Calling Bill Clinton on the Cluephone

Posted in dem primary, oh FFS, Opinion by yliza on April 22, 2008

via The Huffington Post:

The following audio clip is from an interview of Bill Clinton by Susan Phillips of WHYY.org. She brings up his comments equating Obama’s South Carolina primary win to Jesse Jackson’s in 1988. Bill then gets all huffy and claims the race card was played against him. The last thing he says, when he apparently believes the mike is off, is “I don’t think I should take any shit from anybody on that, do you?”

So let me get this straight. Bill Clinton invokes Jesse Jackson when his wife loses South Carolina, and the race card is being played on him? Bill, Bill, Bill, get a clue.

I was living in California in 1988, when Jesse Jackson ran for president. I remember the birth of The Rainbow Coalition very well, it was a concept that appealed to me on many levels. But at that time I was in graduate school, trying to maintain my identity in an environment that included no other Black people. And to those folks, Jesse Jackson was not a serious candidate. He may have won South Carolina, but he was getting zero traction in Southern California. I would liked to have voted for him, but I didn’t, because I knew he was going nowhere.

Please don’t tell me you didn’t know that too, Bill. You’re a savvy politician, I doubt you would’ve been president otherwise, and no matter how much respect and love you have for Jesse Jackson you can’t seriously expect me to believe you thought he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination.

Reverse racism? Spare me. I hear that every time a White person utters a (possibly subliminal) racist comment and is called out on it. It is a refusal to recognize how insidious and pervasive this issue is in our culture. And it is an indication of how much I respect your intelligence that I believe you know this very well.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that someone who utters a racist comment is an actual racist. This is the argument that bloggers of color have with progressive bloggers on a daily basis, that racist memes are so ingrained in our culture that we don’t always see them. But if you were a true anti-racist you would listen to us, admit your mistake, apologize, and try not to go there anymore.

Instead, you employ every defensive technique designed to absolve you of any blame. You invoke your Black friends and supporters, your Harlem offices, as if those things are some kind of magic armor against claims of racist rhetoric. Let me tell you something: they’re not.

Do me a favor, in fact, do a favor for the entire Democratic party, hell, for the country. Just. Stop. Talk about McCain instead. And maybe, just maybe, you won’t have to “take any shit from anybody on that” anymore.

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