This happened on Stephen Colbert’s show.
Colbert: Some have called Brooklyn’s decision to become part of New York City, “The Great Mistake of 1898.” If you could get in a time machine and go back to 1898, what would you say to those Brooklynites?
Clarke: I would say to them, “Set me free!”
Colbert: Slavery. Really? I didn’t realize there was slavery in Brooklyn in 1898.
Clarke: I’m pretty sure there was.
Colbert: It sounds like a horrible part of the United States that kept slavery going until 1898.
Clarke: Uh …
Colbert: Who would be enslaving you in 1898 in New York?
Clarke: The Dutch.
Colbert: Those sneaky Dutch bastards.
By 1898, the Dutch had not controlled Brooklyn for more than 200 years, and slavery had been abolished in the entire United States in 1863. We fought a Civil War and everything. The Washington Post calls Clarke’s interview “struggling with history.” Right — and Barack Obama struggles with economics.
You’ll be happy to know that Rep. Clarke “proudly” serves New York’s 11th District, from which she votes on laws that impact everyone in these United States. She apparently still is unaware that her Colbert interview did not go well. She is still touting it on her official web site.
Update: Clarke’s staff says the whole thing was a joke.
“She does know the actual timeline of that period and when slavery was abolished,” the spokeswoman for Clarke told me.
“It’s supposed to be a ha-ha moment. Some people understood, some people didn’t. Everyone has their own interpretation about her performance on the show.”
Performance? She could’ve fooled Andy Kaufman with that “act.”
Here’s the video.