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George E. Curry of NNPA and Blackpressusa
Published: 22 August 2007

Clinton is condescending to African Americans. Which one? Billary. Translation: Both of them – Bill and Hillary. I am sick of it and even sicker over how Blacks respond to what should be perceived as a slap in the face.
I suspect much of this nonsense began with Toni Morrison proclaiming that Bill Clinton was the first Black president. Lesser lights in the 'hood put it another way: "He messes around on his wife, he plays a saxophone and he's always late. He must be a brother." Come on, don't act like you haven't heard that.
And in a meeting in Las Vegas with the Trotter Group, an organization of Black columnists, Hillary joked that she is involved in "an interracial marriage."
White woman, P-l-e-a-s-e (We can't say that other word anymore).
It's time to call a halt to this foolishness. Granted, Bill Clinton looked great after four years of attacks on civil rights by George Herbert Walker Bush, who appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. But he wasn't and isn't The Great White Hope. We should not forget that Bill Clinton was a key player in the Democratic Leadership Conference, whose main purpose was to nudge the Democratic Party to the right (they called it the center.
Clinton got elected by taking the issues of crime and welfare away from Republicans and portraying himself as tough on both issues. At the same time, he somehow convinced African Americans that he was their best friend, a contention that does not square with his record. I'm not saying Bill Clinton was a bad president. I am saying he was not a great one on civil rights.
If any president deserves to be called Black – and that's a big if – it was Lyndon B. Johnson. Working with Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, more progressive legislation was passed during Johnson's presidency than under any other administration. John F. Kennedy is the one who got his photograph hung in Black living rooms next to pictures of a blue-eyed Jesus, but it was Johnson, assuming the office upon the assassination of JFK, who did the most for African Americans.
This isn't my only complaint against the Clintons. Whether it was Bill Clinton singing all stanzas of "Lift Every Voice," known as the Black National Anthem, or Hillary speaking in Selma to observe an anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," it was clear that they were no strangers to Black America. 
But where were they when the original civil rights battle took place? Bill not only dodged the draft, he dodged the Civil Rights Movement. And so did Hillary.
With that record, why does Bill Clinton think he can attend the grand opening of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's new headquarters in Atlanta and lecture SCLC officials on what their agenda should be?
"America needs the SCLC as much today as it did 50 years ago," he said. "The agenda for the next 50 years is to marry civil rights with a campaign against poverty and for peace."
If he had not been a Billy-come-lately to civil rights, Clinton would have known that there is no need for SCLC to marry civil rights with a campaign against poverty and for peace because there was never a separation, let alone a divorce.
While I am dealing with presidential candidates, Barack Obama also deserves a swift kick in the butt.
Playing off the stupid non-question as to whether he is "Black enough," Obama arrived late at the NABJ convention in Las Vegas and quipped, "I want to apologize for being late, but you guys keep asking whether I am Black enough."
That was a funny line but racial stereotypes are nothing to laugh at. Considering that Obama is going all-out to defy stereotypes of African Americans, it was unwise for him to dignify, even in a joking manner, the notion that African Americans have a monopoly on being late.
To illustrate just how this "are you Black enough" ridiculousness has gotten out of hand, during one NABJ session, CNN Anchor Suzanne Malveaux asked Hillary Clinton, "Are you Black enough?"
The real question isn't whether a presidential candidate is Black enough. The question is: Will he or she do enough to help Black people?

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach.

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