A Black Lives Matter activist recently paid $500 to attend a private Hillary Clinton event... and then unfolded a cloth sign that read “We Have to Bring Them to Heel,” a reference to comments she made in 1996, and demanded an apology from Hillary for "calling black people superpredators":
Clinton: (reading sign) We have to bring them to heel.
Perplexingly, many bloggers have rushed to call Williams "courageous" for this.
For me, it's more like, Okay, good for you for having $500 to donate to the Hillary campaign...
But did you actually want Hillary to answer your question? Or did you just want to say, "You called black people superpredators" over and over, without providing any context or letting her answer?
As I wrote in "Activism Responsibilities" Cause Students at Brown to Fail Classes and Have Panic Attacks, it takes a lot more courage to ask an intelligent question and then LISTEN to the answer, knowing that you could be wrong or you could be shut down by someone who's a lot smarter than you... than it does to shout at someone.
In this particular case, continuously interrupting Hillary was probably a winning strategy, since Williams' claim was inaccurate and irrelevant.
1) Hillary has already said, many times, that she regrets the crime bill.
2) Hillary never voted for the bill.
3) The "superpredator" comment was from 1996, and was taken way out of context. It was the fourth thing on a long list of other ideas related to community policing.
4) The term "superpredators" didn't have racial connotations at the time she said it.
5) She referenced it once, twenty years ago.
Hence, interrupting Clinton and not letting her answer the question was probably the winning strategy.
Now, before you throw a hissy fit about policing peoples' tone or whatever... keep in mind that this is the EXACT same opinion I've expressed regarding websites like Everyday Feminism and "scientists" like Nassim Nicholas Taleb when they make far-out claims, and then block everyone on the whole internet who disagrees with them:
Everyday Feminism. Nassim Nicholas Taleb. And people/publications like you. You have a responsibility. I'm all for banning bullies and spammers from commenting on your social media. But it's cowardly to block everyone who disagrees with you JUST because they disagree with you.
More recently, I've given the same advice to groups like Students for "Justice" in Palestine (which, as an aside, has nothing to do with improving Palestinian lives and human rights -- they don't care if Palestine ends up a liberal democracy or an Islamic theocracy; with no rights, or full civil rights. All they really care about is being anti-Israel):
Rather than run around an auditorium shouting, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and then seeking support from assistant dean Ashley Ferranti when you become "upset by the evening’s events"...
Asking questions is only courageous if you are willing to listen to the answer.
So before you rush to criticize Senate Republicans for wanting to block any Supreme Court nominees until Obama is out of office (or whatever other government ridiculousness that's happening right now)... maybe you should work on being the change you want to see.
Edit 1: It seems a lot of people are upset that Williams was escorted out of the event, because she'd paid $500 to be there. SO DID EVERYONE ELSE AT THAT PARTY, though. And they didn't pay $500 to hear some random girl speak. They paid to hear Clinton speak. Now, it's very clear from watching the video that Hillary was perfectly happy to address the issues Williams wanted to talk about. It's clear that if Williams didn't just shout "you called black people superpredators" over and over," Hillary would have answered the question. Watch the video again, if you don't believe me!
Edit 2: People are also disappointed that the crowd hissed and told Williams she was "inappropriate" and "being rude." Guess what? They're allowed to feel that way! A friend from high school suggested that Hillary could have responded differently, and I agree. I think saying, "It's okay -- I'm happy to listen to the question. That's why I'm here!" it could have changed the tone of the conversation. But I also think respect needs to go both ways. Clinton offered to share her platform with Williams, but Williams was too busy making accusations to take advantage of the opportunity.
Instead of demanding apologies and making accusations, here's what *I* would have said:
"In 1994, you did X, and in 1996 you said Y, and the effect was Z. What do you wish you'd done differently -- and what will you do differently as president?"
I think the crowd would have been interested in hearing Hillary's answer and watching her go off-script.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
Want to support The Happy Talent? CLICK HERE!
Or Find me on Patreon!
What's Popular on The Happy Talent:
Trending in Dating and Relationships:
What's Popular in Science:
Playfulness and Leisure Skills:
Popular in Psychology and Social Skills: