When BLM met HRC.
August 18, 2015 7:13 AM   Subscribe

Video of Hillary Clinton's meeting with Black Lives Matter has been released. (YouTube playlist) Surprisingly intelligent, unscripted, and revealing.
posted by markkraft (264 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 


Well I'm sold; I'm voting for one of the Black Lives Matter people.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:26 AM on August 18, 2015 [58 favorites]


Last week several activists from Massachusetts planned to disrupt a Clinton campaign event in New Hampshire, but they weren't allowed in. Secret Service members shut down the forum on substance abuse when the room reached capacity, and the activists were escorted to an overflow room to watch the event.

Big ole side-eye there. I mean, having being barred from entering the event is one thing if Clinton doesn't want to be disrupted, but the Secret Service escorting them into another room under the idea that Clinton would do thoughtful one-on-one with them is another. From Julius Jones, the head of the Worcestor BLM chapter (?): " "She was not willing to concede that the inherent anti-blackness in the policies that were enacted to address problems is the cause of the problems we have today," Jones said. "She didn’t concede that."
posted by Kitteh at 7:29 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


"...this is and has always been a white problem of violence, and there isn't much black people can do to stop it."

"Respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problems," Clinton snapped.


Seriously?
posted by Huck500 at 7:35 AM on August 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


I want to see how Donald Trump's meeting goes before I make up my mind.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:37 AM on August 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


Oh, I think we know how that goes.
posted by Kitteh at 7:39 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Normally I'd adhere to "don't read the comments" but there is this magical confluence of everybody literally hating everything in every direction simultaneously happening, where it's like Racists For Hilary and Anti-Racists For Hillary and Anti-Racists Against Hillary and Crazy People Against Sanity and I Hate Obama!!1! and it is like the purest distillation of Don't Read The Comments I have ever seen.

It's like Plato's Cave finally ruptured and we are gazing into the blinding searing light of Don't Read The Comments for the first time in human history.
posted by Shepherd at 7:42 AM on August 18, 2015 [104 favorites]


This Clinton just had her Sistah Souljah moment.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:42 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problems," Clinton snapped.

Protip: When you find yourself starting a sentence with "Respectfully" or "With all due respect", don't continue that sentence. No one heard or read that and thought, "Well, she said 'Respectfully,' so I guess I'm not actually offended about her saying she's only going to talk to white people."
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 AM on August 18, 2015 [27 favorites]


Did she actually answer the question? Sounded like she was using all the right words, but did she answer the question. She says we haven't "recovered from original sin", but fails to mention all that has been done in the last 60 years to try. The Civil rights act, Brown Vs Board of Education, Affirmative action, and all the dozens of other programs that one would hope would help. What else would she have us do?
posted by Gungho at 7:44 AM on August 18, 2015


Rather than continuing to focus on the one snappy comment, I thought this was interesting:
Look, I don't believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You're not gonna change every heart. You're not. But at the end of the day we can do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them to live up to their own God-given potential ... You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But if that's all that happens, we'll be back here in ten years having the same conversation.
posted by slkinsey at 7:44 AM on August 18, 2015 [44 favorites]


The fact that she didn't immediately cough up a lengthy list of all the relevant actionable policies she's planning to advocate for wrt these issues is pretty worrisome. She came across as "oh right, this is a thing now (!!), and I haven't really thought it through, so why don't you come to me with some ideas."

(Also, did anyone else notice the My Neighbor Totoro ringtone at 6:47? Gotta get that...)
posted by sloafmaster at 7:45 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


When progressives complain that BLM activists aren't targeting Republican candidates, it's almost they have forgotten what the general stance of the GOP re: minorities is. They simply don't care. It feels as though the GOP just writes off the minority vote--when they're not actively trying to suppress it--because they wouldn't want to give them the time of day anyway.
posted by Kitteh at 7:45 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think Oliver Willis had a good point recently, about BLMs seeming aversion to a substantial platform for social justice...

#BlackLivesMatter circa 1964
LBJ: "So, i suppose you want me to back the civil rights act?"
BLM: "No, we just wanna know your feelings."

posted by markkraft at 7:49 AM on August 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


> It's like Plato's Cave finally ruptured and we are gazing into the blinding searing light of Don't Read The Comments for the first time in human history.

I haven't read the comments, but I'm picturing more of a "the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark"-type situation.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:49 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's interesting that BLM's confrontation with Clinton was extremely -- almost suspiciously -- deferential.

She basically tells BLM that they're wrong and their tactics are wrong. She informs them that they need white people (like her) to fight on their behalf.

They watch, nod, and leave. At no point is anything disrupted.

Can we ... start talking about who is funding this group?
posted by Avenger at 7:50 AM on August 18, 2015 [24 favorites]


They watch, nod, and leave. At no point is anything disrupted.

Or we can remember that Hilary Clinton has the Secret Service which sort of freaks out anyone, regardless of their intentions.
posted by Kitteh at 7:52 AM on August 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


In an interview with Melissa Harris-Perry, Yancey said they were looking for a personal reflection from Clinton, so "her response really targeting on policy wasn't sufficient for us."

I'm not sure that I understand that at all. I don't give a crap about how a politician feels about an issue, I want to see what bills they'll enact.
posted by octothorpe at 7:52 AM on August 18, 2015 [30 favorites]


As someone who found himself surrounded by activists chanting down Bernie Sanders at Netroots, I'm struck by the difference in tone here.

"Respectfully" was said a lot.

I don't see #HillarySoBlack getting a lot of traction on Twitter.

I have had serious suspicions that the attacks on Bernie Sanders might have been at least loosely coordinated with the Clinton campaign. Those suspicions have been challenged somewhat, since we have now seen an unprepared Clinton give inadequate responses.

But the scales still haven't balanced very much in terms of Bernie getting repeatedly heckled & then lambasted on Twitter, and Hillary basically getting a tea party.

I look forward to Clinton facing the same scrutiny and vitriol that people have directed at Sanders. I'm not seeing it yet.
posted by univac at 7:55 AM on August 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


"The fact that she didn't immediately cough up a lengthy list of all the relevant actionable policies she's planning to advocate for wrt these issues is pretty worrisome."

I think it was perfectly understandable for her not to do so, in part because it would be a laundry list, but specifically, because it would completely fail to engage on BLMs argument, which was primarily about the framing of history, and about Hillary's personal feelings regarding her role in that history.

It would also reinforce the argument that the BLM speaker made, saying that she was trying to tell black people what they needed to do, while not engaging personally and emotionally on the issue.
posted by markkraft at 7:55 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]




Oh, this isn't about the Bureau of Land Management at all...
posted by Naberius at 7:56 AM on August 18, 2015 [59 favorites]


Basically, whether you're a Sanders or Clinton supporter, this issue isn't going anywhere. As long as black people live in fear for their lives every day, this is a priority issue. Especially if you want their votes and their support. The best outcome right now is for Sanders and Clinton to step their game and think about how to help and change the systemic racism we have.
posted by Kitteh at 7:58 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I look forward to Clinton facing the same scrutiny and vitriol that people have directed at Sanders. I'm not seeing it yet.

I'll just read that as "on this particular issue", because otherwise...
posted by Etrigan at 7:59 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Did she actually answer the question?

Not if she's a good politician.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:59 AM on August 18, 2015


Black Lives Matter activists met with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after they were denied entry to a scheduled campaign event in Keene, New Hampshire, which they had planned to disrupt.

Whenever I've disrupted a political event, I've made sure to show up early (like, extremely early) to ensure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. Showing up late is a convenient way to avoid having to embarrass the candidate.
posted by univac at 8:04 AM on August 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


This would have been a lot better if it hadn't been less than 10 minutes and rushed along by HRC's security.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:07 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


[Couple of comments deleted. markkraft, you've made the post, please stop threadsitting.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:08 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I really don't understand why these kinds of questions can't be met with "Yes! Here's a list of things I'd like to start changing to lessen systemic racism!" Instead of this transparent waffling.

I mean, I DO understand, but it's gross and obvious that there's a lot wrapped up in maintaining the status quo and no one with any semblance of or realistic aspirations to power actually wants real change. And I despair. This makes me really cynical about the possibility of progress. PROGRESS, towards real equality. We give that concept such lip service, but it's all some weird act.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 8:08 AM on August 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Unacceptable.

We should demand more from this office. Also, what the fuck is with all the "sinner" talk wrapped through this waffling?
posted by odinsdream at 8:10 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's interesting that BLM's confrontation with Clinton was extremely -- almost suspiciously -- deferential.

She's wearing a magical cloak that gives here a +10 to her charisma rolls.
posted by Nevin at 8:11 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I don't buy "Bernie is being unfairly attacked" on this issue, at least. He has staked out a left-of-Clinton stance, and has been filling stadiums (largely with white people? I haven't seen stats on that, but his support from black people was low last I read) on the strength of a progressive message. BLM pushed him to justify that and to engage with race instead of just class. He lately shot himself in the foot after one of his staffers sent a very nice email to BLM, by going on TV and saying, nah, that was a staffer, not me. The implication being, he doesn't think he really needs to reach out and engage or apologize. No conspiracy required him to do that. Maybe the BLM activists were unprepared, or didn't have enough time, or were more favorable to Clinton, but I don't believe her campaign orchestrated anything.

I think a lot of older white liberals are having a really hard time with the whole idea of apologizing to black activists for anything whatsoever, or acknowledging that even liberals can be racist/act racist, and that is something they need to be pushed on.
posted by emjaybee at 8:12 AM on August 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


Can we ... start talking about who is funding this group?

One of the most interesting things about this is how some "progressives" are confused when the BLM folks don't follow the correct script (and what the correct strip is supposed to be depends on one's point of view) but the common denominator always seem to be "these people are being paid to do what they are doing."
posted by Nevin at 8:13 AM on August 18, 2015 [35 favorites]


> I mean, I DO understand, but it's gross and obvious that there's a lot wrapped up in maintaining the status quo and no one with any semblance of or realistic aspirations to power actually wants real change. And I despair. This makes me really cynical about the possibility of progress. PROGRESS, towards real equality. We give that concept such lip service, but it's all some weird act.

This is the epitome of "don't hate the player, hate the game." The system is expressly designed to compromise anyone who even approaches the levers of power. And the higher up the ladder you go...
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:17 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


The implication being, he doesn't think he really needs to reach out and engage or apologize.

Huh? He wasn't saying they didn't need to reach out - they've been reaching out all along and are continuing to do so, and in fact Deray is meeting with their campaign later this week. He was just saying that he didn't think he owed anyone any apologies over the protest, or at least that's what I got from watching the interview in context.
posted by dialetheia at 8:17 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


He was just saying that he didn't think he owed anyone any apologies over the protest, or at least that's what I got from watching the interview in context.

And the point that people are making is that he's sorely mistaken on that.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:19 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


A couple things bother me about some of the BLM activists. There seems to be a bit of starry-eyed idealism to these folks and I have always favoring the pragmatic. Second, foisting all the actions of Bill Clinton's administration on his wife is a little bit much. I'm no fan of Hillary but to lay all that on her shoulders is just ridiculous.

Yes, the white liberals need to be pushed, policies need to be advocated, blacks should be included in the process but for chissakes, disrupting campaign events on the one side that ultimately tries to do the right thing isn't helping matters. Every time I see those two women climbing on the stage to interrupt Bernie I think, "being idealist jerks isn't helping your cause".

I am now prepared to be eviscerated by the collective.
posted by Ber at 8:19 AM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


It is offensive to assume that there is a conspiracy based on some activists doing things you don't personally think they should be doing.

Not only is it personally insulting to these particular activists, it jibes with a long, long history of people assuming that black people can't think on their own and make decisions on their own and they must be the (infantilized) tools of someone whiter.

Black people are perfectly capable of being activists. Like most people, their thought processes do not completely mirror and track your own and they do not always come to the exact same conclusions about a given thing that you might.

On a more realpolitik note, I am a Sanders supporter and this conspiracy shit makes us look so so so bad. It makes us look like a bunch of racist self-absorbed jackasses who just can't believe that black people could possibly do anything on their own. Please stop, you are really not helping.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:20 AM on August 18, 2015 [90 favorites]


In the discussion that's emerging here about whether Bernie felt he "owed an apology" to black people or BLM, let's keep in mind that the word "owe" was inserted by the writer or editor and was not used by Bernie.

In fact, if you actually watch the clip, Bernie's response is quite strong in favor of ending institutional racism.
posted by univac at 8:22 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yes, the white liberals need to be pushed, policies need to be advocated, blacks should be included in the process but for chissakes, disrupting campaign events on the one side that ultimately tries to do the right thing isn't helping matters. Every time I see those two women climbing on the stage to interrupt Bernie I think, "being idealist jerks isn't helping your cause".

Wow, really? Because being quiet and polite has worked out really well for the black voter so far? When people talk about how being loud and disruptive doesn't work, they seem to forget a lot of history. It's disturbing that MLK is trotted out as some sort of passive black activist by white liberals when he was just as "let's make some noise" as the current movement.
posted by Kitteh at 8:23 AM on August 18, 2015 [32 favorites]


Ber,

I think you forgot the part where black people are being regularly executed in the streets. Whining about BLM being "too idealistic" and arguing about how their tone is wrong, or they're a little too rude is pretty damn offensive.
posted by odinsdream at 8:24 AM on August 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


One of the most interesting things about this is how some "progressives" are confused when the BLM folks don't follow the correct script (and what the correct strip is supposed to be depends on one's point of view) but the common denominator always seem to be "these people are being paid to do what they are doing."
posted by Nevin at 8:13 AM on August 18 [2 favorites +] [!]


But you see -- that's the thing: it does look like they're following a script. They disrupt and shut down Sanders rallies and, when given the opportunity to do the same to Clinton, they instead do a respectful and demure 15 minute interview in which Hillary lays out her non-plans for racial harmony.

On a more realpolitik note, I am a Sanders supporter and this conspiracy shit makes us look so so so bad. It makes us look like a bunch of racist self-absorbed jackasses who just can't believe that black people could possibly do anything on their own. Please stop, you are really not helping.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:20 AM on August 18 [+] [!]


Hillary is the one who just told a group of black activists what they should be doing, that they can't end racism on their own and that they need white leaders like her to control the masses, or whatever. The activists, instead of raising hell, just kinda nodded and agreed to disagree.

I'm trying to think of an explanation for this and I'm really coming up short.
posted by Avenger at 8:24 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wow, really? Because being quiet and polite has worked out really well for the black voter so far?

RIGHT? And so has sitting down, shutting up, and letting the democratic party take their votes for granted. To hell with that.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:25 AM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


Second, foisting all the actions of Bill Clinton's administration on his wife is a little bit much.

She wasn't just his wife -- she was a key policy adviser and agent in that administration. As noted in the NYMag article roomthreeseventeen linked:
The exchange centered on the 1994 Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act, the largest crime bill in history, which included $9.7 billion in funding for prisons. The First Lady helped lobby Congress to get the bill passed...
The vast majority of First Ladies shouldn't be held to task for the actions of their husband's administrations, but Hillary Clinton is near the top of the list of those who can be (with some combination of Eleanor Roosevelt and Edith Wilson).
posted by Etrigan at 8:26 AM on August 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


but the common denominator always seem to be "these people are being paid to do what they are doing."

Is it really so inappropriate to enquire about a political campaign's funding sources? That is what people would rightly do in any other context. You don't get a pass on this just because you call yourself an activist.

It's a straw man to take the leap from there to the conclusion that the inquiry is made out of malice, contempt, political disagreement, anti-blackness, presumption that the activists are part of a conspiracy or paid agents of an insidious cause, or whatever.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 8:27 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm trying to think of an explanation for this and I'm really coming up short.

A non-conspiracy explanation for what's going on in this video is that they are just baaaarely being permitted to be in her presence and capture some semblance of a response. Being overly cautious about how they ask questions and interact is a method to ensure she isn't removed right away by her staff.
posted by odinsdream at 8:28 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


When people say, "Why are they so angry and disruptive?", a good response would be, "They're getting shot and killed in the streets and white America doesn't seem to care, why aren't you angry too?"
posted by Kitteh at 8:28 AM on August 18, 2015 [34 favorites]


It is offensive to assume that there is a conspiracy based on some activists doing things you don't personally think they should be doing.

Personally, actually, I think they should be doing these protests - even against my candidate, Bernie Sanders. I think the NN15 protest improved him as a candidate. Also, I think that when you're addressing the unaccountable murder of black people by those in power, any avenue of expression is available to you. I think black people would be justified in being quite a bit more militant than they have been, actually.

Not only is it personally insulting to these particular activists, it jibes with a long, long history of people assuming that black people can't think on their own and make decisions on their own and they must be the (infantilized) tools of someone whiter.

Black people are perfectly capable of being activists. Like most people, their thought processes do not completely mirror and track your own and they do not always come to the exact same conclusions about a given thing that you might.


That's fair. I will think about that and maybe come up with better ways of thinking & talking about it.

On a more realpolitik note, I am a Sanders supporter and this conspiracy shit makes us look so so so bad. It makes us look like a bunch of racist self-absorbed jackasses who just can't believe that black people could possibly do anything on their own. Please stop, you are really not helping.

I generally agree with you, and have meticulously avoided it on, say, Twitter and Facebook, but somehow couldn't help myself in a venue where I have a modicum of semi-anonymity.
posted by univac at 8:30 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm a huge supporter of BLM, but they need better writers.

'America's first drug was black bodies...'

No. America's first drug was religious idealism.
posted by mrdaneri at 8:30 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm trying to think of an explanation for this and I'm really coming up short.

Beyond the obvious--that they were nervous and intimidated by the secret service or because they didn't expect to get time with her--perhaps they thought they'd get better media traction and better information by letting her talk, especially because to date she's generally avoided extemporaneous speaking?

I think they did a hell of a lot--her attitude here and her response to this relatively tame questioning is quite damning.

I mean, they got a sound byte of her saying "then I will talk only to white people". If I were her campaign, counting on a docile black vote for her, I'd be flipping the fuck out about this. If you're a republican PAC and you want to depress the black vote in the general election, just play that video clip on a loop the week before the election.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:31 AM on August 18, 2015 [18 favorites]


Oh, this isn't about the Bureau of Land Management at all...

nor is it the Human Rights Campaign. (Okay, it sort of is.)
posted by Foosnark at 8:32 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a huge supporter of BLM, but they need better writers.

'America's first drug was black bodies...'

No. America's first drug was religious idealism.


Winning at politics requires creating a compelling narrative that serves your cause, rather than parsing every sentence for 100% accuracy. In this case, they're doing that right.
posted by univac at 8:34 AM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


Is it really so inappropriate to enquire about a political campaign's funding sources? That is what people would rightly do in any other context. You don't get a pass on this just because you call yourself an activist.

You're taking it completely out of context. The context is usually "I, a white person, who might not have much or any activism experience at all, disagree with what these people are doing, therefore they must not be on my side".

The conclusion that is being drawn here is that if a white person disagrees with what a black person is doing on behalf of a particular cause, then the black person must be disingenuous (or that they are incompetent, but in this case we're talking specifically about assuming disingenuousness). The assumption that makes that conclusion work is that a well-meaning, intelligent, black person simply coming to a different conclusion about strategy is unlikely, and certainly less likely than a black person being disingenuous, immoral, paid-off, or otherwise corrupt.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:40 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


If you're a republican PAC and you want to depress the black vote in the general election, just play that video clip on a loop the week before the election.

What do we do when the difference between the two parties is effectively one party's nominee saying "The current level of black people being killed for being black is broadly acceptable" and the other party's platform boiling down to "No, no, clearly there's just no enough shooting black people going on. Also, let's strip their voting rights."

What now?
posted by kewb at 8:47 AM on August 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


The conclusion that is being drawn here is that if a white person disagrees with what a black person is doing on behalf of a particular cause, then the black person must be disingenuous (or that they are incompetent, but in this case we're talking specifically about assuming disingenuousness). The assumption that makes that conclusion work is that a well-meaning, intelligent, black person simply coming to a different conclusion about strategy is unlikely, and certainly less likely than a black person being disingenuous, immoral, paid-off, or otherwise corrupt.

Okay, let's put that on the whiteboard as one possible explanation for people asking about funding sources.

Now, let's brainstorm some others!

1. Actual suspicion because of the asymmetry of the protests
2. Individual focus on the issue of campaign funding
3. First thing that popped into head
4. Aliens

The sky's the limit here. Don't feel like your first assumption has to be the absolute unimpeachable truth.

Go!
posted by univac at 8:47 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was just pointing out to a lot of people, who may not have had the benefit of reading history, or an interest in racial interests, that quote, taken out of context, is going to close a lot of minds.

I would hide the razor in a lot more sugar, is what I'm saying. Especially if you want to hit moderate voters, who may or may not be particularly interested in this issue.
posted by mrdaneri at 8:50 AM on August 18, 2015


The conclusion that is being drawn here is that if a white person disagrees with what a black person is doing on behalf of a particular cause, then the black person must be disingenuous (or that they are incompetent, but in this case we're talking specifically about assuming disingenuousness). The assumption that makes that conclusion work is that a well-meaning, intelligent, black person simply coming to a different conclusion about strategy is unlikely, and certainly less likely than a black person being disingenuous, immoral, paid-off, or otherwise corrupt.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:40 AM on August 18 [+] [!]


For the record -- that's not where I'm coming from. I actually agree with the sentiment behind BLM: America and it's culture is built on white supremacy and anti-blackness.

The issue I have with BLM is that they only seem to vociferously demand respect in the presence of left-leaning political candidates, and when confronted with a right-centrist candidate like Clinton who openly defends white privilege while white-splaining to them that they're wrong -- they take a deferential, almost quietist stance.

If BLM wants to fuck shit up in a royal way, they should do it. I don't like people disrupting speeches, but if they're going to do it, they had better do it right and do it big. From where I'm standing, it looks more like they're fucking shit up for a few candidates but not others, which makes one wonder.
posted by Avenger at 8:50 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


With respect to the 1994 crime bill she lobbied for, she is asked an extended question including the phrases "What in your heart has changed? .... How do you actually feel that's different than you did before? What were your mistakes and how can those mistakes that you made be lessons for all of America or a moment of reflection for how we treat black people?"

Her answer seemed like a complete evasion: "I can only tell you that I feel very committed to and responsible for doing whatever I can. I have spent most of my adult life focused on kids through the Children's Defense Fund and other efforts to try to give *kids* particularly poor kids particularly black kids and hispanic kids the same chance to live up to their god-given potential as other kids."

I saw nothing in her answer that spoke to what she was asked. What did change in her heart? What mistakes does she acknowledge? Her answer conveys nothing of these points.
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 8:51 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Can we ... start talking about who is funding this group?

Really? Come on... Don't pull this "Soros funds BLM" bullshit.

Having a conversation with a politician one on one is different from a public gathering and disrupting it to get attention for ones cause (e.g. BLM Seattle, ACT UP, etc...)

Were they supposed to chant her down? I mean I'd love for substantive debate but 10 minutes with Hillary isn't going to produce that discussion, it can get the ball rolling and force her to address it.

I'm not impressed by her answers (or what I'm reading about her answers, at least, I admit I couldn't even listen to the typical privileged/defensive crap she was saying -- but they did and that's good, because we need people who can agitate and people who can push and get people to listen and act with respect when necessary).
posted by symbioid at 8:55 AM on August 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Does anyone commenting here actually know anyone from any chapter of Black Lives Matter? Because I do - peripherally, that is; I've met a couple of people and I've been to a number of Black Lives Matter events - and I find this whole "ooh, they are paid shills for Hilary" business pretty racist, actually. It's like people see a bunch of young activists and - in my opinion because they are Black - people assume that they are crafty and/or paid shills because of course Black activists can never be just peoplewho might have all kinds of mixed feelings about, for example, who is going to be the next president. Twice as good to get half as far, indeed.
posted by Frowner at 8:56 AM on August 18, 2015 [43 favorites]


I'm really surprised at the amount of criticism of Clinton's response here, which I thought was thoughtful, intelligent, helpful, and far more interesting than her scripted stump speeches.

No, she didn't answer the direct question (because what is the benefit of getting her to say "I was wrong to support the XYZ act"?), but she stated in no uncertain terms that she was with them ideologically, but wanted to know what the next step is.

It's like the Occupy Wall Street movement of a few years ago. They got a LOT of attention, and basically accomplished nothing. Because they didn't have a real, focused agenda of the changes that would solve the problems about which they were complaining.

Clinton was telling them that she wants to be able to say "I am with you... AND here's what we're going to do about it," and she was explicitly asking for their help in determining what that would be. What's wrong with that?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:00 AM on August 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


RIGHT? And so has sitting down, shutting up, and letting the democratic party take their votes for granted. To hell with that.

Why wouldn't they take the black vote for granted? The Democrats have a lock on the black vote whether the candidates pay lip service to BLM or not. This is all just primary pandering.
posted by MikeMc at 9:04 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The other thing is, okay, maybe they are being soft on Hilary. Another thing I know - again peripherally - is that locally there's some debate among Black activists about how Black Lives Matter and parallel projects should operate. There's people who are super-duper radical and people who are far left reformist - just like in any organization. I bet there's people like me who really pretty much hate Hilary but in their hearts are so fucking terrified of the right that they are tempted to go easy on her because the alternative is a nightmare. Or maybe they're like me and they have some vague respect for Sanders so they hold him to a higher standard - that's not the greatest tactic, IMO, but it's certainly something that I think people on the left feel.

Basically, everyone I've met or seen from Black Lives Matter and parallel projects locally has been doing a simply bang-up job under difficult circumstances. I have not always agreed with every step they've taken, but they're really shaking things up around here - especially on the left - in very, very good ways.

I feel like a lot of people just are not at all familiar with what a radical political project looks like from the inside, so people have these weird ideas, and it makes me mad because these are good people.
posted by Frowner at 9:04 AM on August 18, 2015 [20 favorites]


People routinely question who is funding political protest movements like the Tea Party, especially when they appear to be doing stuff that seems contrary to their own interests or tactically contrary to their stated goals. White people aren't the only ones who can have their (genuine) anger manipulated into serving someone else's political agenda.

I'm not sure I agree, though, that BLM are acting against their own interests. Primary season is pretty much the only opportunity for the party's base to demand that candidates don't take them for granted and actually address the issues they care about. The general election is probably going to depend more on base voter turnout than wooing the undecided swing vote. Hilary loses the election if she only talks to white people.
posted by straight at 9:05 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


It's also possible BLM was being "soft" on HRC after experiencing the backlash for how they acted at the Sanders rally.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:05 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


re: intersectional hate, Don't Read The Comments (vs. media journalism) and 'respectful discussion' (read below the comment box...)

Sanders: "O.K., Ana, I don't mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, O.K.? Do you have serious questions?"
posted by kliuless at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


She informs them that they need white people (like her) to fight on their behalf.

She's not wrong, though. When white people have all the power, it's incumbent upon white people to stop the abuses. The part she misstepped on was that it's not 'fight on their behalf,' it's 'tell me what you need done so I can use my privilege to end my privilege.'
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


I wish I could say that I was surprised at all of the criticism of BLM here, but I'm not. They are going to be criticized, scrutinized, and judged for literally every action they take. Which is honestly part of the whole damned problem to begin with! Black america has been told forever that they aren't doing things right, why wouldn't that be the case with their activism as well....

What many people fail to understand is that this is an honest-to-god civil rights struggle of the type that many of us are not old enough to have actually witnessed. What people think of their actions is really irrelevant in light of what results they bring - They have been and are being executed by the state, in the streets, and institutionalized racism and inequity is only getting worse across the board.

There are tons of SuperPACs and many moneyed and privileged players in the game right now, how the FUCK does it become BLM - who is neither of those things - that gets branded as the conspirators here? Because of all of their power over the candidates and pulling of the strings?

Re: tacking the GOP as well - They'd be detained just for showing up. Their constituency doesn't care. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose by showing up at one of their events, as opposed to at a Sanders or Clinton event. Sanders has already adapted and changed his campaign in direct response to this, and in a positive way. What do you think would actually happen if someone tried to pull this with, say, Trump? At this point, protests are better served dealing with the actual threats from those in power, like the erosion of the voting rights act. The GOP clown car? At this point in the game, NOTHING GOOD HAPPENS if BLM engages them, nothing whatsoever. More likely that someone like the police unions would get engaged and energized on the GOP side as a counter.

There's also a practical component to getting a political player aligned with the cause, which is engaging a voting base that is completely disenfranchised in every way. BLM intervention can only help out the party - how the players react to that is what ultimately will decide if it's a negative or a positive.

Black America needs to have people in power who actually acknowledge that systemic and institutionalized racism is a huge problem. Right now, they not only have a chance to affect how that can go in at the very top, but they can also make it a keystone political issue. And it's not enough to say "I have racial justice policies" - There needs to be explicit acknowledgement that there are problems TODAY from the political players. And it has the added bonus of bringing more visibility to the issues from the public at large, and ideally it will become a key issue with the smaller offices as well.

I'm glad that they are stirring things up, and forcing people to confront a very difficult topic. I'm also very sad at the latent racism that this is exposing - because they literally cannot do anything without being told they are doing it wrong, which only comes from a place of privilege - the privilege of not being subject to the same fears and challenges that they are.

> It's like the Occupy Wall Street movement of a few years ago.

No it isn't, but that comparison does do a good job of absolutely trivializing the cause.
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2015 [22 favorites]


The Democrats have a lock on the black vote whether the candidates pay lip service to BLM or not.

The Republicans used to have a lock on the black vote, too.
posted by Etrigan at 9:08 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Sanders: "O.K., Ana, I don't mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, O.K.? Do you have serious questions?"

For what it's worth, this is actually the only cromulent response to any question about hair, whether it's posed to a man or a woman.
posted by dialetheia at 9:10 AM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I agree with univac. I'm glad BLM is getting their voice heard, however the heck they do it. Bernie's policy statement certainly came out in semi-response.

I also think it's more productive for here on Metafilter to discuss how things should change on the part of the candidates, and our future national policy, than it is to discuss whether or not the people protesting are doing it right. People are protesting, and good, because the current system is fucked up. We all (here) know the current system is racist and fucked up. So, what can the candidates do to make it better? What policies should they propose, what campaign stance should they take, etc?

I'm not black, but if Hillary wants my vote (in primaries), then addressing this is pretty much required.
Any chance of her releasing a policy statement/campaign pillar/ etc? She ought to be telling all of us why her policies address this giant problem, and how.
posted by nat at 9:10 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


A Republican president isn't in the interests of the BLM people, so telling Bernie and Hilary what they need to do to earn their vote, even if they have to shout and interrupt to do so, is in all of their interests.
posted by straight at 9:11 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


> It's like the Occupy Wall Street movement of a few years ago.

No it isn't, but that comparison does do a good job of absolutely trivializing the cause.


MysticMCJ - I would honestly like to know your reasoning behind this statement. My comparison wasn't meant to be trivializing at all, but rather was pointing out the shortcomings of an activism movement without a clear and defined end game. And I'm making this point because I agree really strongly with both movements and would very much like them to succeed.

The point is that getting people to acknowledge that racism and white privilege really exist and are serious problems [or, in the case of Occupy, that economic inequality is a serious problem] is just the first step. We need a real plan for how to get it to stop being a problem anymore. Is that an invalid observation?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:13 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


My google-fu is weak this morning. Is this Hillary's first meeting with BLM activists? I do know she invoked "black lives matter" in July and I heard, somewhere, that she's met the BLM leaders before but I can't find/date that.
posted by Stynxno at 9:13 AM on August 18, 2015


"The fact that she didn't immediately cough up a lengthy list of all the relevant actionable policies she's planning to advocate for wrt these issues is pretty worrisome."

I think it was perfectly understandable for her not to do so, in part because it would be a laundry list, but specifically, because it would completely fail to engage on BLMs argument, which was primarily about the framing of history, and about Hillary's personal feelings regarding her role in that history.

It would also reinforce the argument that the BLM speaker made, saying that she was trying to tell black people what they needed to do, while not engaging personally and emotionally on the issue.


A wrap-up with relevant actionable policies would have sold her emotional engagement..

Relevant actionable issues:
1. Scaling back militarization of the police
2. Scaling back prison-industrial complex
3. Rehabilitation vs. Retribution
4. Ending failed drug war
5. Funding for sensitivity training/community engagement for police

C'mon Hillary!?!?
posted by Captain Chesapeake at 9:14 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Actually, what I bet is that a candidate who actually said yes, Black lives do matter and we need to address this - that person would gain. Hilary has a lock on white people, not Black people, because Black people are both materially and politically discouraged from voting at all in this country. We saw how voting ticked up when Obama was running, and that was obviously because there was a candidate who actually stood some chance in hell of doing something about racism and people decided that they'd go out and vote. Like, if a white candidate were smart, she'd try to get the Black Lives Matter vote, which would probably be pretty easy because honestly things are so shitty and racist that just "yes, we probably should not actually shoot people to death at a traffic stop and I will Take Steps if elected" would be a giant improvement.

It's white Democrats who are going to get out and vote for Hilary come hell or high water. I strongly suspect that Hilary could be pretty darn receptive to BLM and still not lose very many white votes, but she could actually gain some votes by people of color generally. I tend to think that Black Lives Matter has more power than a lot of folks think, because they just assume that kids interrupting will never get taken seriously.
posted by Frowner at 9:15 AM on August 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Relevant: #BlackLivesMatter Statement on Political Affiliations

Frowner's Does anyone commenting here actually know anyone from any chapter of Black Lives Matter? is a good point, so I'm going to reach out to someone today and try to sit down and talk about this stuff.

Stynxno: Is this Hillary's first meeting with BLM activists? I do know she invoked "black lives matter" in July

She responded to a question on Facebook from a journalist after having two days to watch the anti-Sanders campaign unfold and craft a response. Her carefully-worded-over-48-hours response did say "black lives matter," and was immediately reported on in a WaPo blog post with a decidedly pro-Clinton headline ("no hedge").
posted by univac at 9:19 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, this is actually the only cromulent response to any question about hair, whether it's posed to a man or a woman.

Except that it missed Cox's point, which was that there’s a double standard in how female candidates are treated in comparison to male candidates. Her question wasn't about hair directly, but whether it was fair that Clinton's appearance is considered relevant in a way his isn't.

And I think his response illustrates the issue people are having with him. Cox was making a serious point that deals with an issue relevant to a sizable portion of the electorate, and instead of directly addressing it, he dismisses and pivots. In the end, Cox does push him to answer, and he says it is wrong, but his maneuvering away makes you wonder how strong a voice on those issues he'll be.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:21 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Democrats have a lock on the black vote whether the candidates pay lip service to BLM or not.

The Republicans used to have a lock on the black vote, too.


I'm no expert but I don't see the pendulum swinging back the other way in 2016. I think BLM can have some influence on the Democratic primary but after the nomination is locked up the Democratic candidate will be the lesser of three evils and will get an overwhelming majority of the black vote no matter who they are.
posted by MikeMc at 9:23 AM on August 18, 2015


Except that it missed Cox's point, which was that there’s a double standard in how female candidates are treated in comparison to male candidates. Her question wasn't about hair directly, but whether it was fair that Clinton's appearance is considered relevant in a way his isn't.

Yes, but Sanders knows that and didn't fall for the trick.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Except that it missed Cox's point, which was that there’s a double standard in how female candidates are treated in comparison to male candidates. Her question wasn't about hair directly, but whether it was fair that Clinton's appearance is considered relevant in a way his isn't.

Yes, but Sanders knows that and didn't fall for the trick.


What trick, exactly? All he had to say was that assessing a female candidate on her appearance as opposed to her policy platform is wrong. Really, it's not that difficult. Furthermore, it would have shown that he would be a voice for women's interests.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:27 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Except that it missed Cox's point, which was that there’s a double standard in how female candidates are treated in comparison to male candidates. Her question wasn't about hair directly, but whether it was fair that Clinton's appearance is considered relevant in a way his isn't.

"Do you think it's fair that the media, of which I am a part and you are not, propagates this double standard?"
posted by Etrigan at 9:28 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


That was his point.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:28 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Except that it missed Cox's point, which was that there’s a double standard in how female candidates are treated in comparison to male candidates. Her question wasn't about hair directly, but whether it was fair that Clinton's appearance is considered relevant in a way his isn't.

The thing is, this isn't really even true, at least with respect to hair - basically every single news story about him mentions his "wild and crazy uncombed unkempt hair", which I assume is why he responded to the question like "oh great, another stupid fucking question about my hair".

Beyond that, as someone this issue actually affects (a woman who is super tired of women being constantly judged on their appearances), I don't think the solution is to ask male politicians dumb questions about hair or other peoples' hair, either.

Furthermore, it would have shown that he would be a voice for women's interests.

Bullshit. As a woman, I want him to be a "voice for women's interests" with his policies, not his pat answers to trivial questions.
posted by dialetheia at 9:29 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Here is the full transcript of the videos.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:31 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


What trick, exactly? All he had to say was that assessing a female candidate on her appearance as opposed to her policy platform is wrong.

"It’s also true that the media pays more attention to what female candidates look like than it does to what male candidates look like. That may be. That may be, and it’s absolutely wrong."

I'd have ideally liked to see him hit that "may be" a little stronger, too, but he did make the point.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:41 AM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Does anyone commenting here actually know anyone from any chapter of Black Lives Matter?

I know Mara and Marissa, the two activists who disrupted the Sanders speech in Seattle. They are the real deal and extremely legit, and watching the local and national white progressive response to their actions has made me realize just how valid and accurate all the Black criticisms of that segment of society really are. It's been nauseating, depressing, and eye-opening.
posted by KathrynT at 9:41 AM on August 18, 2015 [39 favorites]


I worked with a friend of the Clintons in law school. I always found Famously Charismatic Bill Clinton kind of. . .oily, smarmy and not genuine. But famously brittle and wonky Hilary Clinton seemed really genuinely interested in what we stupid law school clinic students were doing and believed that people with a goal, who could draft a plan that powerful people could implement, could make positive changes in the world.

There are things about Hilary the Candidate, Hilary the Senator, Hilary the Career Politician which conflict with the Absolute Principles that guide my own decision-making (or, you know, the Absolute Principles I Try Very Hard to Adhere To in Living a Life that I Believe Creates More Good than Evil), but on the whole I think her beliefs about what society should look like, how it should treat everyone, and what Government should do to help those in need are not bad. I would like to hear her own plan as to how she's going to do that (where "that"= "create more good than evil") because she has the knowledge and experience to craft sweeping policy changes that include massive legislation. I suppose it's early but I'd like to see HRC pick her goal and sell it.

I don't know much about the Black Lives Matter movement--what little I see from the local group seems still very focused on visibility and "awareness"--making sure people know the names of black people harmed by the police, making sure people are noticing the inequalities in our neighborhoods and schools. The specific goals seem less well-defined, beyond the call for firing of one Chicago Police officer (who should be fired--they are very right). They are very active and very organized.

But I don't know what they plan for their next step--the specific goal, the tangible outcome. Some legislation or some major policy change? I don't know what it should be (a ban on privatizing prisons? better training for police officers? housing policies that finally integrate communities? repealing the 2nd Amendment?) but I think it's a fair expectation of any major social/political/civil rights movement: that you have a meaningful mile post that you want to bring people across.

As noted above: America and its culture is built on white supremacy and anti-blackness. You can go through life and meet no white people who are actual hate-filled bigots, but they are all working in service of racist institutions; we are all steeped in the ways of white supremacy here. Opening eyes to that--creating cultural awareness and internalization of that truth--will carry us some distance, but I don't know that it will make change without specific goals and particular demands. I want to hear that from the Black Lives Matter movement as much as I do from the candidates.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:44 AM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


This is interesting. Several BLM activists discuss the "interruptions." And they don't all agree with one another.
posted by univac at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


QUESTION: But your—you and your family have been personally and politically responsible for policies that have caused Health and Human Services disasters in impoverished communities of color (inaudible) the domestic and international War on Drugs that you championed as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. And so I just want to know how you feel about your role in that violence and how you plan to reverse it?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, you know, I feel strongly, which is why I had this town hall today. And as the questions and comments from people illustrated, there’s a lot of concern that we need to rethink and redo what we did in response to a different set of problems.

And you know, in life, in politics, in government—you name it—you’ve got to constantly be asking yourself, “Is this working? Is this not?” and if it’s not, what do we do better? And that’s what I’m trying to do now on drugs, on mass incarceration, on police behavior and criminal justice reform. Because I do think that there was a different set of concerns back in the ‘80s and the early ‘90s. And now I believe that we have to look at the world as it is today and try and figure out what will work now. transcriptAnd that’s what I’m trying to figure out and that’s what I intend to do as president.

QUESTION: Yeah. And I would offer that it didn’t work then, either, and that those policies were actually extensions of white supremacist violence against communities of color. And so I just think I want to hear a little bit about that, about the fact that actually while—

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not sure—

QUESTION: —those policies were being enacted, they were ripping apart families and actually causing death.

Yeah, a bunch of softball questions like that aren't going to get anything done
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


The Civil rights act, Brown Vs Board of Education, Affirmative action, and all the dozens of other programs that one would hope would help. What else would she have us do?

Most of those things have been gutted. Affirmative Action meant that, all other things being equal, there would be preferential hiring/ admission for people in protected classes, specifically race, color, gender, handicapped status, and that efforts were made to recruit such candidates. Gone.

What else would she have us do?

Protect voting rights. Pay attention to race/ color discrimination in sentencing and police violence and poverty and hiring. Reconsider the realities of African-American experience, and address the persistent discrimination that Black people face in the US, and that many people decided to ignore, because President Obama.

Please feel free to add ways white people can address racism.
posted by theora55 at 9:53 AM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]



Okay, let's put that on the whiteboard as one possible explanation for people asking about funding sources.

Now, let's brainstorm some others!

1. Actual suspicion because of the asymmetry of the protests (suspicion heavily influenced by racism)
2. Individual focus on the issue of campaign funding (huh, sure)
3. First thing that popped into head (heavily influenced by racism)
4. Aliens (cool snark, bro)

The sky's the limit here. Don't feel like your first assumption has to be the absolute unimpeachable truth.

Go!


My comments in bold. In other words, if you don't think that shit like "the first thing that pops into someone's head" is influenced by racism, then lol. We're all steeped in racism from birth on. But I'm sure that it's really ridiculous and implausible that this political movement about race will bring out racist responses--it's as craaaazy as aliens!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:56 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


And they don't all agree with one another.

Yes, because Black people are not a monolith.
posted by KathrynT at 9:57 AM on August 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


serious suspicions that the attacks on Bernie Sanders might have been at least loosely coordinated with the Clinton campaign.
Let's not do this. Sanders has pledged to not be a spoiler. Clinton hasn't shown any affinity for dirty tricks. There' s no reason to do this.
posted by theora55 at 10:00 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


We’re spending more money on prisons than we are on schools, but if we look at it from lens of let’s solve this financial problem, and we don’t look at the greater bottom line that African-Americans who are Americans are suffering at greater rates than most other people, every other people, for the length of this country then it’s not going to go away. It’s just going to morph into something new and evolved. You know, I genuinely want to know, you, Hillary Clinton, have been in no uncertain way, partially responsible for this. More than most.
^^^^^^Obvious Hillary Plant. Wake up sheeple
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:01 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


^^^^^^Obvious Hillary Plant. Wake up sheeple
Hello! This was obviously carefully scripted to allay any suspicions that BLM might be working hand in hand with HRC's campaign. Well played Hillary, well played.
posted by MikeMc at 10:11 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


> > He was just saying that he didn't think he owed anyone any apologies over the protest, or at least that's what I got from watching the interview in context.

> And the point that people are making is that he's sorely mistaken on that.

In order to "make" that point, you'd need to give an argument as to why Sen. Sanders needs to apologize to the protesters for standing out of their way and politely letting them speak...?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:11 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


On the plus side, all this handwringing from concern-trolling white liberals about Bernie and BLM's tactics is great exposure for both. Since this all started, Bernie has surged into the lead in New Hampshire and the horserace news cycle that would normally ignore BLM completely can't shut up about it.

Tactically, this seems to have worked out perfectly for both of them. I think I see the real conspiracy happening here.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:12 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Tactically, this seems to have worked out perfectly for both of them.

Totally agreed! My favorite take on the whole thing was Jay Smooth's video where he basically makes exactly that point as a supporter of both Sanders and BLM - that this situation is a win-win for everyone involved as long as Sanders supporters don't ruin it by acting entitled and racist.
posted by dialetheia at 10:21 AM on August 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


Except that it missed Cox's point, which was that there’s a double standard in how female candidates are treated in comparison to male candidates. Her question wasn't about hair directly, but whether it was fair that Clinton's appearance is considered relevant in a way his isn't.

Not that I don't think there's sexism in reporting, but if you're suggesting Clinton is the candidate who's had the most press/jokes about their hair, I think you're mistaken.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:22 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Haha, the various iterations of "I think BLM is an important cause but they're going about it the wrong way" in this thread are hilarious. So far, we've heard that they need to...

"stop disrupting things"
"be less idealistic"
"get better writers"

Such wonderful allies.
posted by dry white toast at 10:25 AM on August 18, 2015 [17 favorites]


I just watched this and I'm fucking livid at her bullshit right now. She managed to take a pointed criticism of her, dodge it completely, and blame BLM for not having an actionable agenda. Maybe the representatives couldn't articulate it - or more likely, Clinton's handlers wouldn't let them, with their constant cutting in to say they had no time left - but BLM has concrete action goals. Hillary is the one who DOESN'T. Maybe if they were able to sit down and have an hour-long discussion, many of the movement's goals would be articulated. But all they had was this rushed meeting in which Hillary weaselled out of her and her family taking part in the structure of the private prison system, and then lectured them for their failures. Her "respectfully, you're a bunch of kids who don't understand how real change happens" thing is fucking bullshit, and should be called out as such. It's like if MLK went to Lyndon Johnson and was met with a short condescending lecture about how they need to organize better and have real goals before being rushed out of the room because LBJ needed to gladhand with some supporters.

FUCK. I'm angry.
posted by naju at 10:31 AM on August 18, 2015 [19 favorites]


Meanwhile, Private Prison Lobbyists Are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton. Where do you think her real sympathies lie, I wonder? It's clear she's good at manipulating conversations like this. She doesn't plan to do anything at all to effect real change, and instead she's deflecting it back to the BLM people who don't have any real power or influence on the political stage.
posted by naju at 10:35 AM on August 18, 2015 [14 favorites]


Protip: When you find yourself starting a sentence with "Respectfully" or "With all due respect", don't continue that sentence. No one heard or read that and thought, "Well, she said 'Respectfully,' so I guess I'm not actually offended about her saying she's only going to talk to white people."

The thing is, she was actually planning to go with "I'm not racist, but...". This was the improved version!
posted by theorique at 10:36 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


"stop disrupting things"
"be less idealistic"
"get better writers"

Such wonderful allies.


Please place my quote in context, at least. It's trivial to extract a quote from its context to ridicule anyone or anything. Which I believe, was a point that I made.
posted by mrdaneri at 10:48 AM on August 18, 2015


> MysticMCJ - I would honestly like to know your reasoning behind this statement

I could say much, but I'll try to distill it into what I see as the problem.

BLM was initially in response to people being executed by the state - While there are other aspects of institutionalized racism that they are addressing, all of this goes well beyond class inequity. As long as it is being seen as "just another class struggle," the message is being completely lost.

It was really easy to be part of OWS in heart, because the overwhelming majority of us aren't millionaires. BLM isn't something that as many people can feel like they are "part" of - which is why I think there are attempts to co-opt it into more generalized inequity... As a general rule, people don't like seeing themselves as being on the "other" side of a movement.

BLM is being dismissed in ways that OWS never was - and I think that's incredibly telling to just how pervasive racism is. I don't think it comes from a place of malice, but I do think it comes from a place of ignorance and unawareness - an ignorance and unawareness that comes from being on the privileged side of the struggle. A privilege that many are unwilling to acknowledge, because it's uncomfortable.

Comparing BLM to OWS trivializes the cause because it's trying to turn very specific issues of racism into a more generalized struggle, and it misses the specifics that actually define the very problem that BLM confronts.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:51 AM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Please feel free to add ways white people can address racism.

Call it the fuck out when we see it, and don't let people dodge.

And don't dodge when we get called out.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:52 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


BLM is being dismissed in ways that OWS never was

Yeah, this is not true at all. People were calling OWS terrible things from day 1.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:52 AM on August 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


If you want a different perspective, you should ask someone actually involved with BLM at a high level what differentiates them from OWS. They will likely be able to give a much better response than I will.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:53 AM on August 18, 2015


Every time I hear someone say that BLM needs to be more civil and respectful I remember what Frederick Douglas said on the subject:
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
Our society, due to deeply rooted white supremacy, views black people being murdered by the police and the police getting away with it, as civil, orderly, and not really worth getting worked up over. But when black people disrupt a white politician's event that is a horrible breach in propriety and civility that must be stopped at once.

How dare anyone say that BLM is uncivil? You want to talk civility, start with the way the pigs act around black people. Then, after that's not merely discussed but fixed, we can discuss black people being slightly more assertive and vocal than the white political establishment finds comfortable.
posted by sotonohito at 10:53 AM on August 18, 2015 [31 favorites]


Haha, the various iterations of "I think BLM is an important cause but they're going about it the wrong way" in this thread are hilarious. So far, we've heard that they need to...

"stop disrupting things"
"be less idealistic"
"get better writers"

Such wonderful allies.


That doesn't make any sense at all. As allies who firmly believe in the movement, we should want them to get better at what they do in order to be a more successful movement and bring about the change they seek. You may disagree with the specific constructive criticism, but the criticism itself doesn't prevent anyone from being an ally.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 10:54 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


As allies who firmly believe in the movement,

If you firmly believe in the movement, then you will trust them to get their message across in a way that they see advantageous, and not the other way around.
posted by Kitteh at 10:58 AM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


As allies who firmly believe in the movement, we should want them to get better at what they do in order to be a more successful movement and bring about the change they seek.

Concern trolling is a thing.
posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


As long as it is being seen as "just another class struggle," the message is being completely lost.

I've never seen that be the point of comparison with OWS though, at least personally - the comparison is almost always about leaderless movements. There is some squishiness there though because BLM can refer to both the leaderless movement and the organization with chapters, depending on the context.
posted by dialetheia at 10:59 AM on August 18, 2015


Comparing BLM to OWS trivializes the cause because it's trying to turn very specific issues of racism into a more generalized struggle, and it misses the specifics that actually define the very problem that BLM confronts.

I don't disagree with any of your reasons for why BLM and OWS are different. Certainly, OWS was an easier movement to gain traction because of sheer numbers (99% and all that), and BLM is dealing with serious deep-seated racism which most people won't even acknowledge they have. So, that's all granted.

Nonetheless, I still think it's a valid comparison to say that they are both large, leaderless movements (that's not a criticism - I mean that there's no one person who is running the show) for which the public sentiment appeared/appears to be more about awareness than concrete solutions. This is not to say that there aren't members of both movements with concrete solutions, but it hasn't seemed to be the focus.

So this is why I'm not bothered by Clinton saying to these BLM reps, "Help me to develop legislation and real solutions to this problem."
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:01 AM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Every time I hear someone say that BLM needs to be more civil and respectful I remember what Frederick Douglas said on the subject:

I think it was Deray McKesson who said on Twitter, roughly: MLK was civil. MLK was polite. And the motherfuckers shot him in the face anyway.

Fuck civil. Fuck polite. Equality never comes from saying "oh pretty please, kind sir, would you perhaps give some of your weighty thought to the idea of treating us less like garbage? Thank you ever so much."

As allies who firmly believe in the movement, we should want them to get better at what they do in order to be a more successful movement and bring about the change they seek.

1) See above
2) Oppressed populations get to dictate the terms of their quest for equality--up to and including revolution. As allies, we don't get to say "hey you're doing it wrong" because what we are actually saying there is "I have lots of privilege that you don't, let me tell you how to do things right so you don't upset my privilege." As allies, what we get to say is "how do I use my privilege to help you? What would you like me to do?"

We can also move forward using our own tactics--as long as they are aimed at exactly the same goal, and are informed by what the oppressed people are saying they want--and work within the system to change things. We cannot say "you're doing it wrong." Queer rights (to the extent that they have come about; trans people are being left far behind and that is a major damn problem) haven't come about because we asked nicely. They were catalyzed by, to quote the ever-wonderful sonascope, a drag queen curled her lip in defiance and said "the fuck you will." Civil rights didn't come about because everyone was polite, they came about because enormous masses of people were rude and didn't go to the back of the bus, or sit at a different counter, or stay at work instead of marching on Washington.

Polite and civil and ur doin it wrong are yet more ways that privileged white society dictates the terms of the discourse for people of colour. It is how we say "you can have equality as long as you behave the way we tell you to, oh wait psych you can't have equality anyway. Go play nice now." It's a steaming pile of horseshit.

tldr politeness doesn't make change happen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:04 AM on August 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


> Yeah, this is not true at all. People were calling OWS terrible things from day 1.

I do not dispute that, but that does not mean that the way BLM is being dismissed is the same. Certainly, OWS was dismissed as "wackos" and "anarchists." That basically happens with any form of protest.

The way BLM is being dismissed falls into a couple of general categories, as far as I can tell... There's the obvious "we've already had this struggle, what more do you want?" group that is completely blind to the issue, but there's also a "This goes beyond race" distortion that many of the progressive groups have latched on to, possibly in order to turn a concern that isn't theirs into one that is beneficial to them. Many people outside are telling BLM how they should act and what they should fight for -- then they don't understand why they aren't wanted as an ally, and ebd up turning on the group themselves and start criticizing them, telling them how to do things.

OWS had its struggles with being a leaderless group, but it wasn't subject to nearly as many people on the outside trying to tell them how to do things - It was more of an internal struggle with people who considered themselves part of the movement. The majority of the criticism and telling BLM how to do things is not coming from inside - and it's actually doing a great job of proving many of their points.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:05 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


MLK was civil. MLK was polite.

There are many instances where MLK was neither of these.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:05 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you firmly believe in the movement, then you will trust them to get their message across in a way that they see advantageous, and not the other way around.

Don't you think they're having these kinds of conversations internally? So what's wrong with having them externally?

Concern trolling is a thing.

So is name-calling.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:06 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


A couple things bother me about some of the BLM activists. There seems to be a bit of starry-eyed idealism to these folks and I have always favoring the pragmatic.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

Think they have good ideas but are going about it wrong? Start your own pragmatic movement. Come up with pragmatic messages and start doing what you think they should be doing under your own hashtag.


They disrupt and shut down Sanders rallies and, when given the opportunity to do the same to Clinton, they instead do a respectful and demure 15 minute interview in which Hillary lays out her non-plans for racial harmony.

One has the Secret Service. One does not. Can we stop with the freaking conspiracy theories already?

Especially ones which imply that #BlackLivesMatter isn't the completely organic, completely integral movement it is, primarily run by black women. #BlackLivesMatter is about a year old. They have their own agenda, and it is not the agenda of white progressives and liberals. That doesn't mean it's "wrong". It means it's different. Listen for a bit, engage, and you might learn something.


It's like the Occupy Wall Street movement of a few years ago. They got a LOT of attention, and basically accomplished nothing.

Except for buying up millions in Housing Debt and forgiving it and raising issues about employment to the forefront so that people started talking about raising the minimum wage. Occupy did a lot, just not legislatively. They didn't get any notice for the good things they did, which is pretty much par for the course.
posted by Deoridhe at 11:09 AM on August 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


tldr politeness doesn't make change happen.

Opinions vary.
posted by mrdaneri at 11:11 AM on August 18, 2015


"I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

[Letter from a Birmingham Jail]
posted by Deoridhe at 11:13 AM on August 18, 2015 [25 favorites]


MLK was civil. MLK was polite.

There are many instances where MLK was neither of these.


I think you're missing the point.

Don't you think they're having these kinds of conversations internally? So what's wrong with having them externally?

Because unless you are a person of colour, you are part of the racist system. So am I. Being an effective ally means listening to the people you are allied with and doing what they want done. Anything else is telling them that they get equality on your terms, not theirs.

Concern trolling is a thing.

So is name-calling.


Do you know what concern trolling is? Nobody called you names. Etrigan pointed out that there is this thing, called concern trolling, and that thing is what you were doing.

#BlackLivesMatter is about a year old. They have their own agenda, and it is not the agenda of white progressives and liberals.

(emphasis mine). Yes. Exactly. That's a better way to say it: when it's not your agenda, you don't get to dictate its composition. Equality for all is a societal agenda, yes, and the actual composition of that agenda is up to the people who are actually oppressed.

tldr politeness doesn't make change happen.

Opinions vary.


Nonviolence != polite and/or civil. Gandhi's actions weren't polite. They weren't civil. They were entirely counter to the social order of the day.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:14 AM on August 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


So what's wrong with having them externally?

Nothing is wrong with having them externally as long as you recognize that the core of the movement is actual concern about being shot to death and no one giving a damn. It has nothing to do with you being upset that they aren't making their point in a way you find comfortable. You shouldn't find it comfortable. None of us should. We should be actively uncomfortable that the people gunning for the top job in the U.S. are being called out as to what they will do to help fix the centuries of systemic racism black people still suffer under. It is not on you, a white progressive to fix their message. The way their message sounds to this white liberal progressive sounds just fine to me.
posted by Kitteh at 11:14 AM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


We're all steeped in racism from birth on. But I'm sure that it's really ridiculous and implausible that this political movement about race will bring out racist responses--it's as craaaazy as aliens!

Two things can simultaneously be true:

1) Some people can have critiques of BLM that are motivated by racism
2) Other people can have critiques of BLM that are not motivated by racism

I don't have access to a magical racism divining rod, so I have no idea whether someone asking who is funding BLM -- especially behind a pseudonym on the Internet -- is a racist or not, absent any other evidence. But imagining that #2 doesn't exist and that everyone who has a critique of BLM is a racist is just such weak sauce. Not the least because there are plenty of disagreements and critiques within and without BLM by other black people (see my links in the previous BLM thread). There are serious questions of strategy and tactics here and I don't think it serves anyone to duck those by painting concerns about BLM as prima facie unreasonable.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:15 AM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


There are serious questions of strategy and tactics here

What gives a white person (because most of the critiques are coming from white people) the right to tell people of colour that they're fighting against their own oppression wrong?

Do men have the right to tell women how to attain equality? No.
Do straight-cis people have the right to tell gender and sexual minorities how to attain equality? No.
Do white people have the right to tell people of colour how to attain equality? No.

Nothing has worked. Men of colour are being shot dead in the streets by a majority white police bloc at an ever-increasing rate and nobody cares. Getting any serious airtime, getting the issue in front of your Presidential candidates, that is a success.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:20 AM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


I know Mara and Marissa, the two activists who disrupted the Sanders speech in Seattle. They are the real deal and extremely legit, and watching the local and national white progressive response to their actions has made me realize just how valid and accurate all the Black criticisms of that segment of society really are. It's been nauseating, depressing, and eye-opening.

Marissa Janae Johnson Speaks. It is worth thirty-two minutes of your time.
posted by catchingsignals at 11:20 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oppressed populations get to dictate the terms of their quest for equality--up to and including revolution.

That could get rather messy very quickly, especially given the 87% of the population that isn't black and may or may not be interested in a revolution. Once you're talking about a revolution, that involves everybody else. Some of whom are trained in firearms and military tactics. Many of whom aren't interested in a BLM-spearheaded revolution.

(This is a separate question from whether such a revolution is justified, or a good idea.)
posted by theorique at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't have access to a magical racism divining rod, so I have no idea whether someone asking who is funding BLM -- especially behind a pseudonym on the Internet -- is a racist or not, absent any other evidence

Forget about motivations and look at effects.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2015


Black people are not a monolith

Some days, I totally wish we were though, so we could turn Jupiter into a second sun and blow this popsicle stand.

If nothing else, there would be an incredibly delicious irony in claiming a place called Europa as our own and telling everyone else from Earth to stay the hell away from it. :-D

Back on topic, if BLM seemed a bit more subdued in their interaction with Clinton, I think it's for all the reasons others have noted, and I also wonder if it's because there's very much a performative aspect to activism: you need to do it in front of a crowd -- even a hostile crowd -- to really get into your role. A "command performance" in a small chamber is a different thing altogether....

That said, I wish I were surprised by the concern about BLM's tone, but this kind of attack from the left is par for the course by now.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


I would just throw out there, that every human heart experiences oppression in some way.

You don't know who has been in jail, who's lost what or whom to AIDS, who might have had PoC lover, or a best friend or anything like that.

I would suggest operating from a position that all people know suffering, and most good people want to limit it, so maybe listening and learning is useful, regardless of the source... well, who knows?
posted by mrdaneri at 11:26 AM on August 18, 2015


MLK was civil. MLK was polite. And the motherfuckers shot him in the face anyway.

Makes it sound like MLK was some lonely, forgotten man that was silenced by a nefarious government, and if only he had been more violent in his approach, he'd still be alive.

MLK succeeded in his efforts to pass the Civil Rights Act and then spent the next four years as perhaps the most visible presence in the country for civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. He was a regular guest at the White House during this time. He was killed by a career criminal that had spent most of the preceding 20 years in jail and had escaped from a state penitentiary more than a year prior to the event. When he was captured in the UK, he was immediately extradited to Tennessee at the direction of Tennessee governor Buford Ellington, who had played a back-channel role in the Selma-to-Montgomery marches as a go-between with President Johnson and Alabama governor George Wallace. The killer was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

MLK was a great American. He was killed by a psycho, and then his political allies did justice to his memory.

So let's please leave off the wishes and dreams where MLK would've been better off as a bomb-throwing anarchist.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]




Let me say that I'm very much in favor of "getting in people's faces with your message" - even if you come off as annoying, hostile, or what-have-you. People have a right to be angry, and getting your anger out there will get the message across.

> Because unless you are a person of colour, you are part of the racist system. So am I. Being an effective ally means listening to the people you are allied with and doing what they want done.

I'm far to the left by US standards, but that agenda still doesn't come off as particularly appealing. Why should I even show up for that?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:31 AM on August 18, 2015


Concern trolling is a thing.

So is name-calling.


And here we see again the cry of the Inconvenienced Privilege-Holder:
"Well, sure, I farted, but that doesn't mean I'm a Farter. I'm emphatically a Non-Farter who just happened to fart one time."
posted by Etrigan at 11:33 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would just throw out there, that every human heart experiences oppression in some way.

Yes, and the oppression someone gets for being a person of colour is not the same as oppression for being a gender or sexual minority is not the same as oppression for being a woman is not the same as you get the point.

The source matters. I am not a person of colour. Therefore I do not truly understand--despite being gay and having that load of rocks to carry around--what it is like to be an oppressed person of colour. Therefore I do not get to tell oppressed people of colour how to manage their rise out of oppression.

And more to the point, the people in power are overwhelmingly white, male, cisgendered, heterosexual, and wealthy. What 'oppression' have they suffered, precisely? How many times do they get arrested just for driving a car? How many times are they shot walking down the street? How often are they told they can't visit their loved ones in the hospital?

They're not oppressed. And along two axes--white, cis--nor am I. That's what privilege is, and that's why it's so gross for privileged people to tell the unprivileged how to ask nice for equality.

So let's please leave off the wishes and dreams where MLK would've been better off as a bomb-throwing anarchist.

I have no such wishes and dreams, didn't say I had any, didn't hint at it, so please don't put words in my mouth. Perhaps you need this explained to you more carefully. MLK was civil and polite to the racists, and a racist shot him in the face anyway.

> Because unless you are a person of colour, you are part of the racist system. So am I. Being an effective ally means listening to the people you are allied with and doing what they want done.

I'm far to the left by US standards, but that agenda still doesn't come off as particularly appealing. Why should I even show up for that?


Because it's the right thing to do. Assuming you're not a person of colour, showing up to support people of colour isn't about you. It's about them, and it's the very essence of privilege to ask why you shouldn't show up if, golly, they expect you to listen to them and respect their agency about how they want to seek equality.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think the struggle for civil rights touches almost everyone and it is most definitely best framed as about us.

In reality, of course, I am prescriptive to no one about anything, unless very specifically asked.
posted by mrdaneri at 11:42 AM on August 18, 2015


It's also worth noting the Overton Window effect. Get in faces, interrupt speeches, get to the point where even talking about #blacklivesmatter is a daily thing. Gotta push things there hard and fast so the inevitably slow work of legislation and changing society even has a chance.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:42 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the struggle for civil rights touches almost everyone and it is most definitely best framed as about us.

do we even have to explain why #alllivesmatter is a major problem? it's barely even 101-level stuff.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:43 AM on August 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


This is so crazy to see for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that the guy who starts asking the questions is Julius Jones, a pretty good friend of mine and one of the first people I met when I moved to Worcester.
posted by rollbiz at 11:44 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well I just hope the end result here is HRC stepping up her civil rights platform, and not white liberals high-fiving themselves for taking down one of their own.
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:44 AM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think it was OWS that caused "income inequality" and "the 1%" to become part of the political lexicon. I think they pushed acceptable mainstream policy positions to the left economically.
posted by persona au gratin at 11:45 AM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not to me. I think we're yelling in violent agreement here.
posted by mrdaneri at 11:49 AM on August 18, 2015




I think the struggle for civil rights touches almost everyone and it is most definitely best framed as about us.

But unsurprisingly, a lot of folks don't feel especially optimistic about their struggle being subsumed into some greater "us" that almost always seems to mean that everyone else's needs get met way before Black folks' needs.

It is incredibly, astoundingly presumptuous for white people to walk into the conversation that Black folks are having right now and assume that everyone should know we're on the same page somehow, or that we're on their side automatically, or that it's obvious that this should be about "us". None of that is the case. If white people were on the same page in this civil rights struggle that supposedly concerns "us", then we would join the movement and work with BLM to achieve their goals rather than ignoring them or centering our own political goals.
posted by dialetheia at 11:50 AM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Do men have the right to tell women how to attain equality? No.
Do straight-cis people have the right to tell gender and sexual minorities how to attain equality? No.
Do white people have the right to tell people of colour how to attain equality? No.


Empath's comment from another thread is relevent:

Nobody gets to decide for everyone. I do get to have an opinion.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 11:59 AM on August 18, 2015


Not all opinions are of equal value.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:01 PM on August 18, 2015


I merely wanted to be a counterweight against calls to violent action, in this particular discussion, among genderless, sexless, raceless lines on a screen.

Perhaps I am an agent of the Totalitarian Police State, advancing my own racist hegemony. Perhaps I'm just a guy who's already seen way too much blood, which is red, for everybody.
posted by mrdaneri at 12:03 PM on August 18, 2015


Where are the calls for violent action in this discussion?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:04 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


(slight exaggeration)
posted by mrdaneri at 12:04 PM on August 18, 2015


I mean, in a sense the civil rights struggle is "about us", in that almost every racial justice initiative would also benefit working class white people. And I think that's a valuable thing for white people to understand, since so many of us do have a racist narrative that civil rights is a zero-sum game. But I think we've got to understand that we get to that stuff through civil rights, not get to civil rights through broader social justice initiatives. We know from past history that when movements don't start with civil rights, the benefits tend to flow mostly to white people.

There's the bigger point that BLM makes, too, that racism is what has structured everything in this country from the get-go, because this country was built on racial distinctions between Native and European and between black and white. Economic inequality is structured by racism - white working people get bought off by access to Native land and access to exploited workers of color; whiteness itself is a gradient that explains who it's okay to exploit (so at different points it's been okay to exploit/despite "less white" white people, for instance). White working people get a "psychological wage" as well as a material wage. At the same time, racism is used as a justification for mass inequality - inequality may also affect white working class people, but we can't have nice things because that would mean sharing them with people of color.

It's because of our particular history that we can't get to justice without starting at anti-racism. We can't start at some generic version of "justice" and hope to unpick all the deep structures of racism.
posted by Frowner at 12:06 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Where is there anything even hinting at advocating violence in this discussion? The closest is my statement that " Oppressed populations get to dictate the terms of their quest for equality--up to and including revolution," which is true; after a certain point asking nice just doesn't work anymore. That is a call for those of us who are part of the racist system to start listening.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:06 PM on August 18, 2015


Being in the weirdly unique position of knowing two of the three BLM people in this video, and knowing one of them really well (and having organized with that person on this very issue), I would just say to some of the comments above about there being some sort of vast conspiracy in terms of how the Sanders rally was handled vs. the Clinton rally, there's really nothing there. In addition to this video being the result of Plan A for that rally falling through, these are not the same people who had anything to do with interrupting a rally 3,000 miles away. I'd be shocked if they've met the people who did that, or have even spoken to them.
posted by rollbiz at 12:07 PM on August 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


Seeing violence as only slightly removed from the righteous anger actually in evidence here seems pretty close to the old racist trope that, really, the blacks don't just want equality, they want to be in charge. You see a threat, but it doesn't really look so bad, so you demonize it. If you can't get taken seriously, at least you can shift the Overton window.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:10 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Not all opinions are of equal value.

True, but everyone decides for themselves which opinions have value and if so what that value is. So, while that sentiment sounds great on a bumper sticker or coffee mug but it has little meaning in the day to day world.
posted by MikeMc at 12:12 PM on August 18, 2015


Seeing violence as adjacent to the anger is also a racist argument for the movement to be pushed down lest those animals lose what little control they have. This is why the police are always the ones to instigate violence at protests: to reify this prejudice.
posted by rhizome at 12:23 PM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Empath's comment from another thread is relevent:

Nobody gets to decide for everyone. I do get to have an opinion.


Except that if you're white, cis, wealthy, male, and/or heterosexual, you have the privilege of your opinion carrying an automatic weight that many others lack. White straight cis men have been able to 'decide for everyone' for a long time in this country. It's a call to be responsible with that privilege and use it to make room for marginalized voices-- and often that means being silent and letting those voices speak.
posted by sonmi at 12:27 PM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Where are the calls for violent action in this discussion?

You know, from those people, the ones who are always so... rude... and ... oh surely they want to do something violent. Like ask not to be murdered in the streets, or something. Surely.
posted by odinsdream at 12:36 PM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Insofar as I have a right to say what I think black people should do about terrorism against them, I also have a responsibility not to talk over them.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:37 PM on August 18, 2015


There is empirical evidence that we have have a very strong bias towards arresting, imprisoning, and executing blacks in the US. The solution to that problem isn't to say "well, everyone needs equal rights and justice" because that's not the actual problem. It actually buries and misdirects away from the actual problem to do this.

This goes beyond pure economic injustice, it goes beyond legislature - it's institutional and cultural, and anything that avoids acknowledging the specific problem for some supposed greater cause is basically saying that these voices - these lives and deaths - don't matter because there are bigger problems, and is really brushing aside the concerns of a group that already has to fight an unbelievably hard battle to get their voice heard at all.

Being able to discard an entire groups voice that you are not part of because you think that they are misguided, or thinking that you can decide how the discussion should go better than they can is probably one of the strongest examples of privilege I could ever conceive of. It is critical to realize that if you are attempting to talk for a group you are not part of, and you are changing their voice and message to be something other than it originally was, you are silencing them.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:38 PM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


The tone arguments here are gross and disappointing, as are the conspiracy theories. BLM activists are not attack dogs working on your behalf to sink your less-preferred candidate, they are a coalition of people (not all of whom know each other or even agree 100% of the time!! Shocking, I know!!!) who have coalesced around a life or death issue - institutional racism, including police violence.

You don't like it? Interrupt your own rally for your own reason and see how easy it is.
posted by sallybrown at 12:41 PM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


John Cole:
So how do you tell people who are working three minimum wage jobs, trying to raise a family, living paycheck to paycheck to be patient, we just made a little progress with Wall Street Regulation and the CFTC, and Seattle just raised it’s minimum wage. How do you tell a terrorized African-American population, a group that daily watches the police execute one of their own in the streets for not having a front license plate or for walking in the wrong place or looking nervous or suspicious or wearing a hoodie to be patient and to focus on the state and local level? I honestly don’t know. I don’t know how you tell people things are getting better when they clearly aren’t or at the very least sure don’t feel like it.

So we’re back at the beginning. How do you harness the energy of movements like BLM and make actual, tangible, immediate things happen? And how do you stop people from yelling at each other when they are basically on the same side to focus the rage where it belongs- into real plans of action? If you know, you’re smarter than me. And, apparently, the Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley campaigns.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:43 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Interrupt your own rally for your own reason and see how easy it is.

I think the people who are objecting (and I am not one of those people, necessarily) are doing so because they believe it was inherently wrong to interrupt the rally at all.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:44 PM on August 18, 2015


> I think the people who are objecting (..) are doing so because they believe it was inherently wrong to interrupt the rally at all.

I know you said that wasn't you, so please do not take it personally when I say this... but:

For any given rally, no matter what it is for, anyone who thinks that it is inherently wrong to interrupt it in any way is, by definition, a fascist.
posted by MysticMCJ at 12:48 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


For any given rally, no matter what it is for, anyone who thinks that it is inherently wrong to interrupt it in any way is, by definition, a fascist.

Maybe the word isn't wrong. I think people thought it was damaging.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:50 PM on August 18, 2015


I think the people who are objecting (and I am not one of those people, necessarily) are doing so because they believe it was inherently wrong to interrupt the rally at all.

If that really is true, it's even more depressing than I thought. If the out and out deaths of unarmed people of color at the hands of the state isn't a reason to get a little demonstrative , I really don't know what is.

"The aliens are on their way to bomb our planet to shards and kill our child"---
"Shhhh, a candidate for political office is speaking."

Reminds me of the cross-looking mimosa drinkers who got pissed off about the Black Brunch demonstrations. But then who wants to hear about someone's preadolescent getting murdered by police when you could be eating a waffle!
posted by sallybrown at 12:51 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


How do you harness the energy of movements like BLM and make actual, tangible, immediate things happen?

Why does he assume that energy needs his harnessing in the first place?
posted by sallybrown at 12:53 PM on August 18, 2015


I think people thought it was damaging.

To the degree it was damaging, it was only to a manufactured image which literally has only privilege to stand up for. Think about it: what's the big deal? Hillary is having a pre-pre-pre-primary rally more than a year before the elections (which is already too early for campaigning, IMO), and the somber occasion was marked by opinions from the rabble?

Fainting couch, STAT.
posted by rhizome at 12:57 PM on August 18, 2015


I'm not Cole, sallybrown, but I know he mentors a fraternity with several African American kids in it, and he's scared for them. I don't think he's saying "how can we calm this down" as much as "how can this make my boys safer".
posted by Ambient Echo at 12:59 PM on August 18, 2015


If you've read down to me, that's pretty awesome.

I've been thinking a lot about the tendency to dismiss the ideas, experiences, and wishes of minorities in the majority. A friend of mine is an incredibly brave woman who posted a big article online about sexism in the tech sector, and many people who discussed it questioned her motives, her reliability as a witness, who was backing her, whether her experience was valid. I've seen that again and again when women try to talk about sexism in tech.

Now I see people suggesting that BLM is merely a democratic political tool, and suggesting that their funding should be looked into.

There is no proof or evidence of a conspiracy. I think suggesting external motivation is a way to ignore the issue. It's just a convenient excuse to not engage with the substantial issues that BLM is trying to address. It shows a lack of trust of ordinary Americans, because yes, BLM activists are ordinary Americans.

I trust that when black people talk about racism, they have experiences that I am privileged not to have, just the same as when women in tech or gaming talk about sexism. Just as I hope, as a queer person, people believe me when I talk about homophobia.

BLM was started because real people of color in real communities throughout the US were being killed, maimed, abused, shot, etc by white law enforcement, some of whom who have been caught lying about it, like that video of Walter Scott in SC being shot while running away. Unarmed people with dark skin die or are brutalized, and yet armed mass murderers are captured alive and unharmed, if they are white.

I am not part of the movement, just a supporter, but it's hard to figure out how to make that change. I am never going to tell black people that anything they do that's legal is the wrong way to go about things, because I don't know the right way. Frankly, going where the campaign reporters are seems like a damn smart move, because nobody in the media would have cared if they protested and there wasn't a famous person involved. Conflict get's coverage.

I'll be damned if I try to tie the hands of people fighting for justice just because something or someone I like is disrupted. Being shot dead in the street is pretty damn disruptive too.
posted by gryftir at 1:00 PM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


[Comment removed, escalating this with "what about this really extreme hypothetical, though?" stuff is not going to improve the discussion.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:01 PM on August 18, 2015


Why does he assume that energy needs his harnessing in the first place?

Did you read the full post or just my pull-quote? I interpret that line, in the full context of the piece, as meaning that he wants to see a net social good come out of the movement, and not see the effort squandered the way that many feel that Occupy was.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:01 PM on August 18, 2015


One difference between BLM and Occupy is that BLM is addressing a feeling, founded in a stack of similar factual events, that death at the hands of the police is merely one roll of the dice away. (This has been hammered home especially hard by the deaths of Sandra Bland and Christian Taylor, both of whom commented on the movement on social media.) I refuse to cast doubt on the passion of OWS activists because I know they are staunchly committed people, but there is no stronger motivation than the fear that you or a loved one could be killed.

I did read Cole's post and found that line telling because it expresses a sentiment that keeps coming across to me in the way that people who are not of color are critiquing the high profile people of color leading the current charge on structural racism - the assumption that this won't effect any lasting change. Meanwhile look at the difference in one measly year in media coverage of police shootings of people of color! Look at the difference in non-POC opinions about whether racial injustice still happens! If BLM (in combination with the Ferguson protestors, who don't always identify with BLM) isn't being effective or isn't effectively harnessing their own energy...what would that look like? I think (very sincerely, not trying to poke anybody) that it is our instinct, after growing up in this very structurally racist society, to think a movement that lacks a white face way out in front is somehow less legitimate, less serious, less organized, less effective.
posted by sallybrown at 1:16 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Damn, I wish this thread had happened a week ago, when I was writing a final paper for my mass media class on just exactly how well the media set their agenda in reporting on the BLM/Sanders rally interruption. Everyone going on about how the BLM people need to be doing it better... y'all bought right into the media's agenda. Good job.
posted by palomar at 1:17 PM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Has power ever been give up?
I can't think of a time where it has been let go, only taken away.
So how do the powerless take power from the powerful?
Why would white people really, truly give up on white supremacy?

BLM will eventually be attacked in the same way OWS was.
Brutally, relentlessly and in whatever way is most effective.
posted by fullerine at 1:20 PM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Meanwhile, Private Prison Lobbyists Are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton"

Well, if you mean that a couple of the people from the largest lobbying firm in the country are raising $$ for her, and have clients up the wazoo... the question arises: which one of their hundreds of clients are buying the influence there?

Or, for example, Capitol Councel, who was also cited... sure, a prison contractor used them to lobby, to the tune of $60K... but so did the Pew Charitable Trusts and Planned Parenthood, to significantly greater degree.

The issue here isn't really about those particular lobbyists having an agenda. If they have one, it would be a schizophrenic mess of conflicting influences. Rather, it's about those lobbyists having access, even if it's just to those who advise her.

SuperPACs, however, are usually more of a direct ethical problem. All the candidates have them, including Bernie Sanders, who has Collective Actions PAC, run by his former campaign coordinator.

All the politicians play games so that the left hand can deny knowing what the right hand is doing, but they all do it. And they all defend doing so because they all do it.
posted by markkraft at 1:21 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I refuse to cast doubt on the passion of OWS activists because I know they are staunchly committed people, but there is no stronger motivation than the fear that you or a loved one could be killed.

Right, and Cole expresses an almost identical sentiment in the following passage:
Economic inequality lack the urgent life or death reality that face the BLM crowd, as their lives really are at risk for just doing what white people like me do every day and don’t think twice about it. Things like driving to the grocery store, or walking down the street, or going to the pool, or, well, basically anything seems to be excuse enough to shoot a black person these days. So there is an urgency that separates the two movements.
the assumption that this won't effect any lasting change

I read it not as an assumption, but as a concern that just because the immediacy of the threat is greater than with Occupy doesn't mean they'll be more successful. They still need the politicians to listen to them and work on their behalf, they still need the media to portray them accurately and not let the message get drowned out by concern trolling over tactics, tone, etc. If you read it differently that's fine, though.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:31 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


markkraft, you draw no distinction between PACs and superPACs?
posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 1:31 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guarantee Clinton is spending money every day on people trying to figure out how to get more African Americans to turn out and vote for her. I'd think she or Sanders would be glad when some of them show to tell her.
posted by straight at 1:32 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clinton was telling them that she wants to be able to say "I am with you... AND here's what we're going to do about it," and she was explicitly asking for their help in determining what that would be. What's wrong with that?

You mean besides a white person making black people work for her for free? I mean, it's not like she has any expertise in the topic at hand, she's just a good ol' gal tryin' ta make her way against those fat cats in Washington!

How do you harness the energy of movements like BLM and make actual, tangible, immediate things happen?

Yeah, this is quite backwards, even if I interpret the "you" conservatively. It's my job to figure out how I can harness my energy for them. This is related to what I ridicule HRC doing above.
posted by rhizome at 1:35 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was glad to read just now that Clinton seems to be doing well on trans issues and health care.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:38 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bree Newsome for president.
posted by boo_radley at 1:46 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I found nothing wrong or offensive with Clinton's comments. Basically she is telling them to be solutions oriented but BLM wants closure and wants to know how she is personally responsible for inequality. IMO you have to be solutions oriented not closure seeking (especially from a politician).
posted by gadget_gal at 1:47 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I’m a young, black female, and I may not vote in this presidential election: In the American political landscape, my ideology is best packaged as leftist, and my vote is seemingly guaranteed.

But I’m also an organizer with Black Lives Matter NYC, and such an affiliation is causing more upset within the electoral establishment than excitement, enthusiasm, or certainty.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think people thought it was damaging.

What do "people" think it damaged?
posted by KathrynT at 2:00 PM on August 18, 2015


What do "people" think it damaged?

I have no idea. I guess people thinks it makes the Democrats look bad. But I'm not sure what they are comparing that to.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:02 PM on August 18, 2015


IMO you have to be solutions oriented not closure seeking (especially from a politician).

Even when you're talking to somebody who lobbied for and supported many of the racist policies that increased that inequality? It seems perfectly fair to ask what has changed for her such that she would suddenly see things differently (besides the political climate).
posted by dialetheia at 2:04 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I found nothing wrong or offensive with Clinton's comments. Basically she is telling them to be solutions oriented but BLM wants closure and wants to know how she is personally responsible for inequality. IMO you have to be solutions oriented not closure seeking (especially from a politician).

But they weren't asking her for advice. They were asking her to take responsibility for her part in promoting policies that disproportionately harm black people, and to state specifically what has changed about her attitude that will keep her from enacting further harmful policies in the future. "Well, you need to change what you're doing" is not at all a response to someone asking you to take responsibility for something you've done.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:08 PM on August 18, 2015 [13 favorites]


"Solutions oriented" is doublespeak for "I don't want to learn about you, or understand your context, since it is more convenient if everyone did things according to the rules of my existing conceptualized sphere of power".

This is not to criticize your word choice but rather to point out a way in which people of privilege tend to operate intellectually.
posted by polymodus at 2:19 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


They were asking her to take responsibility for her part in promoting policies that disproportionately harm black people,

I'd be amazed if they could get the frank admission of culpability they want from any politician at that level. I can't imagine a pol saying "I've done bad things to black people in the past but I've changed, please vote for me."
posted by MikeMc at 2:22 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I can't imagine a pol saying "I've done bad things to black people in the past but I've changed, please vote for me."

She's highly vulnerable to being painted into exactly that corner.
posted by rhizome at 2:31 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I should add that politicians at this level are operating at the highest levels of the science of evading blame and have a large highly-paid staff capable of engineering her response to these aspects of her history. Likely they already know they'll have to at some point. The longer they can draw the process out, the more data they can gather on what the criticisms, reactions, and rebuttals are, and can finely tune that response and release it at an opportune time.
posted by rhizome at 2:36 PM on August 18, 2015


As Chris Rock put it, racism isn't a black issue, it's a white one. Anything that puts the BLM movement in front of white people is all right with me.
posted by waitingtoderail at 2:43 PM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


IMO you have to be solutions oriented not closure seeking (especially from a politician).

Even when you're talking to somebody who lobbied for and supported many of the racist policies that increased that inequality? It seems perfectly fair to ask what has changed for her such that she would suddenly see things differently (besides the political climate).


Maybe this is all getting confused in the back and forth late into a thread, but the idea that anyone should prioritize the things a politician says about their feelings above what they say about their commitments about things they'll do is kind of mind-boggling to me. Particularly when it comes to oppression. How someone feels about ongoing oppression strikes me as about as useful as the inevitable statements of regret and sorrow we get from police higher-ups whenever cops get caught on video. Yes, you are very sorry, we all know.

Asking a pol like HRC to take ownership like that over offering up concrete goals seems like just a lose-lose for everyone. Taking a firm stance that these systems are corrupt and racist alienates blocks she needs to get elected. You can go find my comment in the old Sanders thread linking to the Vox article about how telling people that the criminal justice system is racist makes people like it better. What does taking that hit accomplish for actually creating change?

I don't think BLM has any obligation to do things to help dem politicians and it's their movement, not mine. But "perfectly fair" doesn't seem like a good way to judge the way one pushes against a politician. The stakes are human lives. Isn't changing the world such that more black lives are saved more important than nice words? Perhaps I am just too cynical about politicians and the sausage-making to see a candidate taking ownership of feelings as meaning they're going to actually do one single thing to change things just because of those feelings.
posted by phearlez at 2:45 PM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


To be more specific - the last HRC statement I heard about her stance on the death penalty was that she was "unenthusiastically supporting" it. When the pellets hit the pail I could not give less of a fuck whether the person who let the execution go forward did so with or without enthusiasm. Anyone who can utter that line as if it fucking matters... I wouldn't view them as committing to change just because you get them to acknowledge racist aspects of past endeavors.
posted by phearlez at 2:49 PM on August 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


Just going to leave this here for any white folks in this thread who want to be a better ally:


29 Stupid Things White People Do and What We Can Do Instead
posted by subtle_squid at 3:00 PM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


Maybe this is all getting confused in the back and forth late into a thread, but the idea that anyone should prioritize the things a politician says about their feelings above what they say about their commitments about things they'll do is kind of mind-boggling to me.

She's not doing either so this seems like sort of a strange dichotomy. She's trying to set it up like they're doing this (prioritizing feelings over policy) when in reality, I'm sure they'd be happy to see concrete policy suggestions. They are also just implying that a change of heart from her would be necessary in order to make these policy suggestions credible, because her record has been so poor.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:01 PM on August 18, 2015


Like, imagine someone strongly supports a ton of policies that are anti-pedestrian, and you go to them and ask them why we should have faith in their willingness to enact pro-pedestrian policies now, given their history of supporting blatantly anti-pedestrian laws. That's not you saying that you actively disapprove of pro-pedestrian policies. It's you saying that you think that there's something deeper going on that makes that person not credible when it comes to pro-pedestrian rights. You also want to hold them accountable for their previous anti-pedestrian policies.

I don't think there is a good answer for Hillary because I don't think she's credible on these kinds of policy issues, and there was no time at which she had a change of heart that would lead her to be credible on these kinds of policy issues despite her history.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:07 PM on August 18, 2015 [8 favorites]


And I think it matters that she would say so. She knows what she did, we know what she did, everybody knows, it's in the Congressional fucking Record, but her saying it out loud now matters, it makes a difference and gives BLM issues social currency. I saw a blog post expounding on this idea recently, but damned if I can find it now.
posted by rhizome at 3:08 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hilary has a lock on white people, not Black people... It's white Democrats who are going to get out and vote for Hilary come hell or high water.

Well, a large portion of whites will vote for her, but Bernie's the one with the lily-white educated liberal base. Hillary supporters are much more racially, economically, and politically diverse, and so is the Democratic party.

" ... non-white Democratic voters give Hillary Clinton a net favorable rating of 77 points. Sanders’ net rating is just 19 points. Some of that is a function of Sanders lower name ID, but 23 percent of non-white voters view Sanders negatively – and only 9 percent view Clinton that way."

"A June CNN/ORC poll showed just 2% of black Democrats supporting Sanders, a figure that has remained unchanged since February. Among non-white voters overall, Sanders polls at 9% compared to Hillary Clinton's 61%." That was before Netroots Nation.

#BlackLivesMatter More Than the Hurt Feelings of White Progressives™
Do white liberals have a Bernie Sanders problem?
Can Bernie Sanders win black voters?
posted by caryatid at 3:09 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maybe this is all getting confused in the back and forth late into a thread, but the idea that anyone should prioritize the things a politician says about their feelings above what they say about their commitments about things they'll do is kind of mind-boggling to me.

It's not about how she feels though, really - it's about trust. Fundamentally they are asking why people should trust her now when she says she wants to scale back the racist policies she herself lobbied for, absent any reflection on the harm those policies did or accounting for her change of heart.
posted by dialetheia at 3:12 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Clinton was telling them that she wants to be able to say "I am with you... AND here's what we're going to do about it," and she was explicitly asking for their help in determining what that would be. What's wrong with that?

You mean besides a white person making black people work for her for free?


Right, so if she says "Here's what you need to do," she gets demonized for being patronizing, for trying to tell black people how to fight for justice.

If she says, "Tell me what we can work toward together," she's making black people work for free. There is no way she can win.

What would you have her say?I am genuinely curious about this.
posted by caryatid at 3:22 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is no way she can win.

Right, because some sort of combo of the two (coming up with some ideas for change AND asking for BLM's input on those ideas) is impossible.

Come on.
posted by palomar at 3:25 PM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


What would you have her say?I am genuinely curious about this.

How about "Here's what I'm going to do"?
posted by KathrynT at 3:28 PM on August 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


There is no way she can win.

"We've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas."

Three guesses as to who stands-in for law enforcement in that scenario.
posted by rhizome at 3:33 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not about how she feels though, really - it's about trust. Fundamentally they are asking why people should trust her now when she says she wants to scale back the racist policies she herself lobbied for, absent any reflection on the harm those policies did or accounting for her change of heart.

Huh. I'm not the best informed about the movement, but my impression was that the point was to raise energy to force politicians to engage with these issues, not try to figure out which politicians want to do so. I mean, does anyone think that LBJ's pushing through of his signature civil rights legislation was the result of some vast change of heart on his part? Popular pressure pushed him and the rest of the Democratic Party towards engagement with an issue that they were desperately trying to avoid (because they knew it would split the party, among other things).

I doubt Clinton has or will have a "change of heart," nor is one necessary - again, LBJ spent most of his political career prior to his Vice Presidency actively pushing the Dixiecrat line. What is necessary is sufficient maintained political pressure over time to make changes at the legislative and executive level a done deal.
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:34 PM on August 18, 2015


Not necessarily a criticism of BLM, whose tactics thus far seem geared to that sort of energy raising anyway. I was just surprised that the personalized, "can we trust you?" thing came up.
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:43 PM on August 18, 2015


I'm not the best informed about the movement, but my impression was that the point was to raise energy to force politicians to engage with these issues, not try to figure out which politicians want to do so.

That may be true with respect to the movement, but it is not true with respect to who you vote for as President. Nobody wants to vote for somebody who claims to support their movement but has a record that says exactly the opposite. With trust in politicians at an all-time low, people want to elect people they can trust to do the things they say they will do - that seems pretty unremarkable to me. A person's record matters.

What would you have her say?I am genuinely curious about this.

Clinton doesn't even have a criminal justice reform or racial injustice platform, so "what can she do?" is pretty easy to answer: she should put together a platform saying what she thinks needs to change, at least, if not how she intends to get there. Relying on her name recognition in the Black community will not suffice.

After Netroots, O'Malley put out a platform within the next week (though he is facing similar criticism for having an extremely poor record on these issues when he was in office). When Sanders was interrupted in Seattle, he put out a platform the very next day - with no time to focus-group it or run it past a thousand advisers. I sincerely would have thought that she would have a platform by now, especially since she had the benefit of seeing her opponents' platforms first.
posted by dialetheia at 3:50 PM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


You can only trust a politician to the degree that they put their career at risk, so for HRC to go to bat against her own policies is to allow her opponents to use that as a weapon against her. At that moment, you can trust that a politician is standing up for something in a meaningful way.
posted by rhizome at 3:52 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I sincerely would have thought that she would have a platform by now, especially since she had the benefit of seeing her opponents' platforms first.

I doubt she intends to adopt a platform along those lines. Based on what I've seen today, I'm expecting her to adopt a safe, moderate stance on these issues. She's not looking to alienate those members of her base who see BLM as radical rabble-rousers. She can get by without supporting BLM, or supporting them only in the most abstract ways. But if she loses the vast majority of whites who don't understand BLM and don't like BLM, then she's in trouble. If she doesn't bring in the moderate voters, she's in trouble. She's a politican through and through. She will go where the votes are.

It should be obvious that nothing will result from this meeting. I'll eat my hat if she comes out with a comprehensive platform that actually takes any bold actionable measures.

As a starting point, how hard would it have been for her to say "we should really talk further on this once we've both had some time to think - let's set a date for a closed, private meeting, no cameras, just ideas. My campaign manager will get in touch with you sometime this week to work out the scheduling."

Of course, that didn't happen. She's had her meeting with BLM, this was it.
posted by naju at 3:59 PM on August 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


i want to repeat a couple of links from dialetheia's recent comment because they helped me understand what people are looking for:

platforms from bernie sanders and martin o'malley

(and i'd like to know what people would think happened if hillary clinton said something similar. presumably this opens her up to being "soft on crime" etc etc. and presumably she / her team are doing the maths on if it's "worth it" in votes. is that calculation close enough, for example, that a BLM campaign to boycott the election if she doesn't do something could be significant?)
posted by andrewcooke at 4:13 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


[Several comments deleted. I get that people have polarized views here, but it's not helpful to describe other people's views as stupid or deranged; just disagree with them, that's fine.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:18 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clinton doesn't even have a criminal justice reform or racial injustice platform

Clinton focuses on race, inequality (April, 2015)

"Hillary Clinton on Wednesday linked the justice system’s treatment of racial minorities to the broader debate about inequality, signaling a new possible focus for her unfolding presidential campaign.

Speaking at Columbia University in New York, Clinton used her first major policy address as a presidential candidate to argue that there is something “profoundly wrong” with a system in which blacks are more likely than whites to be imprisoned or stopped by police.

She then called for Washington to reduce inequality, not only in the justice system but in the economic opportunities afforded to all people in the U.S.

“There is something wrong when a third of all black men face the prospect of prison in their adult lifetime,” she said."
posted by caryatid at 4:21 PM on August 18, 2015


That's a speech, not a platform.
posted by dialetheia at 4:21 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sorry, posted too soon: The Hillary 2016 Platform, Part 1: Criminal Justice Reform
posted by caryatid at 4:24 PM on August 18, 2015


And that's a DailyKos diary, not an official campaign document.

Even though Sanders had already spoken a lot about many of the issues that are in his platform, there was still a ton of pressure on Sanders to put together a coherent platform about these issues. He has since done that; his platform has been pretty well-received, and he's even going to be meeting with Deray later this week to improve on it. O'Malley put together a fantastic platform even though he is literally the guy they based Carcetti on in The Wire. For Clinton to not even bother putting together a real policy document on the subject at this point is just not going to go over well.
posted by dialetheia at 4:32 PM on August 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think the issue is not "having black people work for free" so much as it is that she really seemed to need their help. Which shows how out of whack her priorities are. Yes, the "[cause] work for free" argument is usually a dumb one in the general case, because it presumes a level of knowledge.

But, in this case, the idea that someone as put-together as HRC doesn't have a plan at all -- that it's somehow more important to have a plan for marriage equality stated clearly on her webpage than for out of control police killing dark skinned citizens on the streets is very, very telling. The only nod you get is "A balanced criminal justice system" on (https://www.hillaryclinton.com/the-four-fights/strengthening-americas-families/). Not inspiring.
posted by smidgen at 4:35 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


M...maybe she has it but she's keeping it secret!
posted by shakespeherian at 4:36 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I heard she was going to write it after her next round of bundler parties. Funny how those people never have to make their desires known publicly.
posted by rhizome at 4:38 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


that it's somehow more important to have a plan for marriage equality stated clearly on her webpage than for out of control police killing dark skinned citizens on the streets is very, very telling

And considering she was firmly against gay marriage for over a decade until she finally came out in support of it in 2013, followed by her taking an "I've always been championing this cause" approach all over social media, I assume she'll do the same with these issues.

"I've always been the very first to support Black Lives Matter and advocate for all of these policies!" -future Hillary quote, once the tide of public opinion changes
posted by naju at 4:43 PM on August 18, 2015 [10 favorites]


"Clinton doesn't even have a criminal justice reform or racial injustice platform"

"Relevant actionable issues:
1. Scaling back militarization of the police
2. Scaling back prison-industrial complex
3. Rehabilitation vs. Retribution
4. Ending failed drug war
5. Funding for sensitivity training/community engagement for police

C'mon Hillary!?!?"


After looking around for a few, it appears that many of these things are mentioned on her site.

A balanced criminal justice system

The recent tragedies in Ferguson, Baltimore, and North Charleston demonstrate the need to
reform our criminal justice system and restore balance to our communities. The inequities that persist undermine our shared vision for what America can be and should be.

One out of every 28 children now has a parent in prison. We will work to
end mass incarceration while keeping our communities safe.

The bonds of trust and respect between police officers and the citizens they protect are eroding. We will listen to law enforcement leaders and
work with communities to prevent crime, rather than measuring success just by the number of arrests or convictions.

Our communities need change that can be felt in our streets. We will ensure that federal funds for state and local law enforcement are used to
bolster best practices, rather than to buy weapons of war that have no place on our streets. And we will make sure every police department in the country has body cameras to record interactions on patrol.

Prevent drug abuse

This quiet epidemic of drug addiction must be more widely understood by parents, educators, and young people. We must ensure that everyone understands that prescription drugs can be addictive and a gateway to other drugs. We must also
give young people opportunities to pursue education, good jobs, and a future that does not need to be dulled or muted by the use of substances.

Expand effective treatment

Deaths from drug overdoses now outnumber traffic fatalities as the number one leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Yet, too many people who are addicted to prescription drugs, opiates, or other substances have no access to
effective substance abuse treatment programs. We must work to ensure that everyone has access to these programs.

It sounds to me that her policies regarding drugs are consistent with the evolving position that Obama has had on the matter.

"On recreational [use], you know, states are the laboratories of democracy. We have at least two states that are experimenting with that right now. I want to wait and see what the evidence is." - Hillary, last year

To me, this sounds a lot like how the argument for gay marriage evolved, politically. Wait and see, and let the states increasingly take action until a national consensus forms, before supporting it fully at the national level. Realistically, though? I think most Democratic politicians view legalization to be simply a matter of time.

The question is what would legalization look like? My suspicion is that she would like it to be something kind of like the Portuguese system, as supported by her advocacy for increased substance treatment programs. From a government standpoint, you want those programs in place before greenlighting legalization, so that you have suitable mechanisms in place to deal with it. I think she would prefer having mechanisms like these in any federal program for legalizing drugs, in order to decrease the total usage of drugs nationwide, as well as to provide some cover to attacks on the legalization program as a whole.
posted by markkraft at 5:00 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


"On a more realpolitik note, I am a Sanders supporter and this conspiracy shit makes us look so so so bad. It makes us look like a bunch of racist self-absorbed jackasses who just can't believe that black people could possibly do anything on their own. Please stop, you are really not helping."

Thank You! My thoughts on this exactly.
posted by stagewhisper at 5:05 PM on August 18, 2015


Right, so if she says "Here's what you need to do," she gets demonized for being patronizing, for trying to tell black people how to fight for justice.

If she says, "Tell me what we can work toward together," she's making black people work for free. There is no way she can win.

What would you have her say?I am genuinely curious about this.


"After I (a human person able to use computers and read stuff) and my staffers (some of whom are black) did a lot of research into institutional racism and police violence, here is my well-formulated, serious, chock-full-of-concrete-ideas list of steps I will take to address the problem, using the giant as hell platform I have, and drawing upon the fact that in the past I've supported a lot of wrongheaded policies that harmed the black community for no discernible positive purpose. If elected President, I'm going to add to that list tenfold by also doing X, Y, and Z. I would love to hear any feedback or criticism you have and will make as much time as necessary, because this is important to me. Either way, I am going to keep working on this, thinking on this, and paying talented people (including black people, even black women people) to join me in that work. This is a priority for me, and my use of time and money will prove that. Oh, and most importantly, black lives matter and I'm going to say that in public and in front of microphones as much as possible."
posted by sallybrown at 5:21 PM on August 18, 2015 [21 favorites]


^^^ YES
posted by naju at 5:23 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


(In other words, Hillary saying "I think you should do X" or "Tell me what to do" BOTH = "You do work." Hillary needs to say "This is the work I plan to do and because I respect you as a movement, a voice of personal experience, and a human being, I am open and receptive to your thoughts on that but am not demanding any work from you." It's really...not that hard, so long as you assume black people are not the only people responsible for fixing racism.)
posted by sallybrown at 5:29 PM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


And the actual policies you're going to enact to address racism, Hillary?
posted by latkes at 6:17 PM on August 18, 2015


Hilary's response really shows how entrenched in DC she is. This is how legislation gets made. None of them write the bills themselves. They might set the policy direction, but the nuts and bolts are all done by others. I've literally seen stuff written by my trade association introduced ver batim as law. So it makes sense to me that her response is basically "Ok, give me something to look at and I'll decide."
posted by snickerdoodle at 6:23 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


I get the tone arguments, probably because I'm a white male and they tend to be the first thing that jumps to my lips, even after all this time.

But you don't ask politely for someone to stop shooting your children.
posted by Mooski at 6:31 PM on August 18, 2015 [9 favorites]


"After I (a human person able to use computers and read stuff) and my staffers (some of whom are black) did a lot of research into institutional racism and police violence, here is my well-formulated, serious, chock-full-of-concrete-ideas list of steps I will take to address the problem, using the giant as hell platform I have, and drawing upon the fact that in the past I've supported a lot of wrongheaded policies that harmed the black community for no discernible positive purpose. If elected President, I'm going to add to that list tenfold by also doing X, Y, and Z. I would love to hear any feedback or criticism you have and will make as much time as necessary, because this is important to me. Either way, I am going to keep working on this, thinking on this, and paying talented people (including black people, even black women people) to join me in that work. This is a priority for me, and my use of time and money will prove that. Oh, and most importantly, black lives matter and I'm going to say that in public and in front of microphones as much as possible."

And, additionally, this has been a major issue in the general public consciousness for the last year, minimum (yes, it's always been a major issue, but I'm talking about in a way that has actually managed to catch the attention of pretty much the entire country, including those who have the privilege to not have ever really needed to think about it), so there's no way Hillary doesn't know the issues at play or understand what solutions are needed. I mean, I guess there's a chance that that may be the case, but I think it's highly unlikely in her case. It is much, much more likely that she's not taking a stronger stance because her campaign thinks it could hurt her more than it could help her.

IIRC, Obama did pretty much the same thing on gay marriage - that is, he was against it until public opinion turned, and then he was all for it. I never believed that Obama was against gay marriage in his heart of hearts, but I do think that candidates who have a good chance of winning take the strategy of playing it safe. I don't agree with it, and I agree with what Frowner said upthread that Hillary could obviously gain a lot of votes from POC by showing her strong support for BLM. I'm not as convinced that she wouldn't lose a lot of white votes in the process, especially since I think that BLM, in the minds of a lot of people, stands in direct opposition to the police. And I think that opposition to the police/military is still viewed as deeply unpatriotic by huge swaths of people.

Add in the deeply unconscious racism that is so ingrained in our country that just getting people to see VERY BASIC THINGS such as the fact that we're not living in a post-racial society because Obama, seems like such a fucking massive undertaking when it's only a tiny tip of the iceberg.

Take the challenge of getting just a basic general acknowledgement that racism is still a thing and add to that the implicit suggestion that aligning oneself with BLM is unpatriotic because you're not supporting Our Men in Blue - well that's an uphill fucking battle, to say the least. And I think that the Hillary campaign understands this and it's why taking a stance that is anything more than just complete mealy-mouthed pablum is seen as risky for them. It's depressing as hell.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:32 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Hillary's response may have been....less than ideal, but it also reflects the way actual lawmaking in this country is less than ideal. Laws are written, by and large, by the interest groups that want them to happen. Legislators and their staff will do fine-tuning and combining different proposals, but very rarely will they come up with big legislation from whole cloth.

Is this a crappy legislative system fraught with potential for regulatory capture? Oh my, yes. But seeing as police reform is an ongoing matter of life and fucking death, I don't think this is the time to fix the whole of Congress before getting down to brass tacks.

(This is true regardless of who ends up in the White House after 2016. I'm not saying "suck it up and vote Clinton," I'm saying it's up to the movement, or a politician who is part of the movement rather than merely sympathetic to it, to put together some kind of proposal regardless of who gets the nod.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:00 PM on August 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm not a big fan of condescending centrism, "what, you don't know how sausage is made?", but let me throw out a reminder that there is already a fine proposal: let Bernie handle it. So far I have not seen evidence that Hillary is the least bit capable of rising above lip service on this topic, and her history suggests that even that much is a reach.
posted by rhizome at 8:36 PM on August 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


>I'm saying it's up to the movement, or a politician who is part of the movement rather than merely sympathetic to it, to put together some kind of proposal regardless of who gets the nod.)
I think that's what BLM wants - a candidate who is part of the movement, not just sympathetic.
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 8:49 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


In that case I'll just say rhizome is 100% right about the chance she will ever be that candidate.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:55 PM on August 18, 2015 [1 favorite]



Does anyone commenting here actually know anyone from any chapter of Black Lives Matter? Because I do - peripherally, that is; I've met a couple of people and I've been to a number of Black Lives Matter events - and I find this whole "ooh, they are paid shills for Hilary" business pretty racist, actually. It's like people see a bunch of young activists and - in my opinion because they are Black - people assume that they are crafty and/or paid shills because of course Black activists can never be just peoplewho might have all kinds of mixed feelings about, for example, who is going to be the next president. Twice as good to get half as far, indeed."

I know a bunch of them here in LA. Several are former coworkers of mine. Some are cranks and morons; some are incredibly thoughtful, compassionate people. All of them are angry; all of them have been mistreated by the police.

"But they weren't asking her for advice. They were asking her to take responsibility for her part in promoting policies that disproportionately harm black people, and to state specifically what has changed about her attitude that will keep her from enacting further harmful policies in the future. "Well, you need to change what you're doing" is not at all a response to someone asking you to take responsibility for something you've done."

I wanted to highlight this because I think it's really perceptive in both explaining a lot of the anger I see directed at Clinton, and reminds me of her indignation around her vote in favor of the Iraq Invasion — her "Oh, I should only talk to white people?" was pretty dumb in the same way that she was unable to take any responsibility for authorizing force. With both, it seems like she's making a nakedly political decision that she would have called bullshit on when she was younger, and the motivation of being able to create more change if she had more power is something that's a hard sell in democracies.

As allies, what we get to say is "how do I use my privilege to help you? What would you like me to do?"

So, a couple of my former coworkers at an LGBT org asked me to get involved with their BLM chapter (one of the many in the LA area), specifically to call out the LGBT org as racist for some HR decisions they made. The theory was that with the success of this chapter's recent actions against LA's mayor, they could use that momentum to really hurt the ability of the LGBT org to fundraise from progressive anti-racists. I agree with them that the LGBT org has been both historically and contemporarily blind to the struggles of people of color, and part of why they approached me was my grousing about the new ED cutting my planned MLK day media as being "too inflammatory" for quoting MLK's reaction to police violence in the wake of the Watts riots. It was complicated by the coincidental timing of entirely trumped-up terrorism charges against the same activist that had the adverse HR decision — which was the big motivation for wanting press releases and a media strategy to call the LGBT org racist. But the HR decisions were legitimate and a long time coming (I'd had to cover for the person more than once, though I had absolutely nothing to do with the HR stuff), and the overall goals were to hurt an established organization in order to boost the recognition of an emerging one, and without a way to connect that to achieving any broader BLM goals aside from #awareness.

So, despite having a litany of dumb and racist shit that the LGBT org was at best oblivious about, I just couldn't come on board. As an ally in two directions, I couldn't just say, "What would you like me to do?" because what they wanted me to do was unlikely to leave anyone better off and would likely leave quite a few people worse off.

What gives a white person (because most of the critiques are coming from white people) the right to tell people of colour that they're fighting against their own oppression wrong?"

Sometimes, experience and judgement in things like political communication.

I do want to be clear: I totally support the BLM interruptions of the Sanders rally and their efforts to get Clinton on record with a coherent civil rights/police reform platform. I think that Sanders in particular missed a huge opportunity, and that the deftest move in that situation would have been joining in the "Black Lives Matter" chant. Then likely a bit of explanation that he'd been working on a plank for the platform and hadn't finalized it, but would seek their input (which is true, contra some above who think he whipped that all out of his ass in a day — it'd been in the works for a while).

You mean besides a white person making black people work for her for free? I mean, it's not like she has any expertise in the topic at hand, she's just a good ol' gal tryin' ta make her way against those fat cats in Washington!"

Why not just go for the whole rhetorical hog and say that she wanted to use them as platform-writing slaves? It's specifically because she has expertise that she looked (at least to me) to be trying to pull them into a discussion in one of her strong areas: policy wonkery. The comment about her shifting to a mode of DC politics was apt: She's treating them like credible lobbyists instead of young activists. There's a communication breakdown.

"Yeah, this is quite backwards, even if I interpret the "you" conservatively. It's my job to figure out how I can harness my energy for them. This is related to what I ridicule HRC doing above."

But that's just as easy to snark at: You want her to co-opt BLM into the establishment Democratic platform.

"Solutions oriented" is doublespeak for "I don't want to learn about you, or understand your context, since it is more convenient if everyone did things according to the rules of my existing conceptualized sphere of power"."

Or "I agree you have a legitimate grievance. How can we work together to get something done that benefits both of us?" Also: Everything that gets accomplished is within someone's existing conceptualized sphere of power.

"I don't think there is a good answer for Hillary because I don't think she's credible on these kinds of policy issues, and there was no time at which she had a change of heart that would lead her to be credible on these kinds of policy issues despite her history."

There is never an answer that is entirely credible on these issues — she's still seeking to lead a nation that's built on a system of white supremacism, and she both needs the votes of white supremacists to win and identifies with a power structure that is implicitly white supremacist.

I do wonder how Clinton's perception of her own role during the Civil Rights Movement influences her thinking now — She was a young Republican until the GOP embraced racism, and a lot of why she got early notoriety as an option for "first female president" nods was because she attacked the contemporary power structure for its sexism and racism (which is kinda fucked up to think that people like Time Magazine have been telling her she should be the first female president since she was a college student, some 40 years ago).

I wonder if she feels like she's being asked to take responsibility for things that she believes she's spent her whole life fighting. One of those 'every politician is a tragedy' things is that her complicity is a fair cop — the BLM folks are right to call her out for her lobbying for policies that have undoubtably led to the premature deaths of thousands of black people.
posted by klangklangston at 10:01 PM on August 18, 2015 [15 favorites]


I've also supported the Clinton and Sanders call-outs and BLM. I've been assuming up to this point that there was some specific policy goals being constructed: organizing legal cases, constructing or repealing specific pieces of legislation, that kind of thing. That wonkery was key to the success of the first Civil Rights movement, the women's rights movement, and the Gay Rights movement. Resistance to direct participation in the political process--or really any organization at all--is one of the major reasons that Occupy Wall Street fell apart. Constructing those goals isn't "doing work for the politicians", it's how that shit gets done. Legislation isn't written by politicians, it's written by interest groups and advisers and the wording gets finagled to get it through Congress.

So it is really disappointing to find out BLM is not into that. You can communicate the need for hearts and minds to change and have a list of actionable items that will save lives in the meantime--there is nothing contradictory there.

Yes, if your argument is to tear the whole political system down then lobbying is not your cup of tea (as was the case for OWS). But if that's the case then the focus should be on gathering weaponry, not political rallies, because it's not realistic to expect that to happen any other way.
posted by schroedinger at 10:36 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


The other thing this video shows is how bad at politicking Hillary really is. This has been brewing for a long time. Enough time for her to find an advisor who does Get It, even if she doesn't. She hired Maya Harris, presumably to address the concerns of minority women. She's treating this issue as politics as usual, which is especially damning given her history. Donald Trump is utter garbage, but he understands where his base is emotionally in a way that I don't see any of Democratic candidates doing on this issue.
posted by snickerdoodle at 11:40 PM on August 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


So it is really disappointing to find out BLM is not into that.

Society is still at the point where a large group of people is actively cheering on what the police are doing, shouting "all lives matter," etc. A lot of what BLM is doing is simply trying to get the concept that black lives matter as much as white lives (something *that* simple) in front of peoples' eyes and ears.

Additionally, there are a ton of people and groups within and outside of BLM working on crunching specific policy proposals. This includes the We the Protestors group led by DeRay McKesson and Jonetta Elzie, a group called Justice Together assembled by Shaun King of Daily Kos (both of which are very easy to sign up to assist online) as well as more government-involved groups like the one the President appointed Brittany Packnett of Ferguson to.

A few hours of research (especially if you follow the above named people on Twitter, which I had not touched until last August and have now become immersed in, despite not being so tech-savvy) will get you to the specific policy proposals you seek.

Yet another option is to focus on research that has been done in the field, for example Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, various books on the rise in militarized policing (one by Radley Balko I think), and scholarly work disproving the effectiveness of stop and frisk and broken windows policing. There are a ton of communities not large enough to have BLM groups or local workers pushing their local governments to take a look at current policy - if you live in a community like that, be the change you want to see. And if someone comes in and says "Hey buddy you don't know what you're talking about" and/or "You're white [i don't know whether you are, this is just an example] and a black person like me is better placed to lead this charge" and/or something else, do the effortful work of tossing your defensiveness out the window and choose dialogue instead. When you can, amplify the voices of people of color rather than your own. I'd acknowledge how hard that can be, but it's eons less difficult than watching people who look like you get shot in the street.
posted by sallybrown at 5:20 AM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


The other thing this video shows is how bad at politicking Hillary really is.

Agreed entirely on this point. From a purely tactical perspective, she's embarrassingly incompetent. It's astounding she doesn't have a better response already prepared. In fact, what's even worse is that apparently she thinks she has something prepared, and pulled out the "I love and help the children of America" shit, as if she thinks that's relevant to the question being asked.
posted by odinsdream at 6:25 AM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


"The other thing this video shows is how bad at politicking Hillary really is."

I'd disagree there, and tend to think that perception of politics is something that's not entirely helpful for politics. She doesn't have a pat answer, though she tries to dodge the question, but part of what she says in response explains some of that: Her strength in politicking is in working the power of laws and policy to achieve (hopefully) positive outcomes. Her strength is not the empathetic charisma of her husband, something that made him popular but was also fairly shallow and fickle — a similar charisma got Bush II elected.

But an answer that would have been more popular with progressives would have likely alienated moderate white voters — thought of that way, her answer is competent politicking, it's just not one that you (or I) like.

As a side note, googling around for "hearts and minds" (since I thought the phrase was older than its Vietnam popularization, but it isn't really), the top news result for me was Limbaugh slamming Clinton for bullying these activists and not wanting to educate white people on ending prejudice. Politics makes strange bedfellows.
posted by klangklangston at 10:00 AM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]




Naw, she's not good at politicking. Obama is both charismatic and he gets shit done, a pairing of qualities that I will sorely miss, despite not agreeing with some of his policy decisions.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:16 AM on August 19, 2015




Also, her ability to campaign effectively does matter. If she's the nominee, she needs to run and win two national campaigns, or we're fucked. She is not making people confident that she can successfully do that. Why do you think people are making noise for Biden? People are nervous.

Ultimately, she should have done much much better. She knew this was coming. She didn't make any traction, she didn't seem prepared, she didn't get any of her platform (such as it is) out, she gave them a disastrous sound byte...it's not good.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:19 AM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, it's not that hard to have a message and stay on message. She really seriously failed at that here, or she doesn't have a decent message. Both are inexcusable from someone whose campaign is largely based around her alleged electability.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:20 AM on August 19, 2015


Huckabee Says Civil Rights Icon Dr. King Would Be ‘Appalled’ By Black Lives Matter Movement

Part of me just wants to roll my eyes and say "well, obviously Mike Huckabee is the final authority on what Martin Luther King's position would be," but the neutering of King's legacy by white people is a legitimate problem and should be pointed as ahistorical and racist whenever it happens.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:37 AM on August 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


This may sound rude or flip but does anyone actually believe that Hilary Clinton is running for president to change anything, or for any other reason than to gain power and advance her political career?

Hilary needs white women to vote for her en masse to win the general election. White women are scared by BLM. She handled this meeting perfectly, in my opinion. She is a very good politician.
posted by cell divide at 10:40 AM on August 19, 2015


Well, I think HRC is running for President because she's been told her whole adult life that she could/should/will be the First Woman President and because she's surrounded by people who think "It's Her Turn" and those are very unpleasant thoughts and attitudes. HOWEVER, I believe that HRC takes the notion of being President and the responsibility of being President--not to mention the burden of the First Woman President--very seriously indeed. Which means I believe she will want to do something meaningful and with some measure of lasting good as President. And I have to accept that there are worse motivations and worse understandings of the role than a Very Great Responsibility to Leave the World Better for Your Having Met Your Destiny. And I do know that many of her positions are not harmful to my interests or are significantly less harmful to my interests and values than anyone the GOP is presenting.

I believe HRC is an excellent policy analyst and at the lawyerly level was once a very good legislative analyst. I do think those skills can lead an effective administration. I would like that administration to be more progressive than I think hers would be. I hope the campaign convinces her that a more progressive legacy is what HRC should leave behind her.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:52 AM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Her strength in politicking is in working the power of laws and policy to achieve (hopefully) positive outcomes.

I'm not so sure about that.
posted by rhizome at 12:01 PM on August 19, 2015


White women are scared by BLM.

Are they? Do tell.
posted by rhizome at 12:01 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Yes, I haven't found much polling around white women and BLM. Romney did "win" amongst white women in 2012, however.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:06 PM on August 19, 2015


I think HRC (and many, but not all, other candidates) is running for President because (1) she thinks she is the best person for the job - that, of every person eligible to be President, she best fits the qualifications; (2) she can - she has the access to money and power to do so; and (3) she strongly thinks she can win - because she wouldn't put herself through 2008 again.

By and large, you have to have a monstrous ego, monstrous cash flow, and unlimited optimism to make a serious run for the Office.
posted by sallybrown at 12:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Ultimately, she should have done much much better. She knew this was coming. She didn't make any traction, she didn't seem prepared, she didn't get any of her platform (such as it is) out, she gave them a disastrous sound byte...it's not good."

She should have done much better, but complaining that she's not a good campaigner and acting like there's a serious threat from a Biden campaign is hyperbole at best. She got beaten by an insurgent campaign that did an excellent job of out maneuvering her, but she's not Trump, she's not Bobby Jindal, she's not Rosanne Barr, she's not Nader. Writing her off as a bad campaigner over this, and putting down all of politicking to just charismatically campaigning, is an overreaction.

"I mean, it's not that hard to have a message and stay on message. She really seriously failed at that here, or she doesn't have a decent message. Both are inexcusable from someone whose campaign is largely based around her alleged electability."

… but part of what people hate about modern politics is the endless on-message pusillanimity and slickness. Fer chrissakes, the modern master of staying on message is Mitt Romney. This is not Clinton's 47% moment. This was her being candid, knowing that she was taking a risk and would piss some people off. She hurt herself with it (which I hope doesn't mean a less candid, less human Hillary from here on out) but "inexcusable" is just soapboxing.
posted by klangklangston at 3:33 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure Biden would be any better for BLM issues, and maybe Jeb! would be better than either of them. Hillary may even be a good enough campaigner to stick it to black people again and succeed. Not really a good reason to get on board, if you ask me, and I'm pretty sure the large proportion of her campaign funds that come from law enforcement and finance people go towards the handcuffs cinching other wrists.

Maybe she's thinking that as long as she gets the nomination that she can assume the black vote, because Democrat. Maybe that's the message she's staying on. At the end of the day, a Hillary win does not necessarily bode well for Black America, and history tells us it's likely it bodes ill, and it's disrespectful to characterize her failures here as a failure of politicking.
posted by rhizome at 6:38 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


#BlackLivesMatter Performs a Self-Humiliation at Hillary Clinton’s Hands
In the logic of #BLM leaders, solicitation of reformist proposals from candidates of the two oligarchic parties constitutes a kind of demand. The group doesn’t even require that candidates endorse #BLM’s own posted, reformist demands, such as decreasing spending on police or releasing the names of killer cops. Instead, the candidates are “made to offer their racial analysis” and to produce proposals tailored by the candidate’s own staffs.

The strategy – if one could dignify it as such – is inherently impotent, which is why corporate lawyer and war criminal Hillary Clinton found it so easy to reduce Jones and his colleagues to school children at an elementary civics class.
A Short Follow-Up to the Previous Post on Black Lives Matter
And for a series of protests that handwaves about “accountability”, it would have been beneficial to make concrete demands with which you could actually hold this person, you know, accountable. But what they allowed Hillary Clinton to do was completely evade any discussion of things that might actually get done if she becomes president in favor of allowing her to school them about the most fundamental premise behind policymaking institutions, which is to make policy.

Because if policy change is not the goal of this group of activists, then I am honestly wondering what the hell we are all doing here.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the best side effects of the emergence of #BLM as a social movement is that I'm enjoying seeing a much wider variety of black voices on culture and politics, especially class and gender variety. Contrary to the notion of the 'circular firing squad,' I tend to think that the disagreements over policy, strategy and identity make both the black voices stronger and the American left stronger.
posted by klangklangston at 2:29 PM on August 20, 2015 [10 favorites]




Citing Hillary's accent at her speech at Selma ignores the fact that she was doing an impersonation of the Rev. James Cleveland, which for most white people would be a very obscure reference. That is why the crowd was excited, even though Republicans have used that clip to mock her for years.

She wasn't speaking to the GOP or to Bernie's supporters. She was speaking to a black, Southern, religious audience on matters of faith and enduring perseverance in the face of adversity. Presumably, Bernie would've done better?! Maybe he could've joined them in a song or something?
posted by markkraft at 5:38 AM on August 21, 2015


Hey, that Bernie rendition isn't half-bad and at least it's his own voice. That Hillary clip may be flogged to death by the GOP, but that doesn't mean they're wrong to portray it as ridiculous.
posted by rhizome at 9:32 AM on August 21, 2015


More on that Bernie tape - it's actually completely awesome.

Re: the actual topic of the thread, in retrospect I'm surprised Clinton's comments from 2008 about how LBJ, not MLK, was truly responsible for civil rights legislation didn't come up. Those comments seem basically consistent with her contention that you can't really expect to change hearts, only laws.
posted by dialetheia at 9:37 AM on August 21, 2015


On the topic of actual policy proposals for reducing police/state violence against communities of color and tracking candidate positions, the We the Protestors group just unveiled Campaign Zero, with a ton of detailed proposals on a wide variety of related issues. They are seeking input, for anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to read the proposals and contribute (educated) suggestions about what to add.

(I'm not affiliated, just a fan.)
posted by sallybrown at 9:50 AM on August 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


That Campaign Zero platform is fantastic! I don't see it listed as one of their policy objectives (maybe it would fall under "end for-profit policing") but for what it's worth, Sanders is introducing legislation to abolish private prisons altogether when the Senate reconvenes.
posted by dialetheia at 10:53 AM on August 21, 2015




Hot damn, Campaign Zero is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:58 PM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


A couple few reactions to Campaign Zero:

Harold Pollack, writing for New York Magazine, calls it "well-crafted" and praises the de-escalation, policing-for-profit and community representation planks, but calls for a few broader agenda items as well.

Radley Balko, at the Washington Post, has more full-throated praise, and says that where the proposal is limited it's because BLM is deliberately picking policies with a track record they can point to.

Francie Diep, at the Pacific Standard, presents research underlying the CZ goals and says data "generally suggests Campaign Zero's demands are reasonable, though some of the campaign's demands naturally have more evidence to back them than others. "
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:01 AM on August 25, 2015


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