J. Soltys's Weblog

October 23, 2008

Bill O’Reilly – Doesn’t Back Down On “The View”

From the male point of view (no pun intended), I have always found The View to be nothing more than a visual interpretation of modern feminist ideology – masculinity bad, femininity good.

Years ago, when I had the opportunity to watch The View, I always found it to be drenched in the sexism of compassion and understanding for all female issues and problems, and lack of sincerity, or the minimization of men and their issues.

Some of the most uncomfortable shows I’ve watched involved men I’ve admired appearing on the show, and observing them turn into small boys when seated next to these women. I’ve watched these women take cheap shots at men and masculinity in their presence, and observed these guys just curl up and laugh along with these sexist comments, not challenging these women for their immaturity. Most men become nothing more than a lap dog in their presence. It seems as if most men check their gonads in at the studio door when appearing on this show.

However, yesterday Bill O’Reilly from Fox News appeared on The View and to my surprise, Bill came out with his gonads in full view. He did not play lap dog to these women. Bill stayed true to himself and his opinions.
What makes his appearance even more interesting is that the women on this show – minus  Elisabeth Hasselbeck – are hardcore liberals, and O’Reilly is known for his conservative views. It was humorous to watch the ladies try to label him as being biased in his interviews. This is a perfect example of the “pot calling the kettle black”. I’ve watched O’Reilly’s show and I’ve watched The View, and there is no comparison – O’Reilly is more straight forward and partisan towards his guest than any of the women on the view.

Remember, these same women who are trying to crucify O’Reilly for his positions, said nothing when Rosie O’Donnell made such asinine claims that our own government was responsible for the planning and execution of the 9/11 tragedy. Only Hasselbeck was willing to speak up and challenge these absurd comments. For the rest of these women, their milquetoast behavior was disgusting.

Here is the video of the interview, followed by a video showing the biased treatment of the “view crew” when interviewing Barack Obama and John McCain.

Part 1

Part 2

Watch the difference in approach and mood of the “view crew” towards the Obama and McCain interviews.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

September 4, 2008

Gloria Steinem Still A Clueless Hypocrite

Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had less than twenty-four hours to let her national debut to the American public sink in before feminist Gloria Steinem was doing what she does best; being a hypocrite.

As an independent voter, I have watched both the Democratic and Republican conventions. But also, as an advocate for men’s issues, it becomes very critical for me to choose which candidate has an equal interest in men’s and father’s issues as they do women’s. I’ve concluded over the years that neither the liberals nor the conservatives have any real concern for men’s issues. Liberals scoff and laugh at the mere mention of males having issues, and the only thing men’s and father’s rights advocates have in common with conservatives is their disdain for feminism. After that, the majority of conservatives do a good job of dropping out of the picture where men and boys are concerned.

So as I read the morning media coverage of Sarah Palin’s speech, and took in the diversity of opinions about Sarah Palin, I came across an article by Steinem in the L.A. Times that was so ridicules that I had to write a rebuttal.
Steinem, of course, does not like Palin. You see, to Steinem and her cohorts, a successful, admirable, accomplished woman that has reached the status Palin has achieved in America’s patriarchy should only come from those women who are “reborn” and “saved” through Steinem’s feminist religious beliefs….Oops! I mean Steinem’s feminist teachings. It has become apparent that Steinem and her followers are guilty of the same practices she accuses the Republicans of engaging in.
Steinem writes:

This isn’t the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need.

Really? A case of the pot calling the kettle black? Choosing somebody just because they agree with your interests?
Steinem forgot to include how the bosses of the Democratic party chose an unqualified and untested Barack Obama only because they felt he had the best chance of winning the presidency; hence, trying to secure their own political interests. It’s hypocritical to accuse McCain of the same.
But ironically most of Steinem’s column is composed of her discussing how the Obama/Biden ticket and the Democratic Party are in-line with her own political interests. It is apparent from her writing that Steinem herself will only choose a candidate that will perpetuate HER beliefs and interests. And it is apparent that like McCain, she harbors the same “so what” attitude if her interests excludes the wants and needs of others.
You get the sense that Steinem obviously believes she is blessed with knowing what’s best for everyone. How ironic is it that this woman has spent most of her life pointing out the evils of only the male ego.

Steinem then says:

Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing

Steinem forgot to write how her own liberal democratic cohorts – who have vowed to fight hard for women and the abolishment of the traditional patriarchy – chose a male candidate over a female candidate, chose a male candidate that has less political experience and accomplishments than the female candidate, and tried forcing the female candidate to fold up her campaign in favor of the male candidate despite her gathering in excess of 18 million votes.
And even considering that McCain may have chosen Palin solely to gather the female vote, it would still be humiliating to the liberal democrats and their feminist cohorts that the male-dominated Republican Party would defeat the pro-women advocates, and enter the history books as the political party that was first for putting a female vice president in the White House.

Steinem continues with this comment:

To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”

But does Steinem really mean it? After all, throughout her career she has fought and disparaged the institution of marriage. She is also attributed to saying, “A woman needs a man, like a fish needs a bicycle”. So what has she done since then? Decided to get married.

But Steinem really shows her manipulation skills with this sentence:

I regret that people say she can’t do the job because she has children in need of care, especially if they wouldn’t say the same about a father.

This is true. Palin has been subjected to this kind of gender discrimination, but this discrimination has overwhelmingly come from Steinem’s own liberal, Democratic cohorts – the same people who have always shamed others for this mentality.
Why didn’t she mention this in her article? Why do her cohorts get a break for their sexism? Steinem has fought this mentality all her life, in her speeches and her writings, but suddenly she’s at a struggle for words when it’s her own community showing sexist behavior, conjuring up only one sentence to address it.

Steinem then takes a shot a Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience:

I get no pleasure from imagining her in the spotlight on national and foreign policy issues about which she has zero background, with one month to learn to compete with Sen. Joe Biden’s 37 years’ experience.

Sorry, but I may have missed something here. Where is Obama’s impeccable foreign policy experience? He has none. And if it is implied he will tap Biden’s experience, then she’s being a hypocrite. It shows she admits not only that Obama lacks foreign policy experience, but it also implies Obama – the commander and chief – will learn “on the job”. If she is comfortable with the Obama/Biden ticket doing this, then she must admit that it is more appropriate and more reasonable that Palin – the vice president – can learn “on-the-job” from her boss, John McCain, and his extensive years of foreign policy experience. This makes more sense to me.

Steinem continues:

She was elected governor largely because the incumbent was unpopular

Isn’t this how most politicians get elected?

Steinem then attacks Palin on the issues:

she tried to use taxpayers’ millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn’t spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation

Studies show that men are doing poorly in academics when compared to women, and as a result, statistics show men are more likely to drop out than women. But Steinem didn’t mention that her feminist cohorts consistently challenge any argument and statistics that show boys and men are in an academic crisis, nor did she mention that her cohorts have consistently challenged any institutional changes and resources that would be used exclusively to help boys and men in academics, nor did she mention that she and her cohorts have argued and advocated for the exact opposite for women and girls to this very day, even after the “girl’s academic crisis” back in the 1990’s was found to be a feminist fraud.

[The right wing are] the same ones who nixed anyone who is now or ever has been a supporter of reproductive freedom.

How hypocritical that she attacks the political right for challenging women’s reproductive freedom when she and her cohorts have done everything in their power to deny men the same for years.
Men have challenged a women’s right to abortion, arguing that if the law recognizes them as an equal in the biological creation of the child – and therefore must assume equal legal responsibility for the child – then men should have a legal say whether or not they are ready to assume this responsibility, which would include an equal legal right whether to abort or have the child. This “reproductive equality” infuriates feminist like Steinem. The thought that men should have the same reproductive rights as women is disturbing to them. The majority of feminist believe men should only assume the responsibility for pregnancies, and women should assume the legal rights. This is why feminist have labeled men with the saying, “men think with their penises” and to the contrary gave women the mantra, “my body, my choice”. It seems hypocritical to empower women with a mantra to assume responsibility to kill an unborn child, but that same mantra is never used to empower women not to get pregnant in the first place. If Sarah Palin’s abstinence programs failed at avoiding unwanted pregnancies, so be it. But at least her program teaches responsibility rather than running from it. You see, Steinem and her feminist cohorts have done a great job advocating and securing for women the right to an abortion, access to the morning after pills, and safe haven laws all in an effort to help women avoid parental responsibility. At the same time, her and her cohorts have worked over-time enacting laws to incarcerate, humiliate, and shame men who try to avoid their parental responsibility.
This is Steinem’s and the liberal Democrat’s version of reproductive rights – to ensure that total control of the lives of the fathers and the unborn are determined solely by the woman.
Steinem and other feminist vocalize the fear of someone else (government) intruding and trying to control the lives of women, while at the same time ignoring how they have subjugated men and the unborn to the exact same treatment.

Are you ready for the most ridicules quote by Steinem?

As a lifetime member of the National Rifle Assn., she doesn’t just support killing animals from helicopters, she does it herself.

Does she expect me to swallow this load of crap?
Here is a woman who is implying that Palin’s decision to allow the shooting of animals from a helicopter is an unconscionable and nefarious act which truly displays Palin’s character.
Steinem can’t sleep well at night knowing a woman like this may be in the White House, but she will get up bright and early to campaign for an Obama/Biden White House which will include unequivocal support for a woman’s right to scrap and tear an innocent, voiceless, unborn child from her womb, or inject the unborn child with chemicals that eat through it’s flesh until death occurs. The remains are put in a plastic bag, and then tossed in a dumpster with the rest of the trash.
Under the Obama/Biden/Steinem ticket, this procedure will happen over a million times a year, which studies show, is done mostly by women to avoid parental responsibility.
Which nefarious policy is harder to swallow?

But Steinem’s hypocrisy really comes through at the end of the article. She writes:

And American women, who suffer more because of having two full-time jobs than from any other single injustice, finally have support on a national stage from male leaders who know that women can’t be equal outside the home until men are equal in it. Barack Obama and Joe Biden are campaigning on their belief that men should be, can be and want to be at home for their children.

To put this in perspective, let’s take a look at Sarah Palin’s husband Todd.
Todd is the one who actually does most of the traditional “women’s” work for the Palin household, which in turn, allows his wife to pursue her career ambitions.
According to an interview last year, Sarah Palin said, “He takes care of the cooking, the bills and other domestic paperwork, in addition to driving the kids to extracurricular activities like basketball and soccer…He can go on just an hour or two of sleep a night. There is no way I could have done this job without his tremendous contributions to the home life. He’s able to keep it organized, like a well-oiled machine.”
When Todd worked in the oil industry, his work became a conflict with Sarah’s political ambitions – so HE quit his job.

Here is a look at the candidates Steinem supports.
Senator Obama’s wife Michelle had a great career going for herself. However, she quit her job so her husband could pursue his.
Joe Biden should be honored for the way he cared for his children after his first wife’s tragic death in 1972. But his current wife Jill has said even if the Obama/Biden ticket wins, she will continue her job of teaching, and try to juggle both jobs of career and family as she did during the primaries while her husband was away.

So let’s put this all together: Sarah Palin is a woman who is independent, self-assured, successful, has shown she can compete with men on any level, has a husband that does most of the domestic duties at home so his wife can pursue her career ambitions, has constructed a life so far removed from the traditional patriarchy, and instead, built one that is the closest we have seen to traditional feminist ideology.
But Steinem is going to support the Obama/Biden ticket, whose lives mimic traditional patriarchy to its very core, even though their ticket goes against everything she stands for and has fought for.

So why the beef with Palin? It’s simple: Sarah Palin is independent, strong, family oriented, carves her own path in life, refuses to care what anybody thinks of her, makes up her own mind about what’s important to her, takes responsibility for her choices, and isn’t afraid to get in touch with her masculine side.

You see, the main reason why Steinem doesn’t like Palin is because Palin is more of a feminist than she is.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

June 19, 2008

Obama “Irresponsible” in Fathers Day Speech

Well I noticed a shift this year. After years of men complaining about the negative portrayal of fathers around Fathers Day, it seemed this year many media outlets were steering away from negative stories and images of fathers, but there were still those that did, and I was glad to find their comments sections filled with men (and women) who challenged these negative perceptions.
It appears people are starting to realize the tremendous difference in the way we honor mothers on Mothers Day, and the way we “honor” fathers on Fathers Day.

So let’s look at the biggest offenders of fathers on Fathers Day.

Barack Obama showed his overt discrimination against fathers – again – on Fathers day.
While calling on black fathers to take responsibility for the numerous fatherless homes in the African-American communities, he also extended his venom towards all fathers.
He told a Fathers Day crowd this about black men,

“They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.

He also told the crowd with an austere lip,

“we need fathers to recognize that responsibility doesn’t just end at conception.”

He even scolded those fathers who are present in their children’s lives, implying they are lazy and uninvolved:

“It’s a wonderful thing if you are married and living in a home with your children, but don’t just sit in the house and watch ‘SportsCenter’ all weekend long.”

He concluded that,

“What makes you a man is not the ability to have a child — any fool can have a child,” he said, to applause. “That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.”

His cure for this problem is the co-sponsoring of a bill with Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, which would increase enforcement of child support payments, and increase services for domestic violence programs.

Sorry, but Barack is showing how immature he is to handle the responsibility of the most influential and most powerful job in the world. His solution to put more fathers into homes across the nation is to enact legislation that will put more fathers in jail. Current domestic violence laws, along with child support enforcement policies have been known to not just put troubled fathers in jail, but to also have put many innocent and law abiding fathers in prison too. Both of these social ills, and the laws enacted to combat them, have been fraught with innocent men winding up in jail on fraudulent charges. If Barack Obama really knew the issue as he claims, he would know by strengthening these programs without correcting them first will do the exact opposite of what he desires – it will REMOVE more fathers from their children, and lead to more men frustrated and angry with a system that is quick to persecute first and ask questions later.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s pause to look at the tone of language and imagery used by Barack Obama on Fathers Day towards fathers:

“lazy; uninvolved; not man enough; a fool; lacking courage; and irresponsible”

Now let’s take a look at Barack Obama’s speech to mothers’s on Mothers Day taken from his own website:

Senator Obama’s Mother’s Day Statement
Chicago, IL | May 11, 2008
This Mother’s Day, I’ll be doing what so many other Americans are doing – spending time with my family and thinking about the mothers in my life. My mother, Ann Dunham, was the kindest, most generous spirit I have ever known, and what is best in me, I owe to her. My grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, helped raise me, sacrificed again and again for me, and loves me as much as she loves anything in this world. And the mother of my daughters Sasha and Malia – my wife Michelle – is the rock of the Obama family and a woman who continues to make me a better person. We couldn’t have done this year without my mother-in-law Marian Robinson, who stays with our girls while Michelle and I are on the campaign trail. And my two sisters, Auma and Maya, each the mother to young daughters, are not only my family, but my dear friends. So to the mothers in my life and to the mothers in all our lives, Happy Mother’s Day.

Is it just me or is his imagery and tone towards mothers completely different?
In his Mothers Day speech, these are the words and imagery created:

“thinking about mom; kind, generous; the best for me; owe a lot; sacrifices for me; loves me immensely; rock of the family; make a better person”

I’ve always admitted that maybe I’m not always right, but this is definitely one of those times when I know I’m not wrong – Barack Obama is obviously anti-father.
On Mothers Day, Obama refused to say anything negative about mothers, which in turn, displays an egregious discriminatory attitude towards fathers.

While the problem with absent fathers is real, particularly in the black community, let’s not forget ALL reasons why fathers may not be present in the home. If Obama is truly serious about tackling this problem, he must be ready to address the uncomfortable realities of why fathers may be absent, which means extending his criticisms towards women and others:

  • Is Obama ready to make substantial changes to the family court systems across the country that favor mothers over fathers, awarding custody to mothers in approximately 70% of all custody cases?
  • On Mothers Day, is Obama ready to address the serious problem of women using false allegations of abuse and violence which lead to orders of protection being issued as a cautionary measure in the absence of any substantial evidence, which in turn, forces the father from his home and separates him from his children?
  • On Mothers Day, is Obama willing to scold women – along with the men – who choose to have numerous children by numerous partners?
  • Is Obama willing to address the fact that men have no reproductive rights, meaning that the number of absent fathers will always be greater than absent mothers due to abortion?
    Over three thousand children are killed each day in this country as a form of birth control; the feminine path to avoid parental responsibility.
    And abortion laws afford only the female to make the difficult decision as to whether she is mentally, emotionally, and financially ready to be a parent. Fathers are not given the choice. After conception, they only have two dark choices: adhere unconditionally to a frightening, life-altering decision made for them by someone else, or run from the situation, which will lead to being ostracized and vilified at best, or spending time in jail at its worse. Is Obama ready to address this disparity?
  • African-American men are incarcerated at a much higher rate than any other group. This is found to a major component in father absenteeism. And in most cases, these fathers are still responsible for child support payments while imprisoned. Most will fall into the “deadbeat” dad list.
    Also, when these men get out of prison, most will not be able to land a job due to the rise of employers using extensive background checks for all new applicants. Most employers will not hire convicted criminals. How is Barack going to address the problem of a men wanting to work, capable of working, but finding no employer will hire them? At the same time, their court ordered child support payments go unpaid. This will lead them back to prison, and out of their children’s lives again, and leave mom raising the kids alone.
    Tightening child support enforcement without addressing this paradox will only cause more difficulties for them, and raise the potential that these fathers will run away to escape this vicious cycle.
  • Also, death rates for young African-American men are greater for this group than any other group. So how is Barack going to tackle this cycle of violence that leaves many children without fathers?

So as one can see, there are many COMPLEX reasons why African-American fathers (as well as other fathers) are not present in the home. To just blame fathers, calling them immature, irresponsible, and lazy is actually more indicative of Obama’s own emotional immaturity. It also is a display of his own irresponsibility, by speaking on this issue in a narrow-minded manner, and shows HIS lack of courage to hold others accountable who also contribute to the dilemma of absent fathers, particularly women and other politicians, because he is fearful of upsetting these people, and losing their support and their votes.

I feel it is obvious Barack Obama is not emotionally interested in fathers, only his chance at the presidency. While some of the comments he made about fathers were inspiring, the majority of it was negative. And while he addressed the problems black fathers face, it sounded no different than any other election year rhetoric – he offered only what has been promised before.
So at this point I would like to elaborate using words from his speech:

“Any fool can say what they want to get elected, but it takes a real man, and a real leader to implement real change. Let us realize that when it comes to addressing fathers that are absent in homes across this country, we shouldn’t send a boy to do a man’s job.”

(Note: Syndicated writer Kathleen Parker covers this same topic in her most recent article titled, “Calling all fathers, and mothers too”)

Other negatives on Fathers Day

When Mom and Dad Share It All – This article appeared in the New York Times on Fathers Day. Written by female writer Lisa Belkin, it is an extensive, 10 page feature article covering the disparity in housework between men and women, with extensive stats that keep reiterating how men fail at helping out at home. While some sections of the article defended men,

“Many women will also admit to the frisson of superiority, of a particular form of gratification, when they are the more competent parent, the one who can better soothe the tears in the middle of the night.”

its core message was obvious – family management is unequal and men are to blame.

It’s no coincidence that the New York Times ran this piece on Fathers Day. The NYT has always been supportive of feminism and its causes. And it’s disturbing to realize that it could have used 364 other days to run this piece, but it chose Fathers Day to intentionally damage the only day of the year set aside to honor good men and fathers. Think they would do that on Mothers Day?

But many female bloggers who read the article felt vindicated by it. Here are some responses:

“good for the Times staff to stick this around Father’s Day and I’m thrilled a few hairs were ruffled”

“my husband and I were surprised and, I admit, somewhat amused to hear that some readers took offense to the piece as somehow man-hating or anti-fathers”

“The article was challenging Dads on their special day to be better fathers – and not to just rest on their laurels”

It’s good to see these women found time to write their thoughts in between insulating the attic, changing the hot water heater, up on the roof cleaning leaves out of the gutters, and putting in a new sump pump.
Oh, I forgot. That’s men’s work!

Dads who grew up without fathers find their own way – This article is written by a woman named Carroll Cradock who is the director of Behavioral Health Services at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. Her discrimination of fathers is a little more insidious. On the surface it appears to be written to honor those men who grew up in a fatherless home, but unlike their fathers, chose to embrace the responsibility of fatherhood when they had children.
It appears to be a compassionate piece, stating,

“Many people have the mistaken idea that a man can’t be a good man — let alone a good father — if he didn’t have a dad of his own to show him how.”

How true. But then the writer throws a curve ball, saying,

“Despite such pessimism, these boys have good reason to believe they can become strong fathers. Although boys from homes without fathers dominate troubled groups while they are young, the majority do not fall to the wayside.”

This is the exact kind of paradox I’ve written about before, how society demands men understand the importance of their role in a child’s life, but at the same time, men are consistently reminded how unimportant their role is when all things are considered.

She goes on to say she has met or helped many men who were determined to become good fathers, in spite of the lack of a fatherly role model in their own life. She says these men did it by being persistent in asking others for help and guidance as they navigated the unfamiliar task of fatherhood.
Sounds great until she writes this:

“Other fathers I interviewed said they learned the most from their mothers, grandparents and the mothers of their own children.
Maybe it has always taken a village to raise a father. Maybe we’ve lost sight of the fact that uncles, mothers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, spouses and friends have always had a hand in mentoring men into fatherhood.”

Again we see the image of mother/female superiority over the father/male. Men are flawed creatures, always needing the guidance of women to help them navigate through life. Ironically, I have never read an article on Mothers Day – or any other day for that matter – that postulated that the best mothers are not those guided only by the wisdom of other women, but those who received relentless doses of male wisdom from the men in their lives.

She goes back to what I’ll call the fatherhood paradox by saying,

“It may be the case that future fathers and children most at risk are not those without a father in the home, but those living in communities with few adults willing and capable of putting the needs of children first.”

So again, if I’m reading it right, it is not that an absent father is actually a problem, but rather the community of adults who refuse to step up and mentor the fatherless child.
This reeks of the “children do not need a father, they just need a male role model” ideology, which is a component of feminist thinking. You will never hear someone say a child does not need a mother, that the role of motherhood is easily interchangeable with a part-time female role model. (To read another man’s point of view on this topic, go to Sweating Through the Fog)

My final thoughts: So are fathers important, or are they expendable?  And if fathers are important, why do we openly discriminate against them? Is this the gender equality feminist are fighting for, to discriminate against fathers on Fathers Day, but not mothers on Mothers Day? Why aren’t they speaking out against this gender inequality?

And lastly, when did the venture into motherhood automatically proclaim women infallible?

Now just the good news

The only way this discrimination is going to end is to start protesting it, without letting up. Some men have already begun the process. This is what took place on Friday:

Fathers 4 Justice, Los Angeles (F4JLA) and the National Coalition For Men, Los Angeles (NCFMLA) stood front and center this morning at the entrance to a downtown Los Angeles Courthouse. The corner of 1st St. and Hill St. is always a bustling intersection and this morning it was a little busier than usual. All across America, today is Fatherless Day, and folks are taking to the streets to call attention to the way family law and family law courts mistreat Fathers.
Story and pictures here.

And here is another example of how things are beginning to change as more fathers protest their discriminatory treatment:

Fathers sleep a lot, and they snore loudly. When they’re awake, they like to fish or golf, but they’re comically bad at both. They drink so much beer they’re practically alcoholics, and they’re complete couch potatoes, always watching television and hogging the remote. At least, that’s the less-than-favorable image of Dad on Father’s Day greeting cards. It’s a striking contrast to the poetic praise often expressed at Mother’s Day. Many men say they are tired of the “put-down” cards and would like some affirmation for a change — and at least one greeting-card company is listening.

The company is Hallmark – read it here.

Contact:

soltys.joe@gmail.com
https://jsoltys.wordpress.com

May 15, 2008

Mothers Day Has Passed. Prepare for the Assualt on Fathers Day!

Mothers Day has passed, the day when we set aside any differences, wrongs, resentments, and other negatives about our moms across the country, and focus on all the good mothers have accomplished in raising us, the sacrifices, the hardships, the unconditional love, and other benevolent qualities perceived as only coming from moms.
It’s wonderful that we have created a day to remember the good things about our moms, as any person in the psychology profession will tell you, harping on the negatives without considering the positives in any given situation in life will only lead to anger and resentment. Even better is that we have actually created a day where society – families, media, politicians, governments – will not dare to venture into, or raise awareness to the number of mothers that have failed miserably at the role of parenthood. This is not the time to dwell on the dark side of mothers in America they will tell you. Instead, it is a day to honor women who have managed the difficult role of motherhood for better and for worse – and I couldn’t agree more. Positive, emotional reinforcement will carry greater benefits for women and their children in the long term rather than berating them for their failures during Mothers Day weekend. We all need to know our efforts are being recognized and appreciated, and that our imperfections are being judged relative to our imperfect humanism.

In a short month, the mood will change. Fathers Day weekend will arrive and society – families, media, politicians, government – will let fathers know they are appreciated, but not without condition. Unlike mothers, fathers will hear every detail of their failures, and unlike mothers, will not have the opportunity to enjoy a weekend of compassionate reminiscing, where society refuses to dwell on the negative, and makes an effort to focus only on the positive results of fatherhood.
Right now, politicians are preparing speeches that will remind us how important a father is in a child’s life. The speeches will be eloquent, dramatic, and condemning, because in the end, these politicians will let fathers know they are failing in this important stabilizing family and societal role.
Police chiefs across the country at this very moment are organizing their usual Fathers Day “deadbeat” dad sting operations, as a way to remind men and fathers of their obligations and responsibilities as a parent. These dark headlines will be splashed across most newspapers and newscast during the weekend and will be a mood altering topic of conversation at most family gatherings.
Media outlets will begin to organize tributes to fathers for Fathers Day, but will also make sure to find room for stories that highlight the failures of fathers in order to bring “perspective” to the present condition of fatherhood in society.

So what’s wrong with reminding fathers of the significance and influential role they play in the lives of their children and society? Nothing, except why aren’t these same pivotal, poignant speeches and actions addressed to mothers around Mothers Day? Isn’t the role of a mother just as important as the role of a father, and therefore, a good jolt of reality placed upon them just as important?
The only reason this isn’t done is due to the unjustified discrimination of fathers and men in this country. In the arena of family issues, men and fathers are perceived to be inferior to women, yet this daily discrimination goes unaddressed. In the role of spouse or parent, men are seen as dysfunctional, irresponsible individuals, in need of constant fixing, adjusting, and scolding in order to eradicate and manage their many faults and maintain sensibility. If the genders were reversed, it would be called blatant sexism.
If you think I’m kidding, let me show you why I think this way.

-– Last year presidential contender Barack Obama gave a Fathers Day speech in which he said:

“It’s about to be Father’s Day, let’s admit to ourselves that there are a lot of men out there that need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; who need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise a child.”

When was the last time a politician chose Mothers Day to humiliate irresponsible mothers by calling them little girls that need to grow up? It has never happened and never will. The discrimination of fathers is based on the mythology that mothers are superior to fathers, in spite of evidence that proves otherwise.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Administration for Children and Families
reported that in 2006, 40 percent (39.9%) of child victims were maltreated by their mothers acting alone; another 17.6 percent were maltreated by their fathers acting alone.
The agency defines maltreatment as: Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

According to Obama, the reason he felt the need for his Fathers Day speech:

“The key to having this conversation constructively is to realize that there’s really no excuse for not behaving responsibly toward our children.”

If this is true, then why has Obama not chosen to scold or humiliate mothers on Mothers Day for the horrific abuses towards their children which is more that double of that with respect to fathers?
Is he implying that a father who refuses to participate in the raising of his children is not a real man and does not deserve forgiveness, but a mother who abuses her children should be forgiven and honored?

 -– Last year, here in the Chicago area, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart launched a weeklong “deadbeat dad” sting operation that resulted in the arrest of 130 deadbeat dads. Sherriff Dart also arrested four deadbeat moms to show that he was being gender neutral.
However, Dart addressed his reasoning for carrying out the sting around Fathers Day this way:

“For hundreds of thousands of people Father’s Day is just a very, very painful day,” Dart said. “It actually serves as a perverse reminder of just how difficult their life is because there is no father, and not only is there no father there, but there is someone who has walked away from their responsibilities.”

Isn’t Mothers Day a very, very painful reminder to all the children that are abused every year by their mothers? And if Sheriff Dart is truly concerned with the difficult lives of children neglected by a parent, why not launch a campaign around Mothers Day touting the many irresponsible and criminal mothers in society that are abusing their children. It can include the little known fact that besides abuse, mothers also lead fathers in failing to pay court ordered child support.
Glenn Sacks and Jeffery Leving wrote an article refuting Sheriff Dart’s claims that all the men arrested were intentionally avoiding their responsibilities. The article also reveals the discrepancies and complexities between society’s perception of the deadbeat dad and the human reality.

 –- Last year for Fathers Day, Time magazine wrote an article called The Psychology of Fatherhood  which questioned whether fathers deserve to be honored with a special day like mothers because of men’s alleged undesirable track record concerning parenting.
The two female writers (coincidence?) wrote how the research they uncovered shows that:
– In the U.S., more than half of divorced fathers lose contact with their kids within a few years.
– Men are more likely to default on a child-support payment (49%) than a used-car payment (3%).
– U.S. fathers average less than an hour a day (up from 20 minutes a few decades ago), usually squeezed in after the workday.
The female writers never mentioned what research or sources their information can be referenced to, but men’s writer Glenn Sacks was familiar with the sources. He wrote a response to the article and the research in question, showing how the women used family research from the 1960’s and other sources that were eventually proven to be unreliable.
But the best repudiation of the Time’s article comes from the magazine itself. In 2005 it ran an article about fatherhood called The Missing Father Myth in which it disputed the very claims made by it’s own female writers two years later.
In this article the male writer (coincidence?) claims the perceptions of the irresponsible father is false. His article looks at recent study of teenage fathers which show:
– 82% reported having daily contact with their children
– 74% said they contributed to the child’s financial support
– Almost 90% maintained a relationship with the mother
The findings of this study are very similar to the findings of other studies concerning fathers and families. (An excellent, in-depth look at the reality of fathers and custody issues can be found here.)

– Paul Coughlin, a writer of Christian issues wrote an article titled Pastors, Don’t Use Mother’s Day to Bash Dads in which he writes about the discriminatory practices within churches concerning mothers and fathers. Paul writes,

This Sunday we will extol the value and benefit of motherhood, which is great. But in some churches, this will be done by degrading Christian husbands, which is not great. “Our pastor makes us husbands get on our knees on Mother’s Day and beg for forgiveness. I don’t want to do it again this year,” one reader tells me. Another writes, “Our minister makes husbands write on paper all the things we’ve done wrong. Then we’re suppose to give it to our wives and pledge that we won’t do them anymore.”

A church in my community handed out a flyer to all parishioners this past week which read:

With all respect to fathers, no one influences a child as much as a devoted mother. She passes on her faith in God, her beliefs in all the virtues, patience, kindness, forgiveness. As the growing child follows her about, all the mother’s ways of thinking and doing things, are flowing into the life of the child. One might say, the mother is programming the brain and the heart of the little one on how to live in this world.

Well…if this is true, why does society even bother trying to convince men of their importance in a child’s life? After such an overtly pious description of the dominating influence mothers have on their children, what is left to say to men and fathers on Fathers Day that will convince them fatherhood has any value, or is need at all?
And if the writer of this piece really believes that mothers “program” the brains and hearts of our children, is the writer willing to accept the consequences that he/she is implying that the blame for children who grow up and engage in violence and sin must rest solely on mothers since they – not fathers – are fully responsible for the “programming” of the child?
Of course not. If the individual grows up to be a criminal, it’s because the father wasn’t present. Or if he was present, he taught the wrong set of values and virtues – despite the admission of his limited influence.
And so the cycle of discrimination against fathers continue.

While men are expected to share the responsibilities of raising children; the stress, the frustration, the anxiety, the financial drain, the personal limitations, etc., it becomes clear that when it is time to wallow in the rewards, fathers are told to sit in the corner of the room and wait until they are called – if they are ever called.
Fathers are expected to share all the first class responsibilities and hardships of being a parent, yet are treated as second class parents, or even strangers when the adulations and rewards are handed out.
Mothers are given honor and rewards in spite of their failures. Fathers are given greater scrutiny, humiliation, and shame in spite of their numerous successes.

Is it any wonder there are any good fathers left these days? Despite being vilified, disparaged, and unjustifiably attacked at every turn, including Fathers Day itself, men are consistently making progress at becoming better fathers regardless of the roadblocks so many vindictive people try to place before them. In this environment, it would be much easier for men to walk away and give up, yet many choose not to.

I will be smiling in admiration this Fathers Day.

 

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May 1, 2008

What Message Are We Sending?

   Reverend Jeremiah Wright was back in the news this week. After laying low since the controversy over his offensive and racially insensitive sermons and his relationship with presidential hopeful Barack Obama, he decided to make several appearances and interviews including one before the NAACP and The National Press Club.

If you haven’t seen some of the video clips and observed some of his theatrics (a “spectacle” is what Obama called it) or read some of his comments made at these conferences, I can say it is well worth the time. Any effort to persuade the public that Rev. Wright was being unfairly judged by a “few sound bites” on the internet can be put to rest – he validated almost every disparaging remark his critics have directed towards him.

The real shocker for me has been that as controversial as his remarks have been, the NAACP and The National Press Club asked him to speak at their events.
The NAACP invitation seems obvious until one considers the NAACP’s own mission statement:

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

Having Rev. Wright speak at a NAACP event seems to challenge the very integrity and sincerity of the organizations mission and purpose.
Consequently, The National Press Club honestly describes its history as having to deal with its own “isms”. The NPC originally was a steadfast, all white male organization that shunned women and blacks, but eventually came to terms with their own segregation practices. One would think they would be a little sensitive to controversy.
And it should be noted the Rev. Wright was going to be honored by, and receive an honorary degree from Northwestern University this week.

So what message were these organizations trying to send by asking a controversial person like Rev. Wright to speak at their events? One would think in this politically correct environment Rev. Wright would be ostracized and abandoned for his insensitive remarks, his name sending chills down the spine of event organizers. Instead, his offensive remarks and beliefs blossomed into speaking engagements and interviews.

Contrast the flexibility afforded Rev. Wright compared to that of Lawrence Summers.

Back in 2005, Harvard University president Lawrence Summers addressed a crowd of intellectuals brought together to discuss economic issues. During his speech, he made the mistake of trying to tackle the academic differences between the sexes concerning math and sciences. In an effort to find a reason for this gender gap he suggested that maybe universities should look more closely at possible genetic or biological differences between men and women since most research cannot find concrete cause and effect for this discrepancy. Summers was sincerely trying to help, not offend, but since feminist professors were present in the audience, his remarks could only be seen as insensitive, offensive, sexist, vile, and Neanderthal to name of few. One Feminist professor said Summers’ comments made her so physically ill she had to leave.
Because of his remarks, Summers eventually had to step down from his position. Although his comments were made in a sincere effort to help women, his one time slip of the tongue was weighted by feminist and academia to the conclusion that he was inherently a flawed, troubled, and backwards man.
Eventually Harvard replaced Summers with Drew G. Faust, the dean of the Radcliffe Institute, where she oversaw the study of women, gender, and society.
Today, scheduled speeches by Lawrence Summers on some university campuses have been cancelled due to protest by feminist and other “equality” groups who feel his presence on campus sends the wrong message.

The wrong message? What is the “wrong” message? Rev. Wright has tenaciously preached his controversial “message” for twenty years. Lawrence Summers had no message, just a lapse of reason.
Reverend Wright is honored, Lawrence Summers is vilified.

I’m not surprised. As a follower of gender issues it is apparent that the common thread in these controversies – that is, determining who will be condemned and who will be rewarded – depends greatly on who the malicious attacks are directed towards. If an attack is perceived to be directed at women as a whole, that person can expect to be condemned for life. If an attack is directed at men as a whole, that person will be considered an intellectual.
Rev. Wright’s “message” involved directing his anger at the government, which in societal politics is a euphemism for men. Lawrence Summers mishap was seen as an aspersion towards women – BIG mistake.
If you want to openly display hate, contempt, and discrimination in our society, and be rewarded for it, make sure your aspersions are directed towards men. When this form of gender discrimination is a part of someone’s “message”, it is guaranteed that the equality and diversity police will be present to distribute “get out of jail free” cards.

If you think I’m exaggerating, here are some disparaging, humiliating, and gender de-valuing remarks directed towards the male gender by men and women who are highly respected and/or influential in their profession:

– “I believe that women have a capacity for understanding and compassion which a man structurally does not have, does not have it because he cannot have it he’s just incapable of it” (Barbara Jordan, US Congress, from a speech given in Austin, Texas, The Houston Chronicle, 09/28/91).

– “As is our wont, we commenced work on a series of projects that stunk everything up and made a mess of our world. Women? They deserve none of the blame. They continued to bring life into this world; we continued to destroy it whenever we could. We can’t pin any of this on women . . . every bit of plunder and pillage, every attack on the environment, everything that has brought horror and destruction to all that was once pure and good has come from hands that, well, when they aren’t busy bringing pleasure to one-self, are working overtime to wipe out this beautiful, wonderful home we were given” (Michael Moore, Stupid White Men).

– “Men have a perfect right to be insecure. They’re doomed, poor darlings. It won’t be next Thursday or anything but men, says Bryan Sykes, a leading British researcher on sex chromosomes, ‘are now on notice’. . . . Are men necessary? I ask Dr Sykes. ‘Clearly not,’ he replies. Are men necessary? I ask British geneticist Steve Jones. ‘You don’t even need the sex slaves,’ Dr Jones assures me. ‘You just need their cells in a freezer.’ He fantasizes about ‘a world without men’, a version of the mythological ‘cult of Diana’ hunter-gatherer societies where women were in charge and men were just there for entertainment, where there would be ‘no Y chromosomes to enslave the feminine, the destructive spiral of greed and ambition fuelled by sexual ambition diminishes and, as a direct result, the sickness of our planet eases. The world no longer reverberates to the sound of men’s clashing antlers and the grim repercussions of private and public warfare.’” (Maureen Dowd, Are Men Necessary?, “Male free zone,” 01/22/06, Sydney Morning Herald)

– “The truly terrifying thing is that it could happen. The technology of asexual female reproduction in the human species really isn’t that far off. If suitably dedicated women overcame any ethical objections and applied themselves to the task they could be cloned within a decade. Those women see males for what they are, biological parasites on the parental care of females.” (John Gribbin, The Redundant Male)

– “To create and preserve a less violent world. I) Every culture must affirm a female future. II) Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture. III) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10 percent of the human race.” (Sally Miller Gearhart, University of San Francisco, The Future—If There Is One—Is Female,” MasMystique).

– “One can know everything and still be unable to accept the fact that sex and murder are fused in the male consciousness, so that the one without the imminent possibly of the other is unthinkable and impossible.” (Andrea Dworkin, Letters from a War Zone, Lawrence Hill Books; Reprint 1993, p. 21).

– “Nature blundered badly in designing males . . . because of neurochemical stuff like testosterone; males are not naturally suited to civilization.” (Columnist George F. Will, “Nature and the Male Sex,” Newsweek, 06/17/91).

– “If there were more women in positions of power, not just in Congress, but across the United States and around the world, lots of things would be better. Not perfect. But better.” (Dee Dee Myers’s from her book, Why Women Should Rule the World)

– “I think women are too valuable to be in combat.” (U.S. Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger, MOMP, p. 126).

– “Testosterone won’t help if you’re married to a schmuck,” (Sheryl Kingsberg, chief of behavioral medicine at Case Medical Center in Cleveland when discussing testosterone supplements for women with low sex drives, Chicago Tribune 02/27/08).

Not one of these individuals was exposed to the imminent fear of losing their jobs, their status, or their professional respectability for their derogatory, humiliating, and hateful remarks towards men. Reverse the genders and ask yourself if their remarks would have gone unnoticed or unchallenged.

As of this writing, Barack Obama has cut all ties with Rev. Wright. This has angered some in the African-American community. I’m sure Obama was aware of the consequences, but at least I give him credit, he is finally an advocate of equality practicing what he preaches. Sadly, I can’t say that about the majority of other advocates for equality.
I hope this is a shifting of the paradigm – the right message being sent.

 

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Quotes courtesy of Tim Goldich

March 21, 2008

Obama’s Speech Not Necessarily Honest

barack-obama.jpg       Normally I don’t dwell into racial politics, but lately, like everyone else, I feel that I have become drawn into. And the reason why I will write about it now is because of the similarities I see between black leaders and feminist leaders. Both groups demand others hold themselves accountable for any “ism”, whether great of small. At the same time, both refuse to offer apologies and hold themselves accountable when some “ism” is found embedded within themselves or within their own groups.

I read Barack Obama’s speech he gave on racism earlier this week and I walked away feeling Obama is a greater idealist rather than a sincere leader for racial healing. More importantly, I feel Obama is starting to show similarities to what I’ve seen in other black leaders who, when faced events resembling racism and hate within their own circles, find someone else or something else to blame for the behavior. Also, many black leaders refuse to apologize to those harmed by their false accusations or invectives when over a period of time, the evidence brought forth concerning an incident proves their zealous assumptions were wrong.

It was Obama’s minister and spiritual adviser Jeremiah Wright and his racist, anti-American sermons that forced Obama into addressing the complex and insidious nature of racism in this country. In his speech he said,

I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias. But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.

This is what raised the first red flag for me concerning Obama’s sincerity. Consider this: Rev. Wright’s inflammatory comments and Obama’s relation to him were brought to Obama’s attention almost a year ago. He made an attempt then to ignore it, and try to distance himself from the controversial minister.
Fast forward to this week, and Obama conveys to the American public that race is such an important issue in society that it shouldn’t be ignored. To the contrary, when confronted with this same information almost a year ago, he chose to ignore it. And it should also be noted that he chose not to address this “serious” issue of racism until he felt compelled to. Only when he was forced into it by the surge in public awareness of his pastor’s controversial remarks, and more importantly, when his popularity polls were suddenly taking a nose dive due to his relations with the pastor, did he begin to assume the role of St. Obama, harbinger of racial healing.

And it should be noted that this presidential candidate, who strongly vocalized how racist behaviors can no longer be ignored, and must be dealt with directly and honestly, actually denied last week that he ever heard such language come from the mouth of Rev. Wright. But in a stunning change, during his “historical” speech, he openly admits to being present and listening to Rev. Wright’s inflammatory sermons.
Is this tackling racist behavior “directly and honestly”?

I remember Mr. Obama being attacked last year by the Rev. Jesse Jackson for acting “too white”. This accusation was made due to Jackson’s frustration with Obama’s slow reaction and commentary to the racially charged Jena 6 controversy. It took Obama and his staff longer than expected to weigh in on the controversy.
Again, a man who is telling others the implications and impact of racism cannot be ignored, had to be goaded into a response concerning Jena 6 with a racist remark from a fellow black leader. Talk about irony!

However, when it came to Don Imus and his infamous “nappy-headed hos” remark towards the mostly black female Rutgers basketball team, Obama chose not to ignore it, and immediately called for NBC to fire Imus.
Talking to ABC News, Obama said,  

“There’s nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude. He didn’t just cross the line, he fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America.”

 BIG red flag!

The remarks by Don Imus were very offensive to his daughters, but the hate-filled racist rants by Obama’s own Rev. Wright were a weekly ritual for Obama and his family. And a black man, who made a name for himself spewing virulent racist remarks, was Obama’s first choice to baptize his daughters – the two people he claims he is trying to shield from such damaging rhetoric. 
For over twenty years he listened to this racist behavior along with family and friends, but not until now did he make an effort to condemn it. In other words, he chose to ignore it – the opposite of his position in his “historic” speech.

So let’s reflect.

If you’re like me, you begin to see some serious bullshit being flung your way. Most notably, you see that when Obama is faced with having to address racism or hate coming from black people that is directed towards white people, he is hesitant to address it. When the racism or hate comes from white people and is directed towards black people, his hesitancy disappears.

This is not unusual behavior for black leaders. When faced with having to condemn one of their own for serious racial divisiveness – just as Obama had to do – blame is always shifted back onto someone else or something else – just as Obama did – and the offender(s) walk away without any serious consequences for their actions – just as Obama allowed for Rev. Wright.
Black leaders protect their own. If we are seriously going to address racism in this country, them we must be willing to understand that just like any other “ism”, it is always a two-way street. While black leaders can hold white people responsible for their racism, when the tables are turned, to prove the sincerity of their cause, they must hold black people just as accountable for their nefarious actions.

Here are some racially charged events where black leaders have avoided holding themselves, or others in the black community, accountable for their actions:

  • In 1987, Tawana Brawley, a black teenager, accuses six white men of raping and beating her. It turns out the allegations were false, but not before the Rev. Al Sharpton unleashes numerous racial inflammatory accusations against the men, particularly Steve Pagones. Pagones eventually sues Sharpton for slander and defamation of character and wins. To this day, Sharpton has openly refused to apologize for any of his remarks, beliefs, or the harmed he caused Pagones and others associated with the Tawana Brawley case. 
  • Sharpton’s National Action Network became involved in tenant-landlord dispute involving Jewish and black building owners in Harlem. Sharpton incites racial overtones into the dispute claiming the Jews and racism are to blame. Some protesters stand outside one Jewish store threatening to burn it down. Sharpton’s own colleague, Morris Powell states, “We’re going to see that this cracker suffers.” Eventually the store is burned down and seven people are killed. Sharpton and his organization deny any responsibility for the incident. 
  • When New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas is video taped saying white men calling black women whores is wrong, but black men calling black women whores is not as bad, during a sexual harassment deposition, Rev. Sharpton calls for a boycott of Thomas at first, but then forgives Thomas say he was too quick to judge.
  • When female broadcaster Kelly Tilghman, who is white, uses an insensitive remark about “lynching” regarding the play of Tiger Woods, Tiger reviews the context of her comment and accepts her apology saying, “We know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments.” However, the Rev. Al Sharpton refuses to accept Tigers forgiveness, or Tilghman’s apology, and demands she be fired for her irresponsible behavior. He stated in a CNN report, “it is the word — not the person or their history — that matters.”
  • When asked about Rev. Wright, whose daughter also happens to be president of Sharpton’s National Action Network chapter in Chicago, Sharpton told the Chicago Sun-Times that the judgments against Wright are “grossly unfair.” “He has a right to express his views,” he said. “This is ridiculous. I think Jeremiah Wright has been totally distorted.”
  • The Rev. Jesse Jackson positions himself as an ally of the black female accuser in the Duke University rape scandal against a group of young white men. Jackson helps promote the belief that the men accused are guilty based on evidence of historical racism in this country. After the young men are cleared of rape charges, and the original story appears fabricated, Jackson never offers an apology to the accused men. However, the false accuser was given a free college education by Jackson and Operation PUSH. 
  • After the Don Imus controversy, both the Rev. Jackson and Rev. Sharpton come under criticism for their outrage at Imus’ comments towards the Rutgers women. Critics began to question the duo as to why the same outrage is not directed towards black hip-hop artist and black rappers whose words and images of women in their music and videos is much more offensive than Imus’ words. Both Sharpton and Jackson acknowledge this disparity and vow to put pressure on those in the music industry guilty of the same behavior. Within days, they both announce the real blame for the degrading attitude towards women in rap and hip-hop music belongs to the white record producers, not the black artists.
  • Last May, a deer was found in a Baltimore fire station adorned with an afro wig, gold tooth, gold chain, and a cigarette hanging from its mouth.  Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, immediately accused the Baltimore Fire Department of institutional racism. He stated, “There is now and has been a culture of racism and white supremacy within the Baltimore City Fire Department”.  After a black firefighter came forward and admitted he was responsible for the behavior, Cheatam refused to apologize for his harsh words against the white firefighters, and stood defiantly by his original statement.
  • In November of last year, at the same firehouse, a noose was found with a sarcastic note referring to an EMT cheating scandal within the department. Marvin “Doc” Cheatham pounced on the opportunity to prove white racism is rampant in the Baltimore Fire Department, and he demanded the incident be handled as a hate crime – which after the Jena 6 controversy, did result in a federal investigation into the matter. Later, a disgruntled black firefighter confessed to be the perpetrator of the incident, but Cheatham refused to blame him. Instead, he blamed white racism within the fire department for the man’s actions. Cheatham stated, “It really saddens us to hear that evidently things have reached a stage that even an African-American does an injustice to himself and his own people as a result of a negative culture in that department.”

As someone who was schooled, has always worked, and currently lives in a diversified community, it is with confidence that I can say that many middle-class African-Americans do not identify with the current black leaders. They too, have been appalled and disillusioned by some of the actions of these men, but at the same time, they conclude, these men are the only powerful black voices looking out for their people and their issues. This is why Obama has become so popular for them. Not only does he have the opportunity to become the first black president, but besides all his faults, he has become the first black powerful voice of reason for the black community. 

And for that I cannot fault them. I too see Obama as a better leader because of his ability to reason, to understand, and his apparent greater flexibility than the traditional black leaders. But what I saw from him is something that has been present in the equality movements for sometime. I have to challenge what I see as the continuance of the inequality of responsibility that exist in America today. What I mean is the constant need for minority leaders to excuse themselves or those close to them while austerely demanding full accountability and penalties for those who are perceived to have harmed them. 

As a white male, I am willing to hold myself accountable for any “ism” I manifest consciously or unconsciously, but I am not so stupid as to think that only my recognition and accountability of these “ism” is the gateway to harmonious diversity. Sadly, many minority leaders feel the serious work and change belongs with the “other guys”. They truly believe that they are devoid of any “isms”, that somehow they are superior human beings that didn’t succumb to the powerful evils of hate, contempt, and humiliation when they were the targets of those forces. Every time one is brushed by those forces, it leaves its stain, and the power of those emotions become embedded in ones soul. Therefore, to truly reverse these “isms”, everyone must be responsible for their doing their own laundry. This means everyone must be held equally accountable. The past is no excuse for the present; it is only an understanding of how we got here.

I think this is the message Obama was trying resonate. However, I believe in actions not words. If he wants me to believe  in his message, then it must show that it starts with him, and transcends to those close to him. If he begins to hold himself, and those around him as accountable as he did Don Imus, then I will believe him. If he challenges the traditional black leaders in this country concerning their volatile racial messages, then I will stand with him. If he truly wants to help fathers become more involved in their children’s lives, something stated in his speech, then he must address the “isms” in feminism. Only then will I see a man who is sincere about our nation’s future.

Until then, I will reserve my position that Obama is a better politician, than a genuine racial healer.

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