bell hooks: author activist and feminist. She’s a core text in gender and ethnic studies curriculums across the world, and she’s just finished her three-year residency with The New School in New York. As part of her last weeklong visit to the school, hooks sat with two other writer activists for a discussion around confronting loss and moving from pain to power.
A couple weeks ago, someone took the time to pull the section of this talk on Hillary Clinton, which has since started to blow up on Facebook. Just in time for this month’s huge New York primary on April 19, where a whopping 247 delegates are at stake.
Over commitment of the US military abroad
Hillary is often described as “hawkish,” in the way that politicians with a certain pension for war are described. As Secretary of State, Hillary backed intervention in Libya, even when 63% of the American public said the U.S has no responsibility to intervene in the fighting in Libya, according to the Pew Research Center.
Beyond Libya, (and beyond her over 13-year-old oft-quoted vote for military engagement in Iraq), Hillary pushed for escalated military intervention (including drone strikes) repeatedly throughout her tenor as Secretary of State.
I’m a low-income student. I’m not convinced Hillary is here for me.
I can’t ignore the added expense of being a woman when I stare at razors and pain meds in my local CVS (shout out to the pink tax). My own economic mobility, and that of women everywhere, is in constant danger as wealth gaps increase between genders and socioeconomic groups. And as a Black woman? Don’t get me started.
Historically, Clinton’s biggest donors have been banks and corporations, which were in part responsible for the greatest economic collapse of our lives. A prime-time candidate protecting the interests of their biggest contributors is not unheard of, so it’s easy to become uncomfortable when one of Clinton’s top donors is the Lehman Brothers, known for declaring the largest bankruptcy filing in American history in 2008.
The recession of 2008 was triggered by the collapse of a housing bubble in the United States, after the price of housing had risen unsustainably and peaked in early 2006. The practice of subprime lending, or making loans to people who are likely to be unable to repay them in the timetable indicated in the agreement, was part of what allowed that bubble in inflate.
At the very least, subprime lending is a capitalistic exploitation that played a part in the biggest recession of our lifetimes. These banks engaged in a decades long process of disproportionately giving harmful housing deals to Black peoples, who are hit hardest in times of economic trouble.
Although I appreciate her stance on lessening the burden of student debt, she has a vested interest in maintaining rapports with certain contributors who might not work in our favor. Besides, her plan isn’t the radical overhaul of the education system that this country so desperately needs.
The whole thing about the environment…
“The reality of climate change is unforgiving no matter what the deniers say.” – Hillary Clinton
Yes. I agree, Hillary.
The problem here once again comes to her top donors. Hillary uses climate change as a significant part of her platform, understandably and thankfully. The rhetoric in the Republican race that dismisses the gravity of climate change is terrifying and really not something that can be safely entertained. We like to pretend like it’s not that deep because it doesn’t impact us on the daily, but y’all. It’s that deep.
Meanwhile, lobbyists for companies like Chevron and Exxon have bundled tens of thousands of dollars each for the Clinton campaign. With climate change being such a huge issue, I’m not ready for this to be one more broken campaign promise.
I’m high key uncomfortable with feminist thought that fails to be intersectional about this. I fully believe Clinton says things for political expediency. Do I think that in 1996, Hillary Clinton thought that there was such thing as a child who is a “super predator?” I doubt it. But did she say it to push an agenda? Sure did. So it doesn’t matter what she believed, her actions are vastly more important. She fed into this violent racialization of Black people to make a point, and it’s beyond gross.
She can say all she wants about Flint, but I’m not convinced. It’s just too little too late.
Flint’s water crisis is an example of the combined effects of intersecting issues that impact communities of color. pic.twitter.com/PMc9CfeoJj
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 7, 2016
“I can no longer be a Hillary Clinton supporter in the name of feminism,” bell hooks said in that talk at The New School. “There are certain things that I don’t want to cosign in the name of feminism that I think are militarist, imperialist, white supremacist whether they are conducted by women to men.”
Took her a while, but she got here. Hooks calls for compassion for ourselves as women go through the “political turmoil” of being fiercely hopeful for a candidate who is a woman advocating for us along each of our identities, not just womanhood.
That being said, I’m super skeptical whenever certain criticisms of Hillary Clinton surface. From complaining about her voice to the obsession with her clothing, the sexist criticism is tiring.
It is still our duty as intersectional womanists to recognize people and institutions dismissing Hillary because of her identity as a woman, but to criticize the policies is also necessary. And it’s okay for us to draw that line.
As primaries continue to sweep past us, it’s vital that we’re taking a look at the big picture. We have to consider the sort of world we want to live in, and who is most prepared to get us there.
As Hillary Clinton continues to do exceptionally well with Black voters, I challenge you to interrogate what it means to vote for her. Let’s have the discussion with our families and be part of an engaged electorate out to make a difference.