Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Political Dictionary: Sister Souljah Moment

Sister Souljah Moment- (n.) term for when a political candidate speaks out against a group/ figure that is part of his/ her base to show moderation and independence.

Origin- In 1992, during the LA riots, African American radio personality Sister Souljah said:

"If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?"

Presidential candidate Bill Clinton might have been expected to excuse her comments as he was courting the black- American vote, which is essential to win the Democratic nomination for president. Instead he criticized her:

"If you took the words ‘white’ and ‘black’ and you reversed them, you might think [KKK leader] David Duke was giving that speech."

Clinton was roundly criticized by some of the party's black leadership, but the comment showed him as moderate, tough on crime, and not influenced by "special interests."


In his 2000 campaign for the Republican nomination, John McCain called Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson "agents of intolerance." Fallwell and Robertson were leaders of the Evangelical wing of the Republican party. McCain lost the nomination, and unsuccessfully sought Fallwell's support in his campaign for 2008.

In his current campaign, Barack Obama has been seen as having several Sister Souljah Moments:
He called for an inquiry into DA Mike Nifong's dealing of the Duke Lacrosse case
He called for teacher accountability in a speech before the second largest teachers union
He said that his daughters should not be entitled to affirmative action when applying to college, because the program should take greater account of whether a child is brought up in poverty, rather than race.

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