I was going to post about something else entirely, but I thought that avolo's comments to the last post absolutely had to have a response. So, here are some select quotes from his comments, with my responses. I had to be kinda choosy; I couldn't do a blanket response because time is short.
I'd love to sit down and discuss the issues of the day with this guy over a beer -- that'd be one lively confab, I bet...
“But to concede a lifetimes worth of battles into one experience is wrong.” True enough, but maybe I didn’t make myself clear here. The guy reading to his daughter was utilizing just one weapon against the raging beast of poverty; one that is too often underutilized, especially by the Black community (more on that in a moment). Baby steps, avolo. Baby steps…
“But lets be clear there are MANY things that can put/keep/ trap someone in poverty…Am I to believe that you dont love your daughters nor did your father* love your wife because of the economic hardship” Yes, there are many facets to being trapped in poverty, but instilling a love of learning in a child is, again, one weapon against that. Granted, not the only weapon, but a pretty damn powerful one. And what greater expression of love for your child than to make sure she has every weapon at her disposal for combating poverty.
“Ignorance is like a big big big big river, it can drown you.” Truer words were never spoken. In fact, I’d say ignorance is a friggin’ large and deep ocean that invites too many to swim in its warm waters. And too many enjoy doing it even after they discover that the warmth comes from the excess of urine that’s being discharged into it… That’s why the boat of learning and critical thinking is so desperately needed.
“Being Black? Not as important as you d think it is.” I disagree, my friend. It’s very important. Perhaps too important. Blackness (is that a viable word?) is a gravitic pull upon too many of our youth, who are brought up to believe that BLACK must come before HUMAN. It’s a cynical notion that being exploited to perfection by the hip-hop culture, which is feeding our kids (and to a somewhat lesser extent, white and latino kids) the constant refrain of “You gotta keep it real. All you need is some bling and street cred. School is for suckas!” And then later wondering why “The Man” gets everything he ever wants while they simply get arrested.
"But that little girl and my little boy will need more than to be read to for America worth its salt in the sand." I agree. See the above paragraphs in my reply.
“I hate it when people make derogatory assumptions about the Black community, wherever it is, without considering that these afflictions affect ALL communities in an economic zone, regardless of race, or ethnicity.” I hate it, too, avolo, but (and this is coming from a black man) some of those assumptions are on the money. They’ve entered to popular zeitgeist because they exist. Are all of them true? Of course not. But I’ve seen black fathers abandon their families, black families buying big-ticket items instead of preparing their children for careers other than criminal or McDonald’s; black girls learning how to manipulate men instead of numbers or chemical formulae; black boys looking down their noses at their more educated peers (or beating them up); black mothers too damn lazy to go across the street to apply at the new clothes store, but hauling their asses across town to take in whatever new club opens up; black families on welfare not even making token attempts to get off of it; groups of young blacks hanging around public places intimidating others instead of finding ways to be a benefit. I have seen these things growing up, and I see them today. And it’s so needless, avolo. However, this is America. Ostensibly, it’s a free country. If they want to ignorant, half-savage criminals, fine. But why drag the decent, hard-working people with foresight down with them?
“That you are seemingly, with ease, demonizing the Black father as irresponsible…Your drawing too many conclusions about the quality of men you see when you see women with their children.” Okay, I may be generalizing, but again, I’ve seen it too often to ignore its existence. If more black men would take more interest in their families beyond getting into their girlfriend’s panties, the black community would be a lot better off. Are there black men who stay with their families? Sure there are. But there are too few who do, and black children are suffering as a result.
“Brood sow? Thats mean and demeans people who need public assistance to find a foothold in a safety net that they fell through.” That is mean, but I’m not denigrating everyone on public assistance (remember, I’m there, too…for now). No, I’m aiming that at the lazy women who only seem to find energy to propel themselves out of their ennui long enough go to a seedy nightclub and screw yet another guy who cares nothing for her. Such people see welfare as the be-all and end-all. Fortunately, such people are in the minority of welfare recipients. Most are decent, hard-working sorts who just need a hand…for now.
“"I wanted to congratulate the man on his foresight and encourage him to keep up the excellent work" Dont. Its like someone congratulating you for going to the bathroom. Its something you re supposed to do.” Yes, but when a toddler goes to the potty for the first time instead of blowing out yet another Pull-Up, do we praise him or do we simply snarl “’Bout damn time!” Yes, the man was supposed to do it, but it's more important that he did it, which is more than I can say for all too many men in the black community. Still, a little encouragement goes a long way.
*For the record, I grew up without a father; my biological father chose not to hang around after being with my mother (thus I never developed a relationship with him, although I don’t hate him) and my stepfather was a drunken, abusive lout who defined spending time with the family as beating the hell out of us and driving off to drink some more with his equally loutish friends. Hopefully, cirrhosis will stop his foolishness sooner rather than later.