Hillary Clinton is keenly aware of the reality that she is facing an uphill battle to win a fraction of the energetic support that African Americans gave to President Obama in 2008 and 2012. This is evident by the direct attention she is giving to issues that are important to black communities. In her first campaign policy speech, Clinton addressed issues including health care, increases to minimum-wage and criminal justice reform. She has called for the end of the “era of mass incarceration”–an era for which her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is partly responsible.
Most recently, Clinton has called for the expansion of early voting, automatic registration of all citizens at the age of 18, and the strengthening of the Voting Rights Act. Each of these proposals stand to benefit minority and impoverished communities. In many ways, Hillary Clinton has put issues that are important to the black community in the forefront of her campaign. But still, is this enough?
What is far more important than speeches and policy positions that ostensibly address the problems that face the black community is for Clinton–and any other candidate for that matter–to begin to address the reasons why many of these issues disproportionately affect the black community. Why is it that so many blacks are dependent upon minimum wage jobs instead of careers? She needs to begin to ask why it is that blacks are disproportionately prison-fodder in this “era of mass incarceration.” Why are African Americans the victims of so much police brutality that it is necessary for national call for police body cams?