It's Like They're Proud of Being Ignorant

More

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.
Jump to comments
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.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What's the Number One Thing We Could Do to Improve City Life?

A group of journalists, professors, and non-profit leaders predict the future of livable, walkable cities


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

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

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In