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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Damn....Did Negroes Give out Black Authenticity Cards During a Winter White Sale? Hillary Says I Holla!

What is it with having to ask presidential candidates Black authenticity questions? Of course Bill the first was left out of the equation since Black folk gave him an honorary Negro degree years ago. But this is the real kicker-Bill gets a pass but Obama doesn't and he really is a man of color. Our Blackometer is often called in question at Afronerd as well so I guess I should be used to it by now. Now Hillary Clinton is next up within the last few days to get the "Black enough" to understand the persons of color conundrum. I think it's high time for people of color to get off the racialization train and just ask for questions based on the human condition. If we continue to pose questions based on a Black specific standard we lose the ability to address the problems on a serious and substantive level. I do not want the readers to think that I am living in Shangri-La, we are very much aware that racism exists however demanding better education, economic opportunities, safer communities and healthcare are not Black issues within themselves but human or American dilemmas. Let's take a look at a recent Newsday article that posits the Hillary on the Black Hand Side question:

Could Hillary Clinton also be a 'black' leader?
Les Payne
August 12, 2007

Senator Clinton, are you black enough?

The question usually aimed at her darker opponent from Chicago triggered a burst of laughter from Hillary Rodham Clinton. She recovered from the barb and proceeded by not answering it.

This campaign moment occurred Thursday before the Las Vegas convention crowd of the National Association of Black Journalists. CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux pinned back the former First Lady to explain how she could "sustain black support " while running against an African-American. Ironically, thanks to Sen. Barack Obama's mixed white and Kenyan parentage and campaign mischief, it is he who usually gets to field the "black enough" question.

Although Clinton moon-walked away from Malveaux's direct question, she came before the 2,700-member journalist group with her designer set of promises. As president she said she would "call for a national response" to the crisis of neglect facing young black men. As part of her Youth Opportunity Agenda, she says the initiative flows from her belief that "it takes a [white] village to raise a child."

The national crisis with African-Americans, she said, concerned the "1.4 million young men of color between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school, and out of work and too often out of hope. It includes nearly one out of every three young African-American men. They're not earning legal wages or learning marketable skills; many grow up without fathers, locked up in prisons, or end up losing their lives, or taking lives, due to guns and violence."

Clinton said the problem is not a "moral crisis but an economic crisis," rejecting the "broad-brush" notion that paints the young black male "as a threat, as a headache or as a lost cause. I reject it as a string of disappointments, failures and casualties of a broken system. That's not who they are and that's not who they can be." She would call for expanding Headstart programs, increasing funding for schools and rehabilitation projects and tackling the excesses of the criminal justice system that tracks many of these young men into prisons.

"We have to keep talking about race," she said, "because race is a very significant issue for our country, for who we are as a country, for our role in the world." President Bill Clinton's 1995 Race Initiative, she said, was "either ignored or derided as being unnecessary, irrelevant ... I'm encouraged that more people are willing to have that conversation now."

With Obama appearing before the convention the next day, Clinton, not unexpectedly, talked more than usual about race before the 32-year-old organization. She sharply contrasted the diversity of the Democratic candidates with the all-white-male Republican candidates.

"I am really thrilled to be running at a time in our history when, on a stage, you can see an African-American man, a Hispanic man and a woman."

In a smaller meeting with a group of columnists, Clinton said she doesn't "believe in [slavery] reparations," but sees a need to "repair the breach that has left too many of our citizens behind." She was asked about the breach left by the 1995 Federal Communications Commission bill her husband signed that sharply reduced black ownership of radio and TV stations when tax incentives were removed. While admitting to "harsh" Clinton administration compromises with unfortunate consequences during the reign of the Newt Gingrich-dominated, GOP congress, the junior senator from New York said she didn't know what she would do about the resulting "media consolidation," were she elected president.

In a moment of levity with the black columnists, Clinton joked about how, as a flat-toned midwesterner, she sometimes lapses into a drawl in the South and tends to drop her "g's" more around black audiences. In a snide reference to author Toni Morrison's comment that her husband was the "first black president," she mused:

"I do find myself dropping g's. I lived all those years in Arkansas, and, you know, I'm in this interracial marriage."

Perhaps this is a more accurate portrayal of Hillary and brothers and sisters...oh I kid..really:

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