New York magazine has an exclusive story about Hillary Clinton's meeting with the Black Lives Matter protesters in New Hampshire:
Clinton started off with a standard politician answer, recapping her lifelong advocacy for minority children, then offered some insight into how she wants to frame the issue on the campaign trail. "Once you say that this country has still not recovered from its original sin, which is true, the next question by people who are on the sidelines, which is the vast majority of Americans, is 'So, what do you want me to do about it?'" she said. "I'm trying to put together in a way that I can explain it and I can sell it, because in politics if you can't explain it and you can't sell it, it stays on the shelf."
She added that a specific agenda is crucial because "you can get lip service from as many white people you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it who are going to say, 'We get it, we get it. We are going to be nicer.' That’s not enough, at least in my book."
Things got more tense in the second clip, as Jones objected to Clinton suggesting that Black Lives Matter needs to have clearer policy goals to get the rest of the country onboard. "I say this as respectfully as I can: If you don’t tell black people what we need to do, then we won’t tell you all what you need to do," Jones said, adding that "this is and has always been a white problem of violence" and there isn't much black people can do to stop it.
"Respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problems," Clinton snapped. Jones said it's a "form of victim blaming" for Clinton to tell Black Lives Matter what it "needs to do to change white hearts." While Clinton avoided opening up about her personal culpability in America's race problem, that provoked a passionate explanation of how she sees politics:
Look, I don't believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You're not gonna change every heart. You're not. But at the end of the day we can do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them to live up to their own God-given potential ... You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But if that's all that happens, we'll be back here in ten years having the same conversation.
In an interview with Melissa Harris-Perry, Yancey said they were looking for a personal reflection from Clinton, so "her response really targeting on policy wasn't sufficient for us." She'll likely get another chance to answer. "I would say that all the presidential candidates this year can definitely expect to be challenged on this issue," Yancey said.