What Obama Might Say to White Fathers
What Obama Might Say to White Fathers
by Shannon Joyce Prince
"It is young white men and women who are more likely to
engage in a plethora of destructive and often criminal behaviors."
On Father's Day Senator Barack Obama walked into a white
church and stepped up to pulpit, absent his charismatic smile. He adjusted the microphone and straightened
his silken tie, before resting his bistre colored hands on the pulpit. After staring out sternly over the pale
faces of the congregation, he began to speak.
"White fathers," he intoned ominously. "You have abandoned your
responsibilities. You are acting like
boys and not men. You and I know this
is true. It's reflected in the fact
that according to the Center for Disease Control white young people are over twice
as likely than black young people to drive drunk, a third more likely to carry
a weapon, three times more likely to binge drink, and twice to four times more
likely (depending on the drug) to use cocaine, coke, inhalants, steroids,
hallucinogens, and methamphetamines.
Furthermore, according to the conservative Manhattan Institute, your
polo-shirted, loafer-wearing, suburban sons and daughters are more likely than
their urban school counterparts to smoke cigarettes, have sex at an early age,
and have commitment-free sex. They are
also more likely to sell drugs than urban students. Clearly, the absence of white men from far too many families is
taking a toll on white youths. As for
those of you who are not absentee fathers, it's a wonderful thing if you are
married and living in a home with your children, but don't just sit in the
house and watch HGTV all weekend long.
Do some parenting.
"White young people are over twice as likely than black
young people to drive drunk, a third more likely to carry a weapon, three times
more likely to binge drink, and twice to four times more likely ... to use
cocaine, coke, inhalants, steroids, hallucinogens, and methamphetamines."
"You know, sometimes I'll go to an eighth-grade graduation
and there's all that pomp and circumstance and gowns and flowers. And I think
to myself, it's just eighth grade. It
is time for white parents to take action against the rampant
anti-intellectualism in the white community.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics white parents
are half as likely as blacks to help their children with homework. It's not good enough for you to say to your
child, ‘Do good in school,' and then when that child comes home, you got the TV
set on, you got the radio on, you don't check their homework, there is not a
book in the house, you've got the video game playing.
"Perhaps the disinterest of white parents in education is
the reason that white twelfth graders are only half as likely as black twelfth
graders to have perfect attendance.
Remember how I told black parents that ‘parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise
their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander
that says a black youth with a book is acting white.' It is time for white mothers and fathers to act black, to switch
off American Idol and help their children with homework, to make sure
that unless their children are sick with the mumps they are sitting in their
homeroom at 8 AM ready to learn. According
to the Departments of Education and Justice, instead of studying attentively in
school, your white children are more likely than black ones to bring a weapon
there. It's up to white fathers to tell
their sons, those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in my house we
give glory to achievement, self respect, and hard work.
"Now I know that racism is your usual opiate, I know that
you take comfort in attributing dysfunction to black and brown hip hoppers,
baby mamas, and thugs, but as the above statistics show it is young white men
and women who are more likely to engage in a plethora of destructive and often
criminal behaviors. Clearly you, white parents, need to stop being shiftless
and take care of your responsibilities. You are failing your children."
* * *
"Whites were baffled at being singled out as a race for
their failings and felt unduly stereotyped."
Not long after Obama made his speech, widely lauded by
blacks who were tired of seeing all the dysfunction in the white community,
but, not being half-white, weren't able to address white failings with such
candor, whites expressed outrage at Obama's words. They were baffled at being singled out as a race for their
failings and felt unduly stereotyped.
After all, Obama had given little if any acknowledgement to good white
parents. A cartoonist name Pat Oliphant
lost patience with the recalcitrance of whites. He drew a suit-wearing Obama saying the following words to a
white man, "When are you going to get up and take some responsibility for all
of the children you've fathered?" The
object of his address, a white man with stringy hair, features thin and pointed
until they resembled a rodent's, was lounging in a trucker cap and stained wife
beater. The man, clearly from the most
impoverished part of Appalachia, looked up at Obama scornfully, replying, "Hey,
Obama! Stop talkin' that hate-filled,
Jeremiah Wright talk, n*gg*r. Or you
ain't gonna get my very precious vote in the fall. Honestly, we whites are the last group of people it's okay for
y'all to discriminate against."
Oliphant wrote his doubt, in a corner of the comic strip, that such
people vote at all.
Whites protested that while the half-white figure was
portrayed as sensible, moral, and attractive, the fully white character spoke
in dialect, was ignorant, associated criticism of white failings with black
radicalism, and had a stereotypically lower class appearance. Blacks pooh-poohed their claims. Oliphant and Obama are only telling it like
it is, they said. It's time to stop
being politically correct and address the disproportionate failings of
whites. And since no one really has to
listen to whites or takes pains not to cast aspersions on their humanity in
this country, their criticism were largely ignored and America resumed its
business as usual.
Shannon Joyce Prince is a student a Dartmouth.
All of the statistics referenced in the article are true, and have previously
been compiled on the website timwise.org.
Ms. Prince can be contacted at Shannon.J.Prince@Dartmouth.EDU.