In this clip, Hillary Clinton addresses head-on the problem of racism and America and the phenomenon of white privilege in a blunt and powerful speech delivered at the 83 annual U.S. Conference of Mayors regarding the recent terrorist attack at the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, SC.
In her unashamedly direct and pragmatic manner that Clinton has been cultivating over the past few months, Hillary calls out America’s white privilege and condemns the structural racism that permeates our society and actively represses African-Americans throughout our nation. “Once again, racist rhetoric has metastasized into racist violence. It is tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today’s America, bigotry is largely behind us. That institutionalized racism no longer exists. But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from over.”
She then delves into some facts regarding the ways in which racism affects African-Americans every day. In our nation, blacks are three times times more likely to be denied a mortgage than whites. The median wealth of black families is around $11,000, while the median wealth for white families is $134,000. Nearly half of all black families have lived in poor neighborhoods for at least two generations, while just 7% have for white families. Black children are 500 times more likely to die from asthma than white children. It’s an absolute travesty that our nation has ostracized and persecuted such a large portion of our population, and it’s time for the public to begin discussing that fact and accepting the guilt of what white America has done.
Hillary isn’t afraid to play hardball on the issue: “For a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear. And news reports about poverty and crime and discrimination evoke sympathy, even empathy, but too rarely do they spur us to action or prompt us to question our own assumptions and privilege. We can’t hide from any of these hard truths about race and justice in America. We have to name them, and own them, and then change them.”
It’s a powerful and hard-hitting speech that someone in this nation desperately needed to say.
Watch it here:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.