How do you follow up on a performance like Barack Obama’s in turning out the black vote. It will be hard to repeat.
Some people not only wondered whether she will get the black vote, but whether she enjoys it. F. Michael Higginbotham wrote and interesting article that makes the claim that she does deserve to be supported by blacks.
He points to her speech at Columbia University on April 29th. She spoke about a number of causes for the problems in Baltimore and other issues around the country and her proposed solutions. She spoke about the racial inequities in the criminal justice system but just as importantly in the US in general and in the areas of politics and the economy.
Although it has become obvious to most Americans over the last year with Baltimore, Feguson and unfortunately many other incidents, she pointed out the poor relationship between the law enforcement and minorities. She also commented on the dramatic disparity in arrests, sentencing and imprisonment by race. Black men are much more likely to be stopped, searched, and charged and they receive longer prison sentences than white men for the same crime.
One solution she suggested, which has been at the top of many people’s minds recently is body cameras for police. But, she said there were problems that were even more important than relations with the police. It was the lack of employment for black men. In Baltimore, the black unemployment rate is twice that of whites’. In the 20-24 year old age range it is 3 times as high. More disturbing is that the median net worth of whites in the US is 18 times that of blacks, which is higher than in South Africa during apartheid.
Economic and Educational Opportunities
She pointed out that more economic opportunities are needed and better education. She also suggested more support for poor families so they can better give a leg up to the children.
In a speech last summer, she also condemned voter identification laws and restrictions that had a greater impact on the minority community. She was very critical of the Shelby County vs. Holder decision by the Supreme Court which invalidated part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. She pointed out that the Voting Rights Act has done more democratization than almost any piece of legislation. Within 4 years of becoming law, 800,000 new voters registered, mostly black.