“I’ll tell you another story about a place where black lives matter," Bill Clinton said to a gathering of Hillary supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters today in Philadelphia. "Africa.”
This comment was one of many unfortunate responses the former president made at a tense campaign stop for his wife. Clinton repeatedly tried to shush the small crowd as he attempted to justify the 1994 Crime Bill that ushered in an era of disproportionate punishment for minorities convicted for non-violent offenses. Unphased, the Black Lives Matters protestors called on Clinton to answer for his wife's onetime support of the now-debunked idea of "superpredators."
The superpredator concept was commonly used in the mid-'90s to justify longer, harsher jail sentences for minorities, reasoning that they were predisposed to violent tendencies and near impossible to rehabilitate.
"I don't know how you would describe the gang leaders who got 13-year-olds hopped up on crack and sent them out in the streets to murder other African-American children," Clinton said amidst cheers from Hillary supporters. "Maybe you thought they were good citizens, [Hillary] didn't."
Clinton also made a point of saying that Hillary did not have a direct vote or hand in the passage of the Crime Bill, which is true, but he missed the protestor's reason for bringing the issue up in the first place.
Even though the original perpetrator of the superpredator myth has since admitted that he was wrong, Hillary has yet to fully own up to her words and reflect on the role that she played in drumming up public support for policies that disproportionately punished minorities.
Bill, in his capacity as a voice for Hillary's campaign, didn't do much better. "You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter," he said, making a point to play on the Black Lives Matter movement's name. "Tell the truth."
We've reached out to the Clinton campaign and will update if and when they respond.