Last updated on July 21st, 2016 at 05:50 pm
The awkward, racially charged joke by Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio about Black folks wasn’t funny. At least I didn’t find it funny.
A few days ago, during New York City’s annual Inner Circle Dinner, Clinton, in a skit, teased de Blasio for his endorsement coming late.
“I just have to say thanks for the endorsement, Bill. Took you long enough,” Clinton joked.
“Sorry Hillary, I was running on C.P. time,” de Blasio said to the audience, some of whom were shocked by his casual use of the term.
Clinton then joked that she wasn’t referring to the Black folks CPT, but rather “cautious politician time.”
A racial joke? Really? I expect better from a candidate for President of the United States. And I expect better from the mayor of New York.
CPT is widely known as ‘colored people time’: a joke that Black folks generally mention privately as a reason for being late.
The stereotypical joke reportedly left some in the audience chuckling and others gasping uncomfortably.
I get it. I would have probably gasped, too.
Hamilton actor Leslie Odom, Jr. was on stage with Clinton and de Blasio and said the joke was inappropriate.
“I don’t like jokes like that, Bill.”
I agree with Odom. The joke made its way to social media where some called it “painful” and “cringe worthy.”
At a time when Clinton is aggressively courting African Americans during her historic bid for the White House, it’s curious that Clinton would risk her popularity, perhaps, with some Black folks for a joke that some Black people would find offensive. De Blasio tried to straighten out the mess on CNN, saying that “people are missing the point of it.”
“It was clearly a staged show. It was a scripted show and the whole idea was to do the counter intuitive and say ‘cautious politician time,’” he said.
I don’t think people missed the point at all.
It was pretty straightforward to me: Clinton and de Blasio were making fun of Black people being late and stereotypically lazy.
Maybe they weren’t thinking clearly. Maybe they actually thought it was funny and would not be offensive. And perhaps they are both a bit racially tone deaf.
The ill-advised joke came just a few days after former President Bill Clinton publicly scolded young Black protestors in Philadelphia who were criticizing Hillary Clinton, then first lady, for using the term “super predators” during a 1996 speech about violent crime.
“You are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter,” the former president told protesters while wagging his finger.
It wasn’t so much what he said, but how he said it: In a stern professorial, condescending tone.
So now, days after Bill Clinton chides Black protestors, his wife, Hillary, who running for president, stands on stage in New York and participates in a racially charged skit.
But not all Black folks are offended.
Bakari Sellers, a CNN contributor and Clinton supporter, described the uproar as “much ado about nothing.”
“We are not worried about jokes that may not be funny,” said Sellers, who is Black. “This is not a big deal.”
It may not be a big deal in the long run, but it’s certainly not a good look today.