25 de Mayo, 2008
Hillary Clinton's "Assassination" Remark & Why It Matters To MeA Slant Truth.]
[Update: I've added several more blogger of color reactions below. I post these reactions to show the breadth of thought on the matter from bloggers of color. I don't necessarily agree with everything that is said.
Oh Wait! You mean not all black people and other people of color think alike? That one black blogger doesn't speak for ALL BLACK PEOPLE EVERYWHERE THAT HAVE EVER LIVED, ARE LIVING, AND WILL LIVE?.
Yeah, I know. It's a crazy concept, but it's true.]
I traverse a wide range of blogs, and there's something that I've noticed concerning discussions of Sen. Hillary Clinton and her recent "assassination" remark. At the primarily white blogs, there is much debate over whether or not what she has said is offensive (I won't bother repeating it here since it's been posted everywhere) and yet when you look at black bloggers, and other bloggers of color, there is an almost unanimous agreement that her remarks were reprehensible. I also noticed that in the links being provided by blog authors and commentators at the primarily white blogs, to support their agreement or disagreement with the offensiveness of Sen. Clinton's statements, all are to other primarily white blogs and white bloggers. I find this problematic because I've seen a lot of comments on these blogs to the effect of "anyone who thinks that her statement was truly offensive is paranoid, a nut case, delusional, incapable of rational thought, etc," and this leads me to think that a lot of people just aren't taking into consideration, let alone even reading and listening to the black and other bloggers of color that Clinton's statement has affected not only on a political level, but on a deeply personal level.
Let me tell you a story.
As a child, I once came home, after hearing the standard "if you work hard enough, maybe one day you can be President" spiel at school, and quite happily informed my grandmother that all I had to do was work my butt off and maybe one day I could be President of the United States. My grandmoms, not one to harbor any illusions, informed me (this is obviously a paraphrase) that "no black person can become President of the United States. A black person would be killed before white folks would allow that to happen." True story. Now, as a black woman that grew up in the Jim Crow South, her reasoning was not out of the question. I don't believe that that's true today, but from her vantage point, from her life experience, she had every right to believe what she was telling me, and that to tell me this was good advice. This is the context within which I hear Sen. Clinton's statement. The context of my elders, the generations that came before me. And so while I no longer believe what my grandmoms told me oh so many years ago, I am still influenced and I still reverberate with her experiences and what she tried to teach me based on those experiences.
I was not alive when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Yet, when I hear the words "1968" and "assassination" in the same sentence, I cannot help but to think of Martin Luther King, Jr. I cannot help but to think of the racial unrest of the period. I cannot help but to think of the struggles that my people have had to undergo in order for a black person to be seriously considered for the Presidency of the United States of America. I cannot help but to think of the numerous civil Rights leaders slain.
This is my history.
And let it be known that this is not solely the history of black folks. People of Color across the board share this history in the United States. We may be invited to the dinner table now and again, but don't even think we will get anything until the establishment has had their fill.
I don't think that Sen. Clinton's statements can be divorced from several events that occurred in 1968:
The assassination of Robert Kennedy.
The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The riots at the Democratic National Convention.
Maybe it's just me, but when I learned of her remarks (which she has made before, but I was unaware of), that's what came to mind. It was offensive to the Kennedy family, especially given Ted Kennedy's illness (Sen. Clinton did apologize for that, however). It unnecessarily brought up the specter of black folks getting killed for being black and standing up for their humanity; and it also, for me at least, brought up the 1968 Democratic Convention riots, given all the talk these days about a "civil war" at the Convention, talk that I'm sure she is aware of.
I can't say whether or not she intended for me to hear her statements the way I do, but as y'all should know, I'm not one to care much for intention, and that's how I hear it. I will continue to speak out against sexist attacks against Sen. Clinton, but I will do so because I believe that sexist, racist, classist, disablist, homophobic, et. al. attacks should be condemned under any circumstances; but just as I will speak out against racist attacks against Condoleeza Rice and still never support her politics or career, I will speak out against sexist attacks against Sen. Clinton and still never support her or her career because she is using racist tactics to win an election.
Other Folks of Color on the matter (I'm sure there's much, much more, so if anyone can point me to other Folks of color's opinion on this matter, I'd appreciate it and will update the post accordingly):
Sylvia at Problem Chylde
Liza at CultureKitchen
[cross-posted at Slant Truth]