Yesterday, former U.S. President Bill Clinton addressed the NAACP National Convention. During his address, he acknowledged that he was wrong for increasing sentences for drug offenses.
In Michelle Alexander's brilliant masterpiece, The New Jim Crow, she fully explains how truly wrong Clinton was. He paved the way for the New Jim Crow. Ms. Alexander states that:
Despite the jaw-dropping impact of the "get tough" movement on the African American community, neither the Democrats nor the Republicans revealed any inclination to slow the pace of incarceration. To the contrary, in 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton vowed that he would never permit any Republican to be perceived as tougher on crime than he...Ms. Alexander further asserts that Clinton "ended welfare as we know it" and established a "life-time ban on eligibility for welfare and food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense-including simple possession of marijuana."
Once elected, Clinton endorsed the idea of a federal "three strikes and you're out" law...The $30 billion crime bill sent to President Clinton in August 1994 was hailed as a victory for the Democrats, who "were able to wrest the crime issue from the Republicans and make it their own." The bill created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and expansion of state and local police forces. Far from resisting the emergence of the new caste system, Clinton escalated the drug war beyond what conservatives imagined possible a decade earlier. As the Justice Policy Institute has observed, "the Clinton Administration's 'tough on crime' policies resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history." (page 55)
Yet, this is the man that y'all adore. This is the man that y'all call the first black president. Smoking weed, playing the saxophone, being raised in a single parent household and being a womanizer don't make you black or "colored". Such a suggestion is racist.
While Clinton was locking up massive numbers of black people, his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, stood by his side and supported those oppressive policies. We need much more than an acknowledgement of the obvious. We need clear answers to tough questions. We need reforms to correct the disaster that Bill Clinton helped create.