Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holder Joins Obama in Making Elitist Attack on Absent Black Fathers

Elliot Millner, J.D.

Attorney General Eric Holder recently spoke at a Black church in Queens, NY, and during his speech he gave Black fathers another talking to, stating that:

"It should simply be unacceptable for a man to have a child and then not play an integral part in the raising and nurturing of the child."

Sounds good on face value. Who doesn't think that any man who has a child should play a vital role in that child's growth and development? A.G. Holder is 100% right on that point, and I have no disagreement with him whatsoever.

However lets look beyond the truthfulness of the words. When communicating, there are many other factors to consider other than what is being said. So, let's consider the question: If a person is truly concerned about promoting the increased participation of Black father's in their children's lives, what would that person do? Seemingly, a person sincere about achieving that goal would go speak to the people most in need of that talk, in this case Black fathers who were not being responsible for the children they had helped bring into the world. Although I'm sure it may have been some people in Memorial Presbyterian Church who were being negligent in their parental duties, I doubt that A.G. Holder's message applied to the majority of them.

In fact, the people that Attorney General Holder was talking to in the church were his intended audience, but not for any noble intent of helping to increase Black father's participation in their children's lives. A.G. Holder, like President Obama and Bill Cosby before him, was gaining brownie points with mostly middle-class Black folks by disparaging a group of people that is admittedly easy to talk bad about: absentee Black fathers.

As stated before, I am not arguing the truth that there are large numbers of Black men who are not fulfilling their fatherly responsibilities. However, it is outrageous for A.G. Holder and President Obama, two pretty intelligent Black men, to make the sometimes complicated issue of absent Black fathers into a simplistic attack aimed not at improving the situation, but at increasing their political standing amongst the Black middle-class. It they truly cared about doing something about this important issue, they would first talk to the people in question. This may require some effort, because a lot of absentee fathers are absent for various reasons that neither President Obama or A.G. Holder have chosen to address, and they may not blindly come to a church to hear either Obama or Holder speak.

Beyond the lip service, both President Obama and A.G. Holder are in positions to exert influence in areas that play a significant role in why many Black fathers are absent. It is absolutely disingenuous of both of them to repeatedly pile on absent Black fathers, without addressing:

-The role of poverty and underemployment in many of these situations(specific to the Black community, because the unemployment rate for Blacks is significantly higher, and influenced by a variety of unequal factors).

-The role of mass incarceration of Black men on the cyclical absence of many Black fathers.

-The role that Black women play in this situation.

-The role that sub par public schools plays in limiting employment opportunities for many Black fathers.

-The role that persistent racially discriminatory policies play on all of the items listed above.

This would demonstrate a genuine effort to address this issue that is of great importance to many Black people. Isn't it interesting that President Obama avoids the discussion of race like H1N1, yet when he does discuss race, it is to show support for Henry Louis Gates, a fellow Ivy grad(without knowing all of the facts, and after ignoring far more blatant examples of police brutality and profiling), and to repeatedly talk about absent Black fathers? And I know the Obama followers (different from rational supporters) will say that it's personal, because his father was not around, yet that does not provide a full explanation of this pattern. Having lived in the situation, President Obama knows that the issue is far more complicated than he and A.G. Holder have made it out to be.

If Pres. Obama and A.G. Holder are not willing to explain all of the variables at play regarding absentee Black fathers, and not only the ones that play well to Black middle-class supporters(and of course potential white voters as well), then maybe they need to stick to their usual pattern concerning racial issues, and remain silent.


Anonymous said...

i'm with you here. nice job too.

sableofnight said...

Nothing of what you said has any affect on being a father. Excuses that is what they are. Being a father amy mean just walking your child to school. Joining the PTA, helping with homework.

We had more fathers in the home during slavery then we do now, and welfare has nothing to do with it.

We have confused being a parent with money. We are a selective people, we pick and choose what things in life we fight for.

I know homeless men who are better fathers then some. And they do it by simply Making an Effort.

Eric, and the President are right, and if they did speak to the low income fathers, most of them would not even listen.

Being a father has Nothing to do with race, its about free will and being human.

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StiBil said...

What's Sad is when Someone does Take the Black man to Task for his Indulgences, Many like yourself will Pull Out A scrool as Long as a city Block with Excuses! It's Been 40 Years ago since MLK got beat up, attacked with Dogs & the Like to bring Attention to InEquity in America when it comes to Color.

I Personally don't care for Mr Holder or Mr Obamas Politics, but in this Area, I'm with Them. It's a Viral Sickness of the Mind, to have over 40 years worth of Negative Results & Not want to take ANY accountability for Any of it! Coward Fathers who still lived in Slavery of the Mind, to Produce Children with No Thought of caring for them! Just like Slavery Days! Disgusting! Taking Fashion Statements from Thugs who rotate from Prisons,it's beyond Dysfunction.

Although I Believe in Forgiveness, It's Not get Stupid with it. Jesse Jackson, the Adulter has Nothing I want to hear, Period!

While the Professional Race Baiters, Jesse & Al gave Lip Service to Jobs. All it would haver taken to Help Our People for the most Part Feed themselves is Education! Education was the Key in America that Leads to Options. Blackmen opted to turn more into Man-ho's,Drug Dealers,etc than to go for a Free Education that many where offered in those 40years. Here we are today and the self-appointed black leadership is still crying the say junk. Oh Massa what we gonna do, unemployment is XX and we need jobs. We Still uneducated, so we haven't progressed in 40years. But don't look at the fact that Our Sisters have,because they took advantage of the Opportunity to Educate themselves, while their men chose to chase after T & A!

Everyone in the Inner City KNOWS who the Dealers R and make no effort to rid their meighborhood of them, as the cowards Kill innocent kids weekly! Black Elite, turn their heads & Look the other way! The Black Churches took Pimp Bribes & made little effort to adjust to the youth to educated the Young!But they had a hand out for the Pimps Money to look the other way. There's this thing Called the Bible, which the Black Man that is troubled the most knows little about.

Mainly cause he can't READ, or READ at a substandard level. In that Book, it moves U to Understand, that Character,Integrity,Faith,Hope & Love reign over lust of Celebritites Worshiping! When U Follow behind those that Lead U further away from God, U get Exactly what U Deserve, HELL!
When the Black Man is Ready to Bow Down & Turn Back to God, he will Reach the Mt. Top. Let's just see which direction Tiger chooses now that he has gone the Way of the WOrld! Hopefully God will Use the New Tiger to do great things!

Don't even think it, I'm As Black as You'll ever be! Stop the Whining & Excuses & Step Up!Your Age or the Fact that U can produce Babies doesn't make U a Man, People miss that Point. Baies Having baies, produces More Babies! You Need to be Accountable to be a Man!Don't have to be Perfect, Just know that U have Choices,Free Will!

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