In May 1992, rapper Sister Souljah did an interview with the Washington Post in which she defended the Los Angeles riots by suggesting that violence was “wise.”
I mean, if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people? … White people, this government and that mayor were well aware of the fact that black people were dying every day in Los Angeles under gang violence. So if you’re a gang member and you would normally be killing somebody, why not kill a white person? Do you think that somebody thinks that white people are better, are above and beyond dying, when they would kill their own kind?
In an attempt to distance himself from unpopular black activist Jesse Jackson, then-presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Bill Clinton reacted to Sister Souljah’s comments at an event with Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition. “I know she is a young person,” Clinton said, “but she has a big influence on a lot of people, and when people say that – if you took the words white and black and you reversed them, you might think David Duke was giving that speech.”
Jackson called on Clinton to apologize. “She represents the feelings and hopes of a whole generation of people,” Jackson said. “She should receive an apology.”
Clinton never apologized. In fact, his statement became known as a “Sister Souljah moment” – a moment when a candidate stands up to a segment of his or her own base in order speak the truth.
How times have changed.
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which has made icons of criminals like Michael Brown while painting police officers all over the United States as racist thugs and America as a whole as an irreparably racist country, is now the kingmaker in Democratic politics. BLM booed former Maryland governor and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley off a stage when he said “all lives matter” rather than “black lives matter” – and O’Malley apologized. Fellow candidate and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had his Seattle rally shut down by Black Lives Matter protesters – and in his next rally, in Los Angeles, he had Black Lives Matter allies lead off the event.
And now Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, had her opportunity for a Sister Souljah moment – and she kowtowed. Attempting to ward off her fellow competitors and shore up her support among black voters, Hillary held a deeply awkward exchange with Black Lives Matter protesters in New Hampshire. The protesters berated her, called her out of touch, suggested that she had nothing to add to the racial debate. And while Hillary’s failed to suppress her trademark causticness, there’s little doubt she felt the necessity to bow before today’s Sister Souljahs.
The exchange began when a BLM protester asked Hillary about the war on drugs and its impact on black communities. “I just want to know how you feel about your role in that violence and how you plan to reverse it?” the protester asked.
[Y]ou 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.
Given that Hillary Clinton’s connection with her wandering husband is her sole claim to the mantle of presidential legitimacy, it is incredible that she is willing to throw her husband’s anti-crime legacy under the bus in order to advance her ambitions. The truth is that Clinton’s work with the Republican Congress on crime and welfare reform dramatically lowered crime rates within the black community; the murder rate among blacks in 1990 was nearly 64 in 100,000, as opposed to 32 per 100,000. But instead of championing that legacy and calling for better and more law enforcement in black communities – a solution that actually would work, according to commentators both left and right – Hillary runs from her husband’s actual accomplishments.
The exchange continued with the BLM protester calling the Clinton anti-crime policies “extensions of white supremacist violence against communities of color,” accusing them of “ripping apart families and actually causing death.” Hillary tepidly disagreed, first defending the Clinton era policies, then running from them:
Now, I do think that a lot of what was tried and how it was implemented has not produced the kinds of outcomes that any of us would want….[S]ome of this is coming about today because of the terrible instances of violence that we have seen across our country. And I wouldn’t—you know, I wouldn’t in any way deny how powerful those have been and how they have to produce change. So what you’re doing as activists and as people who are constantly raising these issues is really important. So I applaud and thank you for that. I really do. Because we can’t get change unless there’s constant pressure.
What inspiring leadership. She continued by urging the protester to “keep the pressure on.” And she said she wanted to work with BLM to develop a “whole comprehensive plan…We need to keep saying it so that people accept it.”
The protesters would not take “yes” for an answer, however. One protester called for Hillary to repent of her husband’s tough on crime policies:
[H]ow do you actually feel that’s different than you did before? Like what were the mistakes, and how can those mistakes that you made be lessons for all of America for a moment of reflection on how we treat black people in this country?
Hillary insisted she had always cared about the needs of black people, then once again kowtowed:
So all I’m saying is, your analysis is totally fair. It’s historically fair. It’s psychologically fair. It’s economically fair. But you’re going to have to come together as a movement and say, “Here’s what we want done about it.” Because you can get lip service from as many white people as you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it, who are going to say, “Oh, we get it. We get it. We’re going to be nicer.” That’s not enough– at least in my book. That’s not how I see politics. So the consciousness-raising, the advocacy, the passion, the youth of your movement is so critical. But now all I’m suggesting is — even for us sinners — find some common ground on agendas that can make a difference right here and now in people’s lives, and that’s what I would love to have your thoughts about, because that’s what I’m trying to figure out how to do.
Hillary finally snapped when the protester suggested that she couldn’t even talk about racial issues to black people, because “this is and has always been a white problem of violence. It’s not– there’s not much that we can do to stop the violence against us.”
She growled, “Well, respectfully, if that is your position then I will talk only to white people who about how we are going to deal with the very real problems.” That was her husband coming out, and it was actually truthful: the BLM protesters are bullies attempting to shut down productive conversation in favor of racial blackmail. But she quickly backed off, and then suggested that as a technocrat, she could manipulate the system to the benefit of BLM members:
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 going to change every heart. You’re not…..I’m ready to get out and do my part in any way that I can.
Hillary is a structural Marxist who believes that human beings can only be changed by changing the structure of government and economics. Her perspective here is no surprise.
But more importantly, for those who doubt that the Democratic Party is now Barack Obama’s party instead of Bill Clinton’s, this conversation provides the evidence. There will be no more Sister Souljah moments, because the one candidate and president in American history who could have most effectively communicated to many young black people that free and good decisions, combined with rule of law, better people’s lives, refused to do so. Instead, he embraced a radical racial vision of division and historic injustice, and by doing so, won re-election with a massive turnout of non-white voters. Obama changed the voting model. And the Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, are now living in his world.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.