PHILADELPHIA — In a visit to a black church Wednesday, Hillary Clinton told the predominately African-American audience that it is the “responsibility of white people” to end systemic racism and incorrectly stated a popular hip-hop phrase in saying we will “ride and die.”
Clinton was visiting the St. Paul’s Baptist Church along with “The Mothers of the Movement” and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The Mothers of the Movement consisted of mothers who had lost loved ones in police shootings. The panel included the mother of Sandra Bland and the fiancee of Sean Bell.
The stated topics of the event were police brutality, mass incarceration, gun violence and racism. “We have to be honest about systemic racism and particularly the responsibility of white people, not just people in public life but all of us,” Hillary said.
She later said at the event, “We all have implicit biases. They are almost in the DNA going back probably millennia. And what we need to do is be more honest about that and surface them.” Clinton added, “I don’t have the answers, I’m not a behavioral psychologist or anything, but I think that needs to be done in every community kind of setting we can find that is open to doing it.”
Before Clinton spoke at the event a group of protesters gathered outside. They were a part of an organization called Philly R.E.A.L. Justice Coalition. They hammered Clinton on her support for her husband’s 1994 crime bill and they demanded that Hillary pledge that as president she would pardon all those convicted due to the law.
Clinton herself brought up an atonement of sorts for the bill saying that we must “finally [end] the disparity between crack and powder cocaine” sentencing. The 1994 bill has a 100 to 1 gram sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.
One mother on the panel said that it was a positive judgement of Clinton’s character “anytime you have to go back to 94” to find something negative about a person. This same woman said that since she has Hillary’s “back” that she expects Clinton to “ride or die” for her. Ride or die is a common phrase in rap, in part popularized by Tupac. The phrase refers to a woman who will stick with her man no matter what.
Clinton responded, “I think that these women are asking us all to ride and die.”