Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made a classic white person mistake during a campaign speech on July 24. While on the subject of race relations in the United States, Clinton bluntly stated “Let’s be honest, black men in hoodies are scary.” Yikes. To make matters worse she expanded on that statement by explaining that even “open-minded” white people are frightened by a black man wearing a hoodie. But to be fair, Clinton is probably the most open-minded white person Clinton knows.
This gaffe comes shortly after Black Lives Matter protesters stole the spotlight at a Presidential Forum, to which Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley responded “All lives matter,” which universally translates to “I have missed the point of this movement.” No one within the movement is saying only black lives matter or that white lives don’t matter, what’s being said is black lives are being taken for no reason as a.
result of racial tension while white lives are not.
Clinton’s admission of black men in hoodies being “scary” illustrates the rift between black Americans and white Americans. In 2012, 17-year old Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Because Martin was a black teenager wearing a hoodie, walking around Zimmerman’s neighborhood, Zimmerman saw a threat where there was none and ended up shooting Martin. Trayvon Martin died because someone felt that a black person in a hoodie was, just like Clinton said, scary.
This mentality, of assuming black people are dangerous, is a huge problem that continues to prevent the progress of race relations in the US. The truth is, there’s nothing scary about a black man in a hoodie. But, there is something scary about assuming there is.
Clinton’s statement about her feelings on black people really demonstrates how severely out of touch the 2016 candidates are. If they want votes, especially from young people, they’re going to have to get with the times.