Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Forget black. Was Bill Clinton the first female president?



Roland S. Martin
360 Contributor


Let me be clear: the statement issued by Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison that Bill Clinton was the first black president is one of the dumbest and most ridiculous comments ever uttered.

The fact that people actually go around stating that is nonsensical. And some are very serious!

Sure, he was comfortable around black folks, but that somehow gives him a full understanding of what it means to be black in America? Let him try to catch a cab with me and we'll see who is blacker.

But I digress.

Let's assume for a moment that we do look at the policies of President Clinton and accept that he did right by African Americans.

But what about women?

He appointed the first attorney general in Janet Reno. The first female secretary of state was Madeleine Albright. He had a number of female members of his cabinet, including Alexis Herman (Labor) and Hazel O'Leary (Energy).

So why isn't he called America's first female president?

Surely he did a lot for women, was comfortable around them, and enjoyed high approval ratings from women throughout his presidency.

If that's the barometer for calling him the nation's first black president, should he be able to wear a second crown?
Posted By CNN: 12:13 PM ET
  7 Comments
Roland,
I agree with you here. That statement saying Bill was the first black president was stupid!! Just because he did alot for the black community doesn't make him black!

And of course we all know what he did for women and how he loved them! LOL HMMM...loved 'em so much he helped himself to some! LOL But that doesn't make him the first woman prez either!

To say such stuff is ludicrous and people need to think before they actually speak! You know what the Bible says...be quick to listen but slow to speak! This statement shows why!!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 12:30 PM ET
Roland, I couldn't agree with you more. As a black female who grew up in a mostly white neighborhood, I found that statement somewhat insulting. Did Bill get doors closed in his face solely because of the color of his skin when applying for a job? Or trying to own Real Estate in a mostly white neighborhood? Did Bill's parents have to hold back their tears when their child came home from school with a fractured scull because of the color of her skin? I think not!

It is easy to say that you empathize with someone.... but he can't possibly know how it feels until you walk in the shoes of a person of color.

Jean, Los Angeles,CA
Posted By Anonymous Jean, Los Angeles, CA : 2:18 PM ET
Roland, I saw you on AC360 after the debate, and I think in taking the joking comment about Former President Clinton so seriously, you made yourself look a little foolish!
Of course, I can absolutely see where you're coming from. You very much identify through imagery- such is true in how much passion you have with every subject you weigh in on. Your expertise is appreciated, but stop and think! We know he's not black. I believe the question was along the same lines of when people ask if Sen. Obama is "black enough." Is it the "black experience" he's missed? How can that justly be measured? Is it solely up to the black community to decide?
Clinton identified with a lot of people. It's nothing to make light of because goodness knows we need more unity now.
At any rate, I hope you have better luck catching a cab. I certainly haven't any luck in that department either.
Posted By Anonymous Shannon, NYC : 3:07 PM ET
In 1994 850 thousand black africans were killed in a matter of months. This was during Bill Clinton administration. Do this sound like a friend of the black man?

Yuvonne from Alabama
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 11:12 PM ET
Roland,

I couldn't agree with you more. Why are we African Americans so impressed and grateful when a white man fights for us and gives support to our elevation? Any human being with a conscience would do the same. Let's not be overly grateful to the point of keeping ourselves in a box. Of course President Bill Clinton loves black people. "Everybody loves black people," once we love ourselves. It saddens me to see African American citizens and activists more concerned about their mortgage, taxes and friendship with the Clintons then they are about making history. What they went to jail for, were hosed down for and willing to give their lives for, they now take for granted. We're getting closer to having a minority become the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. This is not just about who would run the country better for the next 4-8 years, this is a breakthrough for every minority on the planet. This is a dream come true. Having a woman president would be historical but a former First Lady getting back into the White House after being there for 8 years is not historical, it's hysterical. Having Michelle Obama as the first black First Lady in America is progress.

Ayanna
Atlanta, Georgia
Posted By Anonymous Ayanna - Atlanta, Georgia : 3:32 PM ET
Roland- I think you need to take the Toni Morrison's statement into context..At that time, we had no Black candidate nor had there been a legitment candidate (no disrespect to Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton)- We all need to remember, before Barack came on the scene, The Clinton's had the interest of black folks at heart.. (and no I am not a Hillary supporter, just being objective)- For an ex-president to have one of his offices in HARLEM- my freind that says a lot...
Posted By Blogger Derek from Sacramento : 2:46 PM ET
It’s wonderful to know there are others who agree people should think before they speak. It is very disappointing to hear African Americans make such a ridiculous statement. President Clinton like most whites would definitely not want to be in our shoes. They will never fully understand our past and present struggles. Whatever the intent of the comment, it is so inappropriate and ridiculous. I am very disappointed in both Toni Morrison and Andrew Young’s statement.
Posted By Anonymous Brenda, Richmond, VA : 1:03 AM ET
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