At a Tuesday campaign stop in Minnesota, Hillary Clinton was stopped by a young Somali-American voter who had some questions about the Dem frontrunner’s past remarks about race and diversity policy. Though it’s difficult to hear, the moment gets measurably more tense when Clinton says, “You know what dear, we have a different opinion,” regarding Abdi Warsame, a Somali-American Minneapolis City Council representative, which does not seem to impress the young woman.
As the clearly skeptical but quite calm voter speaks with Clinton, Mark Dayton, the Governor of Minnesota,* tries to usher her away. “We gotta give somebody else a chance” to speak to Clinton, he says, clearly trying to diffuse a situation that seems to be going down an unfavorable path for her. Clinton, though, keeps talking as the young woman expresses her dissatisfaction with Warsame. “Well, why don’t you go run for something, then?” she says.
Phrased any other way, in any other context, Clinton might have been encouraging a young woman to run for office. In this case, though, she comes off as lightweight hostile to an even-keeled black voter who has some very valid questions about Clinton’s history with black constituents—including, according to The Hill, a question about her damaging 1996 speech calling black youth “super-predators” (which Clinton recently denounced).
The voter responds with what sounds like, “I am working for a Somali American. Thank you.”
“Well, good!” says Clinton, laughing awkwardly.
The not-quite-confrontation comes at a time when Clinton is trying to appeal to black voters while atoning for past actions that alienated them—actions that aren’t easily forgotten. The “super-predator” speech in particular was part of her public support for then-President Bill Clinton’s tough 1994 crime bill—which led to the current epidemic of mass incarceration for blacks and Latinos that plagues the United States to this day.
Last week, after a Black Lives Matter protestor in South Carolina confronted her about the “super-predator” speech, Clinton told the Washington Post in a statement, “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today... We need to end the school-to-prison pipeline and replace it with a cradle-to-college pipeline.”
Update, 1:45 PM: The Minneapolis City Pages identifies the woman in the video as Stacey Rosana, a Black Lives Matter activist and Democratic organizer who is working on a campaign for Ilhan Omar, a progressive, 33-year-old Somali-American refugee running for Minneapolis House District 60B. If Omar wins, she will become the first Somali-American Muslim woman ever elected to public office.
*Correction: an earlier version of this post referred to the man ushering away the young constituent as “a man who appears to be a Clinton campaign aide.” He is, in fact, Mark Dayton, the Governor of Minnesota. Jezebel regrets the error.
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