Not So Proud to Be Ignorant

Bachmann claims, rather amazingly, to have not seen the first bullet point for "The Marriage Vow," and the conservative group that put it forward is now trying to retreat, without retreating:


"After careful deliberation and wise insight and input from valued colleagues we deeply respect, we agree that the statement referencing children born into slavery can be misconstrued," said Julie Summa, a spokeswoman for the Family Leader. "We sincerely apologize for any negative feelings this has caused, and have removed the language from the vow."


"It was not meant to be racist or anything. it was just a fact that back in the days of slavery there was usually a husband and a wife...we were not saying at all that things are better for African-American children in slavery days than today." 

No. Slave marriages had zero legal standing. It's the reason why slaves, after emancipation, often had to be married by union officers. Indeed, marriage was often the first thing liberated slaves did. Here is the author of the study which the group cited in their pledge taking on the original quote:

The pledge provides a footnote to support their claim, citing a 2005 study, The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans. I decided to ask one of the study's authors, Dr. Lorraine Blackman, what she thought of The Family Leader's "pro-family" interpretation of slavery. 

 "That's just wrong," she said. "It is a serious error."

Blackman doesn't even have data until 1880. Which is fine because she wasn't actually making a point about slavery.

As Osha Gray Davidson notes, this is apology as weak-tea. The group never acknowledges that they offered no factual basis for their claim. They just are sorry that it "can be misconstrued," and may have caused "negative feelings."

No one's actually wrong anymore. They're just sorry that you can't handle the "truth,"

In other news, some props for Gary Johnson.
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.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

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

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in National

From This Author

Just In