…Princeton University’s Melissa Harris-Lacewell thinks not. The Associate professor of politics and African American Studies believes that Hillary’s “Scarlett O’Hara act” is isolating her from Black women, making it harder for us to see Hillary as a candidate who can identify with the Black female experience:
“Black women voters are rejecting Hillary Clinton because her ascendance is not a liberating symbol. Her tears are not moving. Her voice does not resonate. Throughout history, privileged white women, attached at the hip to their husband’s power and influence, have been complicit in black women’s oppression. Many African American women are simply refusing to play Mammy to Hillary. ” (read the rest of the article at the Root)
As a young Black female voter, I have gone back and forth with my perceptions of Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate. I have paid close attention to the campaigns of both democratic candidates. I’ve heard many critics say that Hillary and Obama aren’t all that different but when it comes to connecting with Black female voters (among other issues), Hillary comes short.
In May of last year, I had the opportunity to attend a Hillary rally. It was still very early in the campaign, but as a then-undecided voter I decided to go to the rally as a way of educating myself about the candidates.
While there were a number of other African Americans at the the rally, what struck me was the tone of the rally itself. Most of the women who spoke were just like Hillary: middle aged white, and fairly well to do women. In fact, the tone of the rally–called “Club 44” perhaps to appeal to a younger audience–wasn’t young at all; it felt like a bunch of middle-aged white women threw together an event for younger voters in an effort to seem “cool” and “hip.” Shortly following the rally, the Washington Post offered the same critique.
Early on, Hillary established herself as a candidate whose voice and views did not resonate with women of color. I have yet to get the feeling that Hillary’s perspective speaks to me as a Black woman–and it seems that many Black voters, regardless of gender, share this sentiment.