The term “white privilege” did not go over well with Hillary Clinton’s campaign staff during a brainstorming meeting related to a draft speech for the Democratic candidate at the National Urban League.
In a July 29, 2015 email that surfaced from the Wikileaks John Podesta email dump Wednesday, Megan Rooney, who introduced herself as the new campaign speechwriter, pitched first draft remarks for campaign staffers to give their input on.
After reviewing the speech, a few chimed in citing their discomfort over the words “white privilege.”
“Will be interesting to see if HRC keeps the line below in. made me a bit uncomfortable but that is probably the point. The term ‘white privilege’ could have press implications. But those of us who benefited from a lifetime of white privilege have a special obligation,” wrote John Anzalone, the campaign’s pollster.
Political consultant Jim Margolis appeared to agree saying, “Recognizing that we need to hear from Marlon and others on this point, i just want to express nervousness on the phrase white privilege. No problem with expressing the point, i just fear how those words could be used later. I’m open to others saying this is a ‘must have’, but i’d like to discuss it.”
Clinton campaign spokeswoman Karen Finney suggested using another phrase. “I agree, I’m comfortable with systemic racism, I don’t think she needs to say white privilege and felt like the first part of the speech the tone felt a little too apologist.”
Ultimately, Clinton did not use the term “white privilege” in her speech before the Urban League, but she had already alluded to it previously before the NAACP and went on to speak about it in later remarks to the Urban League beginning in 2016.