Bill Clinton filled in for his wife and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton at a rally in Philadelphia, where he proceeded to clash with protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement in a way that can only be categorized as “peak cis white mansplain.”
The incident, which took place on April 7, began when Clinton addressed a group of BLM demonstrators situated near the podium, many of whom held homemade signs festooned with anti-Hillary slogans.
Many of the messages, like “Hillary Clinton Is A Murder” [sic] and “Black Youth Are Not Super Predators” alluded to the former president’s 1994 crime bill—Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act—which has since been held responsible for a rise in mass incarceration rates.
According to Reuters, ten years after the bill was passed into law, “6 percent of all black men in their 30s were in prison, a rate six times higher than that of white men of the same age,” with 1.56 million prisoners overall incarcerated in federal or state institutions.
Hillary, who supported the law at the time, employed the latter phrase mentioned above in an interview in 1994; both she and her husband have since retracted their support of the legislation passed during Clinton’s presidential tenure, calling it a “mistake.”
After a number of demonstrators allegedly began shouting at Clinton while he was giving his address in support of his wife’s campaign, Clinton decided to let his privilege show in what became a very special edition of the Blame Game.
“Hillary didn’t vote for that bill because she wasn’t in the Senate,” said the former president to the crowd. “She was spending her time trying to get health care for poor kids.”
He then honed in on the sign-wielding BLM protesters.
“I don’t know how you would characterize these gang leaders who’ve got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and send them out onto the streets to murder other African American children,” said Clinton. “Maybe you thought they were good citizens. She didn’t. You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth.”
The Philly Voice, a local paper which reported on the rally, spoke to BLM protestor Erica Mines about her impetus behind protesting the event:
“We get labeled as ‘the thugs’ and all that, but we silently held up our signs up and we have a right to do that. We have a right to do that, as the First Amendment allows us to. ... They asked me to take my sign down because they didn’t like the fact that it didn’t say, ‘Hillary is God,’ and that’s not OK. That’s not OK.
I can do whatever I choose to do, just like everyone else. I’m not here to say Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton is a good or bad person. Their policies have hurt the black community. That’s all there is. It’s not about whether I like them. I don’t hate them as people. I don’t hate anybody, but their policies have hurt the black community, and they don’t deserve the black vote.”
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