Earlier today Hillary Clinton delivered a speech at US Conference of Mayors in San Francisco where she addressed the murder of nine people at Charleston’s Emmanuel A.M.E Church. Clinton spoke about the “hard truths of race and justice in America,” and called for “common sense” gun reform measures.
According to The Hill, Clinton referenced a failed gun-reform law that was introduced in the Senate after the Newtown shooting:
“It makes no sense that bipartisan legislation to require universal background checks would fail in Congress despite overwhelming public support. It makes no sense that we couldn’t come together to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers or people suffering from mental illness, even people on the terror watch list.”
She also directly addressed the central issue of racism in America:
“Once again, bodies are being carried out of a black church,” adding that while “it is tempting to dismiss [this tragedy] as an isolated incident... America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”
Clinton encouraged frank discussion, adding: “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.”
Clinton’s speech wasn’t terribly remarkable, but it (sadly) stands out among a sea of candidates who have refused to admit that race was the motivating factor in the Charleston murders. Jeb Bush said: “I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes.” Other candidates like Lindsay Graham have skirted around an explicit acknowledgement of the legacy of racism.
If Clinton’s remarks on Charleston are illuminating, it’s only because the silence of Bush, Graham and others seems to indicate that simply acknowledging race remains taboo in broad swaths of this country.
Image via Getty.