From time to time an exceptionally blatant specimen of racism and unfounded anxiety escapes from the bowels of the tightly pursed asses of White people. I’ve heard precious little reporting on “The Marriage Vow,” and that fact is even more disturbing than the pseudo-scientific based hate that is hardly disguised in that terrible document.
The Marriage Vow was hatched by The Family Leader, which you can read about on your own here. The vow, in its original wording, can be found here. Apparently, the goal was to focus on what The Family Leader deems to be a crisis of divorce. There are five bullet points listed as proof that the “family” (however they define that concept) is in crisis. Conspicuously, the first two bullet points are exclusively directed toward Black people. The first, reads:
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.
This is a gross misinterpretation of the experience of chattel slavery in the United States and flatly false. I suppose that if we include the rapist slaveowners, some of whom, allowed their unwanted offspring to work in their mansions while they prayed with their White families over the dinner that was, no doubt, made with Christian love by their White wives, we can say that slaves were raised in two-parent households during slavery. Perhaps if slave shacks can be included in the meaning of “household”–if “two-parent” only means that two people made a single child–perhaps then the first sentence in the above paragraph could be true. Even more egregious is the passive voice of the paragraph–“Slavery had a disastrous impact…” The guilt is removed. The guilty party is unnamed, and one is left with the hazy feeling that slavery somehow happened to Black to people deservedly. I suppose the Middle Passage, during which a conservatively estimated 15 million Africans perished, just happened to Black people as well. Jim Crow–also just happened. To invoke chattel slavery in such a flippant manner is unforgivable. The bullet points continue:
LBJ’s 1965 War on Poverty was triggered in part by the famous “Moynihan Report” finding that the black out-of-wedlock birthrate had hit 26%; today, the white rate exceeds that, the overall rate is 41%, and over 70% of African-American babies are born to single parents–a prime sociological indicator for poverty, pathology and prison regardless of race or ethnicity.
I am startled by overall lack of surprise that a White, conservative, Christian organization would invoke a “report” that supports culture of poverty beliefs while turning a blind eye toward the structural factors that created the poverty in the first place. Like the passive voice in the first paragraph that removes culpability from White people and European culture, the Moynihan report focused on the symptoms that Black people faced while living in a society that hates them. The disease was not addressed at all.
There are three other bullet points that all but say, “Poor people are ruining marriage, families, and this country.” Interestingly, because the first two bullet points are unambiguously directed toward the problem of Black people in the United States, when the remaining three bullet points speak of “celebrities, sports figures, and politicians,” our minds write in “Black” automatically. This is a truly White magic. When we read “men,” our minds envision a White man; when we read “poor,” our minds envision a Black person; and when we read “immigrant,” our minds envision Mexicans. The prestige of the act is the disappearance of the magician so that we may all be saturated with the sense that the word associations we made were all very natural and normal. Bravo! Bravo!
If “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY” is truly a document meant to refocus our values so that families and legal monogamy might thrive in the United States, why the focus on Black people? Let us be clear that Black people comprise only 13% of the United States, and the entire 13% isn’t in prison, involved in the criminal justice system, gay, or poor. The Family Leader tacitly supports the impossible notion that 13% (assuming all Black people are ruining the country) of the United States is ruining the remaining 87%. Apparently, Black people are the most influential, prolific, and powerful beings in the United States–a race of gods amongst peons and ignoramuses. How else could so few ruin so many?
I’m growing very tired of reading stuff like The Marriage Vow, which was signed by two republicans who are running for president. One of them is Kevin Santorum, who is typical in every way a politician normally is. The other is Michele Bachmann whose husband I recently wrote about here. For those of you who want so badly to be living in a colorblind society, here is yet another reminder that such a thing is impossible. The absence of racists rhetoric–rhetoric as American as apple pie and lynchings–does not mean that racism or racist beliefs are gone. We have all been instructed to be political correct. I hate PC. Political correctness is not the absence of hate or animosity or racism. It is a set of mental shackles, socially applied in a benign fashion that impedes and restricts but ultimately cannot deny our true thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Forgive me, but I miss the honesty of chattel slavery and Jim Crow. The hate in the eyes and hearts of White people was genuine, unmasked, and visceral. I grow tired of proving that those same emotions are in the hearts of many White people though scantily hidden by smiles and kind language. I grow tired of the entire charade.