Why Hillary’s “Super Predator” Comment Matters

It was only a matter of time before President Clinton’s 2008 gaffes during Hillary’s initial presidential bid would re-appear. And re-appear they did when former President Bill Clinton tried to defend Hillary’s “super-predator” comment. First, I am appalled at press and media outlets referring to it as the super-predator “myth.” She made the statement! Secondly, referring to black kids as super-predators back then is like how people use “thug” now. Lastly, Bill Clinton trying to “inform” Black Lives Matter protesters was akin to Matt Damon trying to school Effie Brown, the only black woman filmmaker on his Project Greenlight, about diversity in Hollywood.

I have heard some black Hillary supporters say that they have never heard of the super-predator comment. Not only did she say it, she recently commented that she “regretted” making the statement. So why are people calling it the super-predator “myth?” This is not fabricated. In 1996, Hillary made comments about certain kids that were super-predators without conscience or empathy that need to be brought “to heel.”  You can watch the video. The problem is that although Columbine occurred, the term was never used in reference to white criminals. It was only used to refer to black urban kids and to justify “three strikes.” These policies were an extension of former President George H.W. Bush’s “zero tolerance.” Police in schools to bring our children “to heel” has simply lead to our children being assaulted and increasing the “school to prison” pipeline.

Therefore, Hillary’s comment holds more significance than simply referring to gang members. It was used to justify mass incarceration for many crack addicts and small dose marijuana users, not dealers. The focus was not rehabilitation of the addicts, but punitive punishment. Prisons are big business in the United States and people business is good! Mandatory minimums and longer sentences makes for huge profits. Have we forgotten about the judges that took bribes from private prisons to send juveniles away? Ironically, now that heroin has taken a foothold in white suburbia, those harsh sentencing guidelines are being struck down in favor of rehabilitation over prison. What about black and Latino addicted youth that were incarcerated? Well, they had to be brought to heel.

I am not saying that we do not have a problem with violence and gangs. My beloved hometown of Chicago is being ransacked by gang violence. However, for Hillary to pretend like her words did not have severe consequences on the black community is an insult.

Ben Jealous, former president of the NAACP, wrote an article on why Bill Clinton needed to apologize for his comments to Black Lives Matter protesters noting how this generation paid the cost for policies Clinton implemented. Like Hillary, instead of an apology, he “regretted” his statements and dismissed the protesters as “young people just trying to get good television.”

I have previously written that I am no fan of Hillary Clinton. Policies her husband, then President Clinton, implemented and she backed have negatively impacted the black community. Regardless of how well-intentioned the policies were meant to be, the fact remains that they caused more harm than intended good. When your good intentions harm someone, you don’t tell the injured party to forget they are harmed because you meant well. Nor do you callously dismiss them when they call on you to own up to the harm caused.

Your words have power for good and bad. Most injured people simply want an apology and not a back-handed one only when you have been forced to acknowledge the harm you caused. Why does Hillary feel she should be exempt for being held accountable for her words? Maybe she needs to be brought to heel.

Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.