I'm A Black Woman And I'm Waiting For Hillary Clinton To Win Me Over
Bill and Hillary Clinton are practically part of my family.
I was 4 years old when Bill was sworn into the White House. Since then, I've watched my parents proudly support the Clinton family's every political move.
I don't actually recall Bill's 1992 saxophone solo on the "Arsenio Hall Show," but my family certainly made references enough times for it to be etched into my memories. And, yeah, even that whole Monica Lewinsky thing was debated at length in my household.
Even now, support for the Clintons runs deep. My mom stands firmly in favor of Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, and my dad keeps begging me to pick her. Even my sister weighs Clinton against competitor Bernie Sanders.
I don't approach Clinton with the same enthusiasm. After digging into her past, I just can't trust her persuasive banter about service to the black community.
There's no doubt Clinton has the stamina to hold the Oval Office seat, given her well-rounded political resume and tenure as secretary of state. However, I'm not convinced she can continue Obama's legacy of change.
Though Obama inherited extreme deficits from the George Bush administration, he still managed to end the 2008 recession, add more jobs and reform healthcare with Obamacare. These are all issues that directly affect black women.
From the chunks of political fodder I've digested watching town hall events and democratic debates, I can't tell if Clinton sincerely seeks to cater to our needs as a community or if she just thinks it's trendy to say so.
In The Nation's "Why Hillary Doesn't Deserve The Black Vote," Michelle Alexander explains black peoples' historical penchant for championing the Clintons, similar to my own kin.
Alexander breaks down Clinton's initial support of her husband's 1994 Violent Crime Control Act, which aimed to fill up the nation's prisons. Notably, her current stance on criminal justice reforms is the direct opposite sentiment. She now preaches about the alarming incarceration rates of African Americans in the United States.
Is she just flip-flopping to appeal to the current political climate?
New York Magazine claims Clinton won over blacks during a recent speech at Harlem's Schomburg Center, directing her message to systemic racism, the root of injustices black people face.
Rembert Browne says Clinton stopped tiptoeing around sensitive racial topics and chastised her own white privilege. But why the sudden change of heart? Sure, politicians are expected to tailor their message for relevant issues, but how much of Clinton's aggressive pandering is a result of genuine concern for the black community?
The Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed the democratic presidential candidate, praising Clinton's deep, longtime ties to "Black elected officials, clergy, fraternity and sorority leaders," as well as many other activists. Like other black endorsers, the CBCPAC assumes Clinton's connections will mean racial injustices remain a priority for the US.
Still, I'm not alone in my skepticism.
Last Tuesday, Bernie Sanders beat Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, trumping her in both black and female votes.
Sanders is taking off in black polls, largely because he's unapologetically vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement, universal healthcare and tuition-less college. These are themes that Hillary didn't address until recently, and I can't help but side-eye her efforts.
When Clinton first announced her presidential bid, I initially wanted to give her my vote because she's a woman and practically part of my family. Today, I'm still unsure which candidate can really get the job done.
Most likely, I won't make my decision until the week of the election. When it comes to championing the black community, however, right now the only person I really want to vote for is Beyoncé.