We have all seen the video of the young black woman who was escorted from a private $500-a-plate Hillary Clinton fundraiser in South Carolina Wednesday.
Ashley Williams, who stood up and confronted the leading Democratic candidate with a sign containing the words from a 1996 speech supporting the now-debunked theory of “superpredators,” stood up and said, “I’m not a superpredator, Hillary Clinton.”
Williams then asked Clinton to explain the words on the sign that read, “We have to bring them to heel.”
Clinton, who was visibly annoyed at the interruption, snapped, “You know what? Nobody’s ever asked me before. You’re the first person to do that, and I’m happy to address it.” But alas, she did not, and Williams was summarily escorted out.
The young activist uploaded a video outside a South Carolina restaurant the next day and spoke passionately about her actions, beginning, “My name is Ashley and I shut down a private Hillary Clinton fundraiser last night … and one of the reasons I did that was because I really wanted Hillary Clinton to be confronted by her own words … ”
“She said that ‘We need to bring them to heel,’” continued Williams, referring to a 1996 quote by the then-first lady: “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘superpredators’—no conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
“In this quote she is pathologizing and demonizing and also criminalizing black youth and other youth of color in terms of how they participate in criminal activity or how they are involved in criminal activity. I found these comments really racist and inappropriate. And also untrue,” says Williams.
“Ultimately, the hashtag came out of thinking about #WhichHillary Clinton are we getting?” Williams continues. “So are we getting this 1994 Hillary Clinton who pathologizes these black youth in this very criminal way? Are we getting the Hillary Clinton who made inappropriate comments about President Obama on the campaign trail, being a black person running for president?
“I feel there’s been a sense of idolization with Hillary Clinton and other people running for president … I wanted her to apologize to black people and other people of color who have been affected by mass incarceration in a very real, material way. And I also wanted her to take responsibility for the ways in which she was complicit in those things. I still haven’t gotten an apology.”
Clinton, in fact, did apologize by sending a statement to the Washington Post on Thursday, saying, “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.”