Or, to modify the expression: “You say ‘bold’ — I say ‘milquetoast banality’.”
“You” in this case refers to Tom McKay and/or his editor over at mic.com, who just published an article about Hillary Clinton’s speech yesterday under the click-baity title:
In One Quote, Hillary Clinton Just Took a Bold Stance on Race in America
Let me spare you the trouble of clicking through. According to the article^, Clinton’s so-called “bold stance” consisted of saying the following:
…our problem is not all kooks and Klansmen, it’s also the cruel joke that goes unchallenged. It’s the offhand comment about not wanting ‘that kind of person’ in the neighborhood.
Dunno how bold that sounds to you? Mic.com seems quite pleased — they superimposed the quote over an image of Clinton’s face and everything.
To me. . . well, I’ma let Captain Janeway express my thoughts on the leadership contained therein:
Only in a political atmosphere where not one GOP candidate would at first acknowledge that the killings at Mother Emanuel were racially motivated (the stand-out copouts for me were Santorum calling it an assault on the “religious liberty” of Christians, Rand Paul blathering about people’s misunderstanding of “salvation,” and Huckabee declaring today that the government-sanctioned flying of a
traitor nation’s Confederate flag in 2015 is “not an issue” worthy of comment by presidential candidates) — I repeat: ONLY in such cowardly and deceitful company can one deem “bold” the obvious truth that many individual racists exist who would never think of slaughtering a bible study group.
We need — we should expect — we must DEMAND — so much more from our politicians than rhetoric that locates the problem of racism solidly within the words and actions of individuals. Where is the structural analysis? Where are the policy solutions?
Exhorting us all to speak politely in front of our neighbors and coworkers really does feel like an issue unworthy of candidate commentary.
There is a common plaint in the US: that we need to talk about race but don’t know how. It’s just so haaaard to talk about, people say — even in the midst of the prolific public discourse on race such that has been happening since Ferguson. It seems to be an insoluble issue. . . and it is.
Because it’s the wrong issue.
We don’t need to talk more about “race” — we need to talk about white supremacy. How it supports and is supported by every public system and institution. The ways it structures the lives and opportunities of every person, how it expands or contracts the horizon of those opportunities before any of us are even born. What we are going to do to dismantle it and its accreted historical effects.
That is the political conversation I am waiting for. That is the sound bite that I will be willing to call “bold.”
And so, politicians — in the borrowed words of a borrowing poet — I exhort you: HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME.
We’re begging you.
It’s effing time.
[^ EDIT: Having now watched Clinton’s comments in their entirety, I am even more baffled by the editorial choice to highlight this particular comment — which is probably the least interesting or important statement in the entire speech, and comes after a significant section on the persistence of institutionalized racism.]