It's Like They're Proud of Being Ignorant

Heh. From the pledge to protect marriage and family that Michele Bachmann recently signed:


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.

We could parse the facts here, or discuss the implicit racism in the notion that by sheer dint of skin color, Barack Obama is responsible for the fate of the black family. We could also interrogate the meaning of "two-parent household" when you, your parents and their home are all property. 

We could also note that a slave born into the 1820s had a thirty percent chance of being parted from his parents, not by divorce, but by the auction block. Or we could have a hearty existential debate on the complex interplay of liberty, freedom and happiness in an era of original light.

But it seems to me that we should be compassionate and put this in a dialect which the white populists of America might, if haltingly, understand: Jazz was a lot better under Jim Crow, and before women could vote no one worried about Michelle Bachmann.

P.S. Apologies to my old friend Mike Schaffer, whose joke I stole.
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in National

From This Author

Just In