I think we can all agree there were some bad answers from both Democratic candidates at the CNN debate in Flint, Michigan. Clinton’s repeated denials to release her transcripts of Wall St. speeches with the ultra-lame excuse of “not until everyone else does, including the Republicans,” and Sanders inability to shut up when talking about guns which eventually allowed Clinton to bring up Sandy Hook and the murder of children with backpacks. There were plenty of other missteps, but let’s focus on a bad question in my opinion.
Don Lemon asked each candidate what their racial blind spot was. As Larry Wilmore pointed out on The Nightly Show on March, 7th, it’s a blind spot, you can’t see it. Unfortunately, the answers given by the candidates were platitudes and mostly bad. In essence, you are asking these candidates, “In what way are you a racist?” No offense, Mr. Lemon, but did you really expect two old white people to answer that question honestly? No white person in their right mind wants to be perceived as a racist, especially if they are running for President! However, Mr. Sanders did sort of reveal a blind spot with his answer, or the answer was just so badly worded it looked that way.
We should really stop the quizzing of these two candidates, either way, on how much they are going to do for minorities while in office. Rather we should be asking them how they plan to get police and justice reform through a resistant Congress if it exists, and what those specifics will be. We need to stop accepting generalities and platitudes from both candidates on this issue, because if we fix these two things it will vastly improve the lives of millions of people in this country. Many of those people will be minorities who are unfairly targeted and oppressed by a criminal and justice system that is working against them.
I think many of us can also agree that both of these candidates have a long history of working with minorities in this country. Though I know most of the questions in the debates and elsewhere focus on how they will work with the African American community, that is not the only minority group we should focus on. There are Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, Middle Easterners, and so many other people and groups that we should also work with who are actively being targeted by our counterparts in the political realm.
We already know we have bigots, racists, zealots and extremists running for the post of President on the Republican side. One candidate has been throwing Black people out of his rallies, calling to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country, all while building a wall along our southern border to keep out the Mexicans. Other supposedly rational Republicans have claimed they are a Christian first, called for religious tests to enter the country, and have spoken at a conference given by a radical who called for the extermination of “gays.” Never mind the sheer amount of crazies and zealots that he touts are supporting him.
Sure, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have issues that need to be addressed when it comes to minority communities. We have time to approach them and convey those concerns to them. The one thing we don’t need to do is cross them up to make either of them completely lose their support among the soon not to be minority groups of this country.
Why would I say that? It is very simple. What if we destroy Hillary’s support and she is the nominee? Minorities will vote in fewer numbers because they will trust neither candidate. Who could blame them? In that case, the Republican wins. Same goes if the candidate is Bernie Sanders. Don’t get me wrong, these two candidates need to be made aware of their faults and where they need to improve, but we shouldn’t be trying to tear them down with obviously bad questions about being racist.