughed off the question and joked that he would have to check out Bill Clinton’s dance moves first.

Hillary Clinton, smiling, took it in stride, and said that “could be arranged;” meaning that she too still endorsed the honorific reference to her husband as “Black.”

But that was then: Both Hillary and Bill were still happy with the way things were going in the polls.

It was before the battle of the Potomac, when Clinton was driven from Maryland, Virginia and D.C. by Obama. After yesterday’s loss in Wisconsin, and now that Senator Obama has surged ahead of Clinton and is poised to derail her campaign on March 4th after the Texas and Ohio votes, Bill Clinton may not be in the mood to be referred to as “Black.”

I warn any Black person to be careful before walking up to Bill Clinton and calling him “Black” in light of  the nasty race-baiting side of Bill Clinton I saw during the South Carolina primaries ….….but let me stop here.





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