At a recent event in support of his wife’s campaign, Bill Clinton was confronted by Black Lives Matter protestors about how hard his 1994 crime bill affected the black community by putting so many in jail. Kevin Alexander Gray looks at how the myth arose that Clinton was a good friend to the black community and says that the reality is quite different.
So, the fact that Clinton left behind a larger — mostly black — prison population than when he took office should come as no surprise. Black incarceration rates during the Clinton years surpassed Ronald Reagan’s eight years. The incarceration rates for blacks increased from around 3,000 per 100,000 to 3,620 per 100,000 people during his administration. That he did nothing about mandatory minimum sentences ? no surprise. That he did nothing to change the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine that disproportionately affects African Americans ? no surprise. That he successfully stumped for “three strikes and you’re out in the crime bill, for restrictions on the right of habeas corpus and expansion of the federal death penalty ? no surprise. When he came into office one in four black men were involved in the criminal justice system in some way; when he left it was one in three. In many states ex-felons are denied the right to vote, a factor that had a direct impact on the 2000 presidential vote in Florida. Again, no surprise.
Larry Wilmore comments on the confrontation and the poor way that Clinton handled it then and the next day.
Mike Yard unloads a righteous rant on Bill Clinton’s disingenuous challenge to the Black Lives Matter protestors to tell the truth when it was he who was notorious for parsing language to avoid telling the truth.
(These clips aired on April 11, 2016. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)