screenshot of clinton meeting

Hillary Clinton “did what most white people do” when confronted by Black people

Black Lives Matter activist Elle Hearns appeared on CNN yesterday discussing the footage of Hillary Clinton’s response to BLM activists shut out of a campaign event in New Hampshire last week. Hearns’ description of Clinton’s visible discomfort is perhaps the best I’ve seen today: in sum, Clinton did “what most white people do when they are faced with direct questions from black people around what they can do to better assist with the call to action” put out by BLM activists.

She goes on to elaborate:

HEARNS: [Clinton] was very defensive. She was very intentionally suggestive of what other people could do as opposed to what she specifically could do. She was challenged to change hearts and minds and she said she doesn’t believe in that and, so that is, a majority of the time, the reaction that we’ve seen from the progressive movement towards these calls to action.

HOST: I’m not so sure she said she doesn’t agree with that but she did kind of qualify it saying there has to be more than that. We need real legislation or some kind of concrete steps that the politicians can take to make a difference when it comes to policy perhaps. And she did put out this statement that tries to clarify her positions. It says we must not only change hearts, but we must do more to face hard truths in America. Does that help?

HEARNS: I don’t think that that helps. I think that what helps is actually to be receptive and to what folks are presenting. And so what we’re seeing is a lot of folks, Bernie Sanders, multiple campaigns after the fact. What we actually need support in is actually being receptive of what is happening when you’re directly addressing the issues that we’ve been lifting up consistently around black deaths in this country.

Watch the rest of the interview here and the footage released by Good magazine here. The latter is two videos — totaling a little more than 10 minutes — that suggest that Clinton is still extremely uncomfortable with tackling questions of white violence and anti-Black racism. Shout out to “the interrupters” for showing us where she’s at (behind) and asking her to give answers.

Mahroh is a community organizer and law student who believes in building a world where black and brown women and our communities are able to live free of violence. Prior to law school, Mahroh was the Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization empowering students to end gender violence and a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research addresses the ways militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact communities of color transnationally.

Mahroh is currently at Harvard Law School, organizing against state and gender-based violence.

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