Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Hillary Clinton: not Barack Obama

Posted by Chris on April 6, 2008

This amazing revelation was given to us by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Yes– shocking. Hillary does not know what it’s like to be black. Or to grow up somewhere where she did not grow up, etc… I get his point, I’m not that obtuse. I’m not here to add another log to the fire of criticism of Rev. Wright. As far as I’m concerned, he can say whatever he wants; what he said really is not all that alarming to me (from a political view that is).

Of all the identities Wright attached to Obama (poor, black, midwestern, from a single-mom household, unable to hail a taxi), I think the quality with the most significance, but which is talked about the least, is him coming from a single-parent childhood.

Certainly, there is more bias in our society on the basis of race than on number of parents. In spite of that, kids from single-parent households, no matter the race, fall behind black children in the various “statistical outcomes.”

For example, in 2006: 36.5% of single-mom households with kids are poor (below the poverty threshold, henceforth “BPL”). (stats coming from census.gov and National Center for Health Statistics). 28.4% of all black families with kids are BPL. Only 9.2% of married black families with kids are BPL.
In 1971, when Barack turned 10, 44.9% of female households with kids were BPL while 34.5% of all black families with kids were BPL.

Meanwhile, more kids are being born to single moms than ever. In fact, many more kids are born to an unmarried mom, than born black. 37% for unmarried women vs. 14.1% black in 2005. Black might make you more of a “minority” numbers-wise, but do we even think of these single-parent kids as a category? Maybe we should. They make up a larger minority than any race but my unscientific hypothesis is that they get less attention and benefit from less representation than any ethnic group.

I want to ignore the moral aspect, which I see briefly as: the growth in kids to single parents is or will have more to do with wealthy single parents as opposed to poor moms. The US will follow the trend of Western Europe and marry less and less but people will still have kids. There is also a moral component in that society is less prone to identify single-parent children as a demographic because while one cannot help the color of skin, one can avoid having kids out-of-wedlock– and we definitely don’t want to judge non-marital sexual relations.

I want to ignore it because at this point, it is more helpful to conceive of single-parents under the old school of thought, i.e. usually lower-income/less educated/etc… and this was certainly even more true when Obama was a child. And I am guessing that children born to single moms are, oh let’s say, about 300 times as likely to have kids out of wedlock (attn: intentional hyperbole). Whatever your political affiliation, you can agree that Barack has the least family “issues” in his adult life of the 3 candidates. I’m not calling that a big accomplishment– but it is a remarkable exception to the norm.

So national media, let’s talk about Barack Obama, the man who came from a single-parent home. Single-parent-households, let’s tell our kids that to aspire to be like him. Society, let’s not be afraid to open the discussion on marriage– not gay marriage– but the lackthereof in any form. We should be able to discuss this without accusation of religious bigotry in the same way we discuss race or anything else. For crying out loud, if 2 out of 5 kids are born with any factor in common, I think that qualifies it as mainstream enough to not cry bigotry with every mention.

Whoever I vote for and whatever happens, I hope Barack opens the door for this conversation and that it leads to others like him (not black) to speak with credibility and authority on the matter.

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One Response to “Hillary Clinton: not Barack Obama”

  1. […] Chris’ Original Blogbeque wrote an interesting post today on Hillary Clinton: not Barack ObamaHere’s a quick excerptHillary does not know what it’s like to be black…. […]

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