by G. Brown
It’s as much a presidential candidate practice as visiting a Black church during the campaign or kissing babies at a political stump— the Democratic presidential nominee addressing the National Association of Black Journalists Convention (NABJ) to talk to and field questions from minorities members in the media. This year’s convention in Washington D.C. was a joint event of both Black and Hispanic journalists who sat and listened to keynote address from Clinton. Fresh off the heels of officially receiving the Democratic nomination, Clinton expounded on her political platform addressing issues like the unemployment rate and the huge gaps between Whites versus Backs and Latinos. Clinton’s solution includes dedicating $5 billion to train and support for people transitioning from jail or prison back into the workforce and another $20 billion to create jobs for young people.
Of course, no speech to this audience would have been much of a speech with addressing the issue of racism. Clinton said of her opponent, “We need to stand up as a country and say that Donald Trump doesn’t represent who we are and what we believe.”
After her brief speech, the floor opened to questions that focused on issues including immigration, deportation, the email controversies, racism and how Clinton would address a nation where so many mistrust her? Key issues that are at the core of many communities–some issues targeting more communities than others,but one person not happy at all with the line of questions was Tariq Nasheed. The author, film producer and media personality posted his complaints about the NABJ event saying:
A lot of posters responded with negative comments against particular journalists like TV One’s Roland Martin who was accused of “pandering” to Clinton who another poster called”the female arm of white supremacy”. Others commented that the journalists were soft on Clinton and that she”gets more of a pass because she can do the wobble”, or nae nae.
But other posters moved beyond just name calling and labeling and gave more specific questions they wanted answered. One person said she wanted to hear more questions about employment discrimination( which Clinton did address briefly), federal funding for public schools, child support reform and funding for HBCUs. ALL viable questions that demand answers which you are not going to get at event packed with hundreds of people and a limited amount of time. You may not even get satisfaction in hearing the answers you want addressed in a televised debate because again, there are constraints of time.
We all have questions brought about by our own private lives that we probably feel are being ignored, but is it fair to just complain that Black and Latino journalists are part of the problem? People comment that they are puppets being hand fed by the establishment and so are nothing more than Oreo’s going along with the program. Sure, some are guilty of that crime, but some are dedicated journalists who want to get to the heart of issues that are hitting in our communities and tell those stories as they observe them. People like Jarrett Hill who was an out of work Black journalist, but was the first to spot that Melania Trump plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech.
The journalists from Louisiana want answers about what happened to Alton Sterling…journalists from Baltimore want answers about what happened to Korryn Gaines…journalists from Florida wants answers to questions affecting segments of their population like senior citizens. Speaking engagements like the one at the NABJ are nothing more than photo ops. They are staged junkets where the candidate is trying to win votes by appearing to be allied with the group in question or the segment of population they represent. It’s the campaign trail and while some questions, whether predetermined or not, maybe fielded, every issue won’t be addressed. If you want to know where a candidate truly stands on an issue, visit their website or tweet or write to them directly.
I’m not impressed that Clinton carries hot sauce in her purse; nor by seeing Trump pictured with a bucket of KFC in front him, or when local and state politicians visit my church the Sunday before an election. We know we don’t want the dog and pony show that has become politics as usual, but if the economy, racism, poverty, health care, crime and education aren’t the REAL issues then what else is?
Here’s the transcript of Clinton’s NABJ address and Q&A and the video is below. Take a look at it and let us know what you think are the real issues and exactly what do you want from the next president?