We must challenge Fake Noise (aka Fox Network – I refuse to call them a news station because I’ve never seen a network that makes up its own news). Here’s why:

Pundits like Cal Thomas should not be allowed to dictate the discourse regarding whether Black Women are angry or not. Shoot, after all the hell we catch, we have a right to be angry, and bigoted pansies masquerading as political pundits must not be allowed to dictate the discussion, or participate in it no more than asking questions and then shutting up the listen for the answers. I’m sorry to say that Senator Obama’s speechifying in Black Churches on Father’s Day in an attempt to be “down”, has resulted in Dr. Watkins having to pen an Open Letter to the Senator to remind him that not all brothas are deadbeat fathers. Many of them are holding it down, and he should have been giving props instead of dissing:

While I know some black men (and white men) who abandon their kids, I know far more men who are right there with them. I know many men who want to be with their children, but they are dealing with an overbearing, hyper-dominant custodial parent who doesn’t allow him to see his child. I know a lot of men who wanted to stay married, but the conditions of the marriage were unacceptable, or their wives left them. I know many men who would have gladly taken their children with them after the divorce, but their wives (who refused to remain married) did not let the children go. In fact, I get many calls and emails from men around the country to this effect. So, if we are going to point out of the flaws of black men, we need to point out the role that EVERYONE plays in the breakdown of American families. The notion of flat out abandonment, while easy to construct and comfortably fitting with the negative portrayals of black men in America, is inaccurate in many cases. To say that fatherless homes are completely the fault of irresponsible black men is like saying that broken families are the fault and sole domain of black women who can’t manage their relationships. Both statements would be correct in some cases (we all know at least one insane “baby mama”), and flat out wrong in others.

Mother’s Day is not a day to assault divorced women for being bad mothers or to assume that they are doing things to tear their own families apart. Independence Day is not the day to remind our government of the millions we kill around the world every year. Similarly, Father’s Day is not the day to tell all black men that we are terrible dads. You don’t spend Christmas talking about the devil. Father’s Day is not a day to obsess over bad fathers, it is a day to show respect for the good ones. Also, negative stereotyping should be challenged, since 18 million men do not move with the same mind. I can’t find a single media story that focuses on the millions of rank and file black men who do remarkable things in the world, but I can always find a stack of haters who swear that black men are the worst creatures on the planet.

I love you Barack, but please don’t ever paint me and other men with a brush we don’t deserve. All of us don’t behave in the ways of your father (the Harvard educated man who likely played some role in the fact that you went to Harvard as well). Also, we are not always the ones responsible for the breakdowns of our relationships. We know that good fatherhood is critical, and the instinct of men to care for young children doesn’t disappear with black men. At the same time, we can all do better to make American families stronger, since many Americans (not just black people) see their families ripped apart by divorce every year. I am not sure how anyone in their right mind can lay all these problems solely at the feet of black men. We’ve got to be more responsible than that.

Now some of you are going to say I’m hating on the Senator, but, really, have we gotten to the point that legitimate critiquing of the man is no longer allowed? Apparently, my colleague at Black Agenda Report got a gill-full and did his own call out:

The Black man who wants to be president spends Father’s Day at church in loud and general denunciation of Black males. For added insult, he describes them as “boys.” Barack Obama’s primary audience isn’t the conservative Black Pentecostal congregation, but “white social conservatives in a race where these voters may be up for grabs,” says the New York Times. In America, even the “Black” corporate candidate runs against Black people. How did such madness come to pass in 2008? Blame the Black “progressive” misleaders who failed to challenge Obama when they had the chance. Now it’s too late, and African Americans are reduced to objects of derision.

My concern is not what the Senator said, per se, or his wife, either. Any Black woman as polished, educated and not playing Mammy always gives the bigots fits because she’s seen as being “uppity” and “out of her place”. Yet, it is these comments that come from Senator Obama that gives license to “pundits” at Fox to label us as either “Angry Blacks” or “Deadbeat Dads” and “Baby Mamas”. I hope someone on Senator Obama’s staff, preferably a brotha or sista, yanks his coattails on this one.

Glen Ford shows no mercy at all with this one:

Obama’s two young daughters were seated in the church, upfront, to hear their father call other Black men “boys” with no sense of responsibility. Ironically, a key Black rationale for supporting Obama is that he is a great “role model” for Black children. Imagine that: an ethnic role model, whose ostensible purpose is to make The Race proud, yet who with great fanfare periodically sneers at the supposedly debased morality of his own people. That’s close to the definition of sick.

My colleague keeps it real (too real for those who say he’s a hater when he’s dropping knowledge) and while I wouldn’t go that far (because he already has), I do have to voice concern that Obama needs to mention he’s been able to hold it down as a father when his own pappy hightailed it back to Africa and three other wives he had on lockdown while abandoning his white wife here in America – Obama’s father shouldn’t be excused, but neither should he be calling out all Black men as fathers (which I don’t think he intended, but that’s the way it’s coming out)and providing Fake Noise with fodder that they don’t have to make up.

It’s a long way between now and November, and Barack Obama will make plenty of speeches in the interim. When he deserves shout outs, we give them to him. When he errors and hands ammunition to the enemy (and Fake Noise is the enemy, y’all) we need to not only challenge and take back the discourse on the Black Race away from Fake Noise, we need to be equally willing to pull Senator’s coattail and tell him how his words are going to be interpreted when they get into the wrong hands.

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