On Tuesday I interviewed two activists out of Black Lives Matter chapters in Massachusetts who met with former Secy. of State Hillary Clinton. While they did have some words about their meeting with Clinton, ultimately they had a message for all the candidates: Get a real analysis on race.
When running for president, candidates are expected to be well-versed in many things: international relations, economics, education policy, immigration. But what about race?
Daunasia Yancey and Julius Jones, both activists with the Black Lives Matter movement, think it’s time for candidates to brush up on their racial analysis because the issues of black people are not something candidates should be playing by ear come 2016.
“When it comes to race in the United States, their racial analyses are bad. They are poor. They are uninformed. They’re trite, and it’s indicative that they don’t actually plan on governing a pluralist society,” Jones told The Root Tuesday. “You cannot be the leader of the United States and not have a top-notch, advanced racial analysis.”
Jones and Yancey were among a group of Black Lives Matter activists out of Massachusetts who confronted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a recent presidential campaign event in New Hampshire.
Initially shut out of the event, the activists met with Clinton afterward, during which they voiced their concerns about mass incarceration and drug policies, the most problematic of which, they said, was passed during the presidency of Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton.
Both Clintons have been distancing themselves of late from the Clinton Crime Bill (also known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994). The legislation is often credited with creating many of the problems around mass incarceration that Americans are dealing with today. After the bill’s passage, there was a boom in the prison population, leading to the United States’ status of holding nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners despite being less than 5 percent of the world’s population. Hillary Clinton gave an anti-mass-incarceration speech, highlighting disparities in race, earlier this year.
During the video from the New Hampshire meeting, Hillary Clinton and the activists briefly discuss policy, with Clinton asking what they want. Although there wasn’t much time for detail in the video, as an aide hurried things along, Yancey, the founder of Black Lives Matter Boston, broke down toThe Root what her group is looking for.
“What we want to see is divestment from the prison-industrial complex and reinvestment into community solutions,” said Yancey, highlighting specifically anti-poverty initiatives. “What we’ve seen back in ’94 was a huge divestment from HUD [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] and public housing and an investment into prisons. Seventeen billion was divested from HUD and put into prison construction. That’s not acceptable. That’s not a solution. … That’s what we are talking about when we talk about the need for a new analysis.”