Back in 1994 former President Bill Clinton spearheaded the Omnibus Crime Bill. This bill cost $30 Billion dollars and helped to rapidly accelerate the growth of the prison industrial complex.
The bills provisions included,
1. $10.8 billion dollars in matching federal funds to local government's to hire 100,000 new Police Officers in 5 years.
2. $10 billion dollars for the construction of new Federal prisons.
3. An expansion in the number of federal crimes to which the death penalty applied from two to fifty-eight (the bill also eliminated an existing statute that prohibited the execution of mentally incapacitated defendants).
4. A three strikes proposal which mandated a life sentence for anyone convicted of 3 "violent" felonies.
5. A section that allowed children as young as 13 to be tried as adults.
These are all provisions which overwhelmingly effected the Black community, and the impact is still being felt today.
When President Clinton came into office in 1993, the federal, state, and local prison population was 1.7 million. By the time he left office, the prison population grew to 2 million. This is the highest rate of incarceration and the highest number of people behind bars in the history of the world.
During President Clinton's 2 terms the stock market was at an all time high, there was a boon in the economy, and he was able to survive scandal's and even impeachment because of it. As long as people were able to thrive and eat well, the public didn't seem to care what he did.
Few things in life have annoyed me more than when African- Americans started calling Bill Clinton the first Black President. The fact that some of us are so eager to embrace the first white president in decades who has shown us attention and seems to embrace us, is appalling. African-Americans being in love with Bill Clinton is like an innocent girl running off with the first man who shows her some attention, and then ends up getting turned out. Just because he is the first President who sought to ingratiate himself to the African-American community does not entitle him to a free pass. Playing the sax on The Arsenio Hall show was the political equivalent of jumping the shark, and a lot of us fell for it. He seemed to relish being accepted by the Black community, and the black community was in awe of the fact that he did.
In October of 1998, esteemed-author Toni Morrison wrote a piece in the New Yorker in which she stated that Clinton is, "Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas."
Miss Morrison did not seem very optimistic at the time in reference to there being an African-American President in our future. In fact her glass seemed to be half empty. The question is. What was she drinking before it got that way? Really?! Is this the criteria for being black? It has been said that she may have been taken out of context. But as far as I'm concerned there is no amount of spin that can clean up this statement. Wrong is wrong, and in embracing former President Clinton many in the African-American community have embraced a fallacy.