Although I’m not a fan of their methods, I understand why Black Lives Matter protesters operate the way they do. Their demonstrations, loud, obnoxious and disruptive, are the ones that get noticed. Peaceful, quiet picketing on sidewalks may get a byline in the local paper, but a single black woman holding up a sign and screaming a question at Hillary Clinton in a way that suggests she doesn’t really want the answer, breaks the internet. Keeping the #BLM discussion in the headlines is forcing the country to face the reality of how destructive systematic racism has been, and how pervasive racism still is.
But it still irks me that we approach the people who are by and large on our side, with the same vitriol as we approach the people who blatantly don’t like us. Hillary is on our side, but in the court of public opinion she’s now being prosecuted for a 20 year old statement even many in the black community believed to be true at the time.
She said that gang members were becoming “superpredators (with) no conscience, no empathy… we have to bring them to heel”. Although I was not living here in 1996, coming from a country where there is no question that superpredators exist and proliferate if unchecked, the apparently egregious nature of this statement is lost on me.
Although at the time she was not even in Congress, she alone is somehow being blamed for legislation, which by the way Bernie Sanders voted for, that eventually led to the mass incarceration of black people. The fact is that at the time gang violence was a real issue and even the black communities were looking for better solutions. At the time it was less acceptable to spare the rod. Before, during and after that time the Clintons have been consistently supportive of the black community in so many other ways.
I’m not advocating a free pass on issues as controversial as these, but let us do our research and understand people’s intentions before, perhaps to our own detriment, attempting to derail their efforts to make things right.
Calibe Thompson is the host and producer of “Island Origins”, airing Mondays at 10:00PM and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9:00PM on BECON-TV (Ch 63 / Comcast 19). Learn more about her at www.calibe.net.