The issues of race and ethnicity have dominated this campaign season, so when presidential front runner Hillary Clinton took the stage at the Iowa Brown & Black Forum in Des Moines on Monday, she received a rather interesting query about her white privilege.
“Can you tell us what the term ‘white privilege’ means to you,” a college student asked the Democrat. “And can you give me an example from your life or career when you think you have benefitted from it?”
Clinton began her answer by citing the “great experiences” she had in her childhood and how, for many years, she didn’t consider herself privileged.
“Where do I start?” the former secretary of state responded. “I was born white, middle class in the middle of America. I went to good public schools. I had a very strong supportive family…I never really knew what was or wasn’t part of the privilege, I just knew that I was a lucky person.”
She then delved into an anecdote where her church asked her to babysit the young children of migrant workers. It was the experiences of that day, the candidate said, that made her realize that her life was vastly different from those kids because of the economic advantages her family had.
“I just felt like, I have a different kind of life,” Clinton added. “I didn’t call it a particular name but it was a different life and I knew that.”
However, even though her anecdote was touching, it actually failed to convey much (or anything, really) about her understanding of white privilege.
“I feel like she didn’t answer it,” Thalia Anguiano, the Drake University junior who asked Clinton the question, told Fusion. “That showed me that she does not fully understand what white privilege is and how oppressed marginalized communities are in our society.”
Watch Hillary Clinton’s response in the video above.
Needless to say, Twitter wasn’t too happy with her answer either.
ehhh I find it hard to believe that Hillary Clinton actually believes in white privilege tbh #DemForum— tania (@shotsforzarry) January 12, 2016
Hillary Clinton does not know what white privilege is, that was clear. She told a story of how her life was better due to citizenship & SES.— Jazmin (@Jaaazzmminn) January 12, 2016