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11.08.2014
TweetToday in New York City, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that she is officially a candidate for the 2016 presidential campaign. But what’s missing from the hagiography of Clinton superfans is any recognition or critique of her corporate-themed white feminism and the deleterious consequences this could have for black and brown people in the US and globally. Clinton sat on the board of Wal-Mart between 1986 and 1992, where she says she learned a lot from Sam Walton, and she remained silent while the corporation fought the unionization of its workers. In Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, she notes that it was Hillary Clinton who lobbied Congress to expand the drug war and mass incarceration in ways that we continue to live with today, and that have a significantly more harmful impact on black and brown people than white people. As I’ve noted in the trouble with white feminism series here, this form of feminism has a long history here in the US and within colonialism.
While I realize that Hillary Clinton has been the target of many sexist attacks, and, likely, will be again in this campaign, I do not think that these attacks should require anyone to support her out of some sort of misguided idea about feminist loyalty. Hillary Clinton is not good for white or black feminism either as feminism wants greater protections for poor women of all races and higher wages for women. The headline should say something like, Good for Big Business, But Not Good for the People.
I agree that nobody should be excited about Clinton’s run, but by these standards (waging war on countries with black and brown people, mass incarceration), Obama has also been bad for racial justice. I appreciate, and agree with most of your points, but I find one critical piece missing: what the viewer can do with this information.
Rand Paul opposes the civil rights act, while Marco Rubio is in opposition to social security medicare, increase the min wage, etc.. I also want to state that disliking Hillary does not automatically make one sexist (any more than disliking Obama automatically makes one racist). I believe Bernie Sanders is a very viable alternative to Hillary and he has been speaking up against racism since the sixties.


While many people are excited about the prospect of the first woman president, I think that a Hillary Clinton presidency will be another in a long series of triumphs for white, corporate feminism and defeats for racial justice. Instead, it was a reduction in federal benefits to those living in poverty, many of them working poor, like those employed at Wal-Mart. According to The Drug Policy Alliance, people of color are much more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted, harshly sentenced and saddled with a lifelong criminal record due to being unfairly targeted for drug law violations. To the extent that Hillary Clinton’s ascendancy is consistent with her record to date, and with the record of white feminism to date, this is very bad news, indeed, for black and brown people the world over. Of course the alternative in Jeb Bush is worse so I’ll support Hillary as the lesser of two evils. The two are cut from the same corporate Democrat cloth and whether the face of the party is a black man or a white woman seems to matter little. Even though I agree, when I come to vote, I feel she will likely be the least of all evils, so to speak. However, remarking on her appearance, or making other comments that do not directly address her stance on political issues or prior political decisions and actions, points to the speaker as being a simpleton who is incapable of nothing more than grade school name-calling. Even though white people and people of color use drugs at about the same rates, it is black and brown people’s bodies that continue to fuel the machine of mass incarceration. As I said, this is an incomplete recap of what Hillary Clinton has given the world so far under the guise of feminism. If you take a look at the longer series I’ve been doing about white feminism, HRC fits within that tradition and is a triumph for that version of feminism, a la Sheryl Sandberg back through Susan B. I think people concerned with racial justice or justice of any kind need to put our energy into worthwhile causes, into activism and strikes, and push the politicians closer to where we want them to be. Of course this is frustrating, but currently I feel there are no viable alternatives–and if you believe there to be, I (and I am sure other readers) would like to hear your opinion.


There are not a lot of viable candidates at the moment, but it’s early days still, and someone could yet emerge. Hilary is far from perfect, but instead of kneecapping her, why are we not raising issues in a similar fashion to gay rights, latio rights, etc.. If you oppose her, be intelligent enough to take her to task for her plutocratic politics and lifestyle, her voting record, or other ways in which you would oppose a male candidate. You have done a wonderful job of giving actual examples of the reasons I will not support or vote for her. My point above was more about offering a critical lens on HRC in a way that I haven’t seen done much. Resorting to jokes about her appearance, how she dresses, how she is aging, her parenting style, etc., only highlights the implicit sexist beliefs of the person making such comments, as well as the systemic sexism of our country in general. I’m also interested in what others reading here might have to say about your comment or the original post. I will be calling out every comment or meme from here on out that people post related to this topic. I would just suggest that there is, perhaps, a kind of challenge to white supremacy in having an African American president. This has unintended consequences, of course, such as the data suggesting there’s an increase in people expressing racially prejudiced views. I agree with you about putting energy into worthwhile causes, such as activism and strikes, that push politicians to be more responsive to real concerns of all the people, particularly those being killed by state-sponsored violence.



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