It's Like They're Proud of Being Ignorant

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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.
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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.

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