Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Even Hillary's Coughing Fit Went Over Well in Harlem Last Night

It was that kind of night.

Rembert Browne admits he was somewhat skeptical, but Hillary won him over-he was shocked how well her speech went over.

Everything seemed to go over well for her last night.

"I thought we’d get that talk from Bernie, but it was Hillary,” the woman said as she took her seat in the restaurant. The man with her nodded his head in agreement, and then they sat in silence, attending to the world in their cell phones.

“Hey, soror,” a woman half-shouted a few minutes later, as she scooped food into her Styrofoam takeout box. The seated woman looked up, smiled, and responded, “Oh, hey, soror, you see Hillary?”

“She was real good, right,” the woman making her plate said, now at a different food station. All three nodded their heads, almost causing me to join in even though I was not a part of the conversation. All of this took place at Manna’s, the self-anointed “Best Soul Food Restaurant in the Village of Harlem.” I religiously get a four-vegetable plate there whenever I go to an event at the Schomburg Center, the New York Public Library’s hub for black culture, which sits on the corner of 135th and Malcolm X."

Charlie Rangel set the tone for her in introducing her:

"Prior to the posse entrance, I’d just finished a conversation about what I saw as the myth of successfully convincing black people to think one way — and vote one way — purely based off the endorsement of prominent black people. That myth of “the black vote” being a monolith that thinks the same way and wants the same thing. And how getting the endorsement of a collection of black preachers, or even the Congressional Black Caucus, doesn’t mean as much as it did in election cycles past."

"There was one moment in Rangel’s introduction, however, when his presence — and his actions — were undeniably infectious to everyone in the room, especially the Black Harlemites: “It’s been brought to my attention that some people have been following the secretary of State around to disrupt rather than to instruct. Please be informed, you are in the village of Harlem.”

"This was met with wild applause from the room, a big smile from Hillary, and a Holder whisper to Cuomo, followed by laughs from both men. It was one of the more street-cred-pumping moments this campaign has seen.You fuck with Hill, you fuck with Harlem. And it capped off a perfect warm-up act for Hillary — New York State, New York City, and Harlem supporting not only Hillary being the next president, but her as someone who could do a lot of good for black people."

As Rembert notes, this was Eric Dyson's rather controversial theory-that Hillary will do more for black folks than Obama.

"Then it hit you that Hillary was going to talk — at length — about black people, almost exclusively. She began with the normal rhetoric of just listing black people she knew, whom she spoke with, whom she associated herself with — but then it took a turn. When she began discussing Flint, the white woman Establishment presidential candidate said, “It's a horrifying story, but what makes it even worse is that it's not a coincidence that this was allowed to happen in a largely black, largely poor community. Just ask yourself: Would this have ever occurred in a wealthy white suburb of Detroit? Absolutely not.”

"It was that moment of, Oh shit, did Hillary come to play today? I looked down my row, and multiple people had that same goddamn face etched on their faces. She was making points about privilege that minorities always make, but it packed such a different punch — even if President Obama had said it — because she was chastising her own privilege, putting the privilege of whiteness front and center."

"The moment was a brief callback to the controversial opinion of scholar Michael Eric Dyson in his November 2015 New Republic piece, which said that Hillary Clinton will do more for black people than Barack Obama. And like Dyson further argues in his book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Obama uniquely had to comply with the expectations of whites. That’s not something Clinton will ever have to deal with to the same degree."

"As I've suggested in previous posts. in a way what you get from Dyson is that as President at least you can always be more critical of your own race than another race. Obama often had tough love talks to African-American audiences. Hillary can be tougher with white folks about lingering problems of racism."

But this is when you know she'd won Harlem:

"And then, out of nowhere, as she was really peaking, and the increasingly loud cheers in the room suggested that these points were not only felt but appreciated, she had one of those Hillary coughing fits."

"It’s like watching someone with the hiccups; you don’t really know when they’re going to end. But herein lies the beauty of the goodwill Hillary had built up in the room — the beauty of black people being an expressive bunch: The room started clapping loudly, almost to mask her coughs until she was done, to get her through this stretch. People were acting like it was church, when some member of the congregation gets up to speak but suddenly gets emotional or nervous. Shouts of “Take your time, Hill” and “You’re okay” rang from all corners of the room. After a few coughs, Hillary squeaked out, “I’ve got too much to say,” which was met with laughter. When some of the coughing halted, Hillary softly said a few sentences with her voice at about 10 percent strength, and after every few sentences, people cheered her on. There were even some “HILLARY, HILLARY” chants. I couldn’t believe it."

"This was followed by a second wave of coughs, more cheers and supportive messages from the crowd, which ended with Hillary saying, “Thank you, you’re a great amen chorus.” And a few minutes later, her voice was at full strength again. She was back."

"This was Hillary’s Flu Game. She’d just won Harlem."
As Dyson says: Yes She Can. 

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