African-Americans, Bachmann and “Better off Slaves” Pledge
Most black folks went kinda apoplectic over Santorum and Bachmann’s signing of a certain pledge that implies somehow that Black people were better off during slavery than they are living during the era of a Black President.
The NYTimes Opinionater described the many reactions on the internets to the “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family” which has at least one thing, really, that most Americans would find objectionable. Why fear Sharia law when we have super-conservatives in Iowa who want to ban divorce, for example? Apparently people are especially freaking about the anti-gay marriage, anti-Islamic and anti-porn parts. I actually agree with the pledge on child pornography. human trafficking and prostitution btw. We should take a different approach IMHO and punish those on the demand side rather than criminalize the suppliers who are too often victims of violence and/or drug abuse. Except pimps – I’m ok with keeping that criminal.
Here’s what the NYTimes had to say re: the slavery bits:
But enough pornography: many found much else to fume about in the content of the pledge. Of particular note was this passage, featured at the very top of the document: “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”
This did not escape the attention or wrath of Cheryl Contee, a k a Jill Tubman, at Jack and Jill Politics, who wrote: “Given that families were broken up regularly for sales during slavery and that rape by masters was pretty common, this could not be more offensive. I mean, putting aside the statistics on this, which are likely off-base, I could not be more angry. When will Republicans inquire with actual Black people whether or not we’re O.K. with invoking slavery to score cheap political points? It has to stop. It is the opposite of persuasive and is another reason Republicans repel us. It’s hard to believe that Michele Bachmann would be foolish enough to sign this pledge.”
Tommy Christopher at Mediaite espied devious intent, or at least less than rigorous research, in the direct reference the President Obama:
To be fair, The Marriage Vow doesn’t appear to be arguing that slavery was good (hey, they said it was “disastrous”), but rather, that Barack Obama is worse than slavery. That’s a key difference that needs to be highlighted. Besides, they used a footnote to a study by black scholars, so shouldn’t Jill just relax a little?
For my money, this is where the story gets really disgusting. The study that they cite was published in 2005, which means that any comparison to slavery must be made, not with our first black president, but with our 43rd white one. Furthermore, the data in the study only dates back to 1880, which means they not only had to stretch their pretzel to include Barack Obama, but also to conflate the data with slavery.
Hmmm…here’s the problem. Any conversation that starts with how blacks were better off under slavery puts an immediate end to that conversation. We’re done — because that frankly spits in the face of all those who fought hard and even died to secure freedom and equality for black people in America. That includes people who are still alive — for the hip hop generation, it’s insulting to our parents and grandparents.
Do you think Barack Obama is worse for black folks than slavery was???
I have to agree with Sargent, sadly…from the same NYTimes blog post:
Finally, Greg Sargent at The Plum Line attempted to put the whole matter in perspective, and issues a warning of sorts:
Expect lots more of this. The real question is what Bachmann (and Cain, and Santorum) wouldn’t sign if asked by social conservatives — and what, if anything, Mitt Romney, or Tim Pawlenty, or Rick Perry would actually oppose as too extreme. The answer appears to be: nothing. It’s true that Bachmann is the only one to make this “vow” so far. But it’s early yet.
It’s probably worth noting that the GOP is far, far, from the mainstream on these issues. It’s fairly well known that pluralities have now swung over to approval for same-sex marriage, but that one is still contested, so I wouldn’t call Bachmann and friends out of the mainstream on that one. But on the rest … well, people seem to support women in combat overwhelmingly, for example. And while I’m not sure how they feel about “intrusively intimate commingling among attracteds,” I’m fairly confident that no one is going to run for president on an anti-smut platform in hopes of winning swing voters.
Reminder: we still have months remaining for the candidates to bid against each other for the support of these folks. This is only going to get more extreme — and more crazy.
Look, again, I’ll say – I’m in favor of a 2 party (or multi-party system). There’s no question that pledges like this are going to make it hard for reasonable people to take Republicans like BaKKKman and Santorum seriously. Certainly it will continue the alienation of young people and minorities from the GOP. See us flee…see us flee in droves…