Remember that awful, awkward comedy skit that Hillary Clinton and Mayor DeBlasio did at a New York dinner over the weekend, the one where they made a joke about CPT, i.e. colored people’s time? Clinton has actually faced some backlash over that, enough that she was asked about it by Cosmopolitan magazine in an interview published yesterday:
Some people have been upset by a racially charged joke that you and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made over the weekend, especially in context of a recent altercation between Bill Clinton and Black Lives Matter supporters. Upon hearing the criticisms, do you think the joke was inappropriate or, as Mayor de Blasio said, are people “missing the point”?
Well, look, it was Mayor de Blasio’s skit. He has addressed it, and I will really defer to him because it is something that he’s already talked about.
It’s encouraging to see Clinton was actually asked about this, but her answer completely passes the buck. Some possible follow up questions Cosmopolitan didn’t ask: In what sense was this DeBlasio’s skit? Did he write it? Even if DeBlasio wrote it, didn’t you, Hillary, read it, agreed to do it and then go on stage and read the lines? Doesn’t that make you responsible? If a GOP candidate decided to go on stage in black face, would it be reasonable to blame the make-up artist?
As for DeBlasio, it’s true that he has talked about this. He told CNN, “It was clearly a staged show. It was a scripted show. The whole idea was to do the counterintuitive by saying ‘cautious politician time.’ Every actor thought it was a joke on a different convention. That was the whole idea. I think people are missing the point here.”
DeBlasio’s answer makes it sound as if people are somehow missing the joke and, by explaining it, he is eliminating any reason to object to it. In fact, all he has done is confirm (as I wrote here) that this was scripted and that it was indeed a reference to “a different convention,” i.e. a racial stereotype known as colored people’s time. In other words, it was exactly what the critics thought it was. DeBlasio’s explanation doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.
Perhaps that’s why DeBlasio’s office subsequently released an apologetic statement saying, “In an evening of satire, the only person this was meant to mock was the mayor himself, period. Certainly no one intended to offend anyone.” Translation: He wasn’t making fun of black people he was making fun of himself. DeBlasio’s wife is black so maybe he thought that gave him some leeway to make the joke. Maybe it does.
What’s Hillary Clinton’s excuse?
For the record, what I wrote before about this topic remains true. This was a joke and probably no one at the event was truly offended by it. That said, the hypocrisy and double standard on display are galling to behold. Had a GOP candidate done this it would be dominating the headlines until a sufficiently obsequious apology had been offered. In Clinton’s case, someone finally dared to ask her about this and she brushed it off. There was no eagerness to really pin her down. Finally, you have to laugh at the sight of Hillary Clinton, the smart, qualified, feminist ready to lead the world telling a reporter: ask the guy I was with, he was responsible for all of my actions.