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The Hillary video’s subtle but optimistic #BlackLivesMatter moment

"A baby boy, coming your way!"
"A baby boy, coming your way!"
(Screenshot via Hillary Clinton on YouTube)

Hillary Clinton is trending on Twitter on Sunday, after she officially announced that she's running for president in 2016.

But trending alongside Clinton is the name Eric Harris — a black man who was killed by police in Tulsa on April 2. The video of Harris's death was released over the weekend, and appears to show Harris saying "I'm losing my breath" after being shot and a police officer replying, "F*** your breath."

In light of that juxtaposition — yet another reminder of the continued debate over police aggression, racism, and whether black lives are valued enough in America — the segment of Clinton's video showing a black family expecting their first son is striking. It's a quick segment, from 0:36 to 0:42:

The couple is patently giddy over bringing their son into the world, as one would expect from any parents-to-be. But it comes at a time when, over the last few years, there have been so many public expressions from people who fear for the lives and safety of their young black sons.

President Obama famously said in 2012, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon" Martin, the Florida teenager killed by George Zimmerman. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio helped trigger a two-week-long policing slowdown after angering police in December 2014 when he said that he worried about his teenage son Dante, who is part black. And just this week, this cartoon from Andy Marlette of the Pensacola News Journal was making the rounds on social media:

The takeaway from the announcement video is that Clinton sees black families as no different from white families and wants the world to agree; that parents should feel nothing but excitement for the birth of their son, no matter his race. That's generally the tone of the video: as diverse as it is, any of the lines could be spoken by any of the people who appear in it.

That's one way for a politician to approach race in America. Another way is to acknowledge, explicitly, the obstacles that people of color face right now, and the pain and fear that many feel.

Which path to take is something Democratic politicians — especially President Obama — have struggled with at the national level. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the course of Clinton's campaign, and whether pressure develops for her to start talking about pain in addition to opportunity.

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