It’s Alright, When It’s All White

What follows was originally posed on my Blogger site on Saturday, January 3, 2009:

Ok, somebody had to say it, so leave it up to me: Does anyone recognize the racist and classist double-standard that has surrounded the country’s feelings on the Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston situation?

Lemme see if I got this right–Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate; from the ‘family values’ party, had a child out of wedlock; that child became a teen, had premarital sex (at least once), got pregnant and left school (I won’t call it dropping out just yet); the baby-daddy (a teenager himself) also left school, (oh by the way his mother was arrested on felony meth charges), is unemployed and talking about getting a G.E.D. (good-enough-diploma) and getting a job.

So Governor Palin has said that this situation is a family affair and that she wouldn’t call what Bristol and Levi are doing ‘dropping out’. She said they are going to get jobs and join the workforce. Good luck in this economy with no education (the out of work car salesmen will beat them out for those Wal-Mart jobs). She also said that at least they weren’t talking advantage of the system.

We all know what that means. . .

So where is the discussion about the moral hypocrisy in the Republican party? Why is this not just another domino in the republican sex scandal, gay-bashing, mega-churching, tax-evading, Limbaugh-loving right? Why isn’t this folksy gal from Wasilla with theendearing wink being called to task for a family that could very easily the topic of a Jerry Springer episode? That discussion is nowhere to found apparently. Fix News (big-up to Keith Olberman for that one) let them tell their story with no spin. Yea, right!

Chris Rock said it most eloquently, “it’s alright. . . when it’s all white.”

If this were the tale of a pregnant black unwed teen who happened to be the child of a presidential or vp candidate and her dropout boyfriend with a drug selling mother, the media would have a field day with the coverage about the state of the black community and the values of this group. The black Palins would be poster-children for their entire race and their situation would highlight generations of dysfunctional pathology in the black family. Is this racist to anyone else but me?

I won’t even get started about what people would have said if this actually were the Obama children.

But alas, a white family who has legitimately difficult issues that effect their children and family has the luxury of actually having those issues be relatively contained to their children, and not projected onto an entire racial, ethnic, or economic group. Unfortunately, many white Americans would even turn on their own if these were people who happen to reside in a trailer park or were in the lower economic strata. Is this classist to anyone else but me?

Let’s keep it real friends. White privilege is very much alive and well. The reality is that a jacked-up family is a jacked-up family, regardless of color. Children who make decisions that they (and we) regret and would not have them make is par for the course in parenting. Children sometimes go astray despite our best efforts. They will certainly go astray if we don’t train them properly. Only God and the Palin’s know what really happened to them.

Moral correctness is not limited to a political party. So be careful what you run on folks and how you judge others, the caustic and judgemental words you say may not taste so good when you have to eat them later.

But for now it seems that it’s alright when it’s all white. . .and middle-class.


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