Should African Americans Be Voting for Clinton

Look at the policies she has previously supported, and what policies she has flipped her positions on and why.

Sara Tabatabaie (Rock The Vote)

We’ve seen Trump completely and utterly fail at earning the African American vote, which has been especially highlighted by Trump’s announcement at his rally, “Look at my African American over here!” I, as an African American, feel as though I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, we have the racist, misogynistic, and homophobic Republican nominee, THE Donald Trump. On the other, we have Hillary Clinton; the Democratic nominee who is desperately trying to obtain Bernie Sanders’ minority vote.

I have seen the Clintons grow as a power couple throughout the 19 years I have been alive. As a pair, they are known to be charismatic and persuasive. Individually, Bill Clinton is the more likable of the two. Throughout Hillary Clinton’s campaign, she has shown her face in “black” churches, which we all know is the universal way to secure every black vote in America. Under their charisma and charm, however, are deceitful policies. Each one perfectly crafted and enforced to impose injustices that directly affect African Americans.

Last year, through a Criminology course I was taking, I had the opportunity to learn about the prison system, certain laws and policies that affected the average American, and the theories on why certain people commit crime. Throughout the course, I had my eyes opened to mandatory sentencing minimums, an expansion of the death penalty and the increase of African Americans in private prison systems during the Clinton presidency. These policies were a response to what President Clinton categorized as ‘a rise in fear of crime’. These policies, while adhering to the country’s fear of crime, were truly “tough on crime” types of policies. Many do not know, however, that the crime rate was on a decline when these policies were enacted. The United States then adopted mandatory sentencing, tightened up on juvenile convictions, “three strikes” laws, increased sentencing on crack versus powder cocaine and increased in arrests for lower level drug offenses because of these “tough on crime” policies.

These powerful policies directly hurt the African Americans population. For example, we can explore the increased sentencing for crack versus powdered cocaine. This may also be known as the 100:1 disparity, meaning that an individual caught with five grams of crack would have the same sentence as an individual caught with 500 grams due to mandatory sentencing. This created a large racial disparity within prisons, with more than 80 percent of the felons convicted for crack cocaine were African American, even though two-thirds of users are white or Hispanic (Michelle Alexander). Those who use powder cocaine are typically affluent whites and use it recreationally, as opposed to those who use crack cocaine. Additionally, the elevation of the crime of possession of crack cocaine coupled with stricter eligibility requirements for low-income housing led to an increase in homelessness and poverty for African Americans during the previous Clinton administration.

Now I will be the first to say that Hillary should not be judged by the actions of her husband’s presidency. She is her own person and has openly said that she regrets her husband’s support and her own support of the Crime Bill. In her current campaign, she has taken a stance in support of crime reform. Despite this new stance, voters should not forget nor forgive her past. It is necessary to stop comparing Clinton to the Republican bigot, because socially, she looks like an angel. In order to get the true essence of Hillary Clinton, we must look at the policies she has previously supported, and what policies she has flipped her positions on and why. These are the minute details that voters need to know. If we keep comparing her to a far right social conservative, we will never comprehend the true nature of Hillary Clinton.