No, You Aren’t Amber Cole’s Father

If you follow events on the intertubes, you may have heard of the sad case of Amber Cole, a 14-year-old girl who was videotaped giving oral sex to a boy the same age, as one of his friends watched. The other videotaped it, of course; then, being a massive douche, he uploaded it to Facebook. From there it went viral, because I guess child pornography is okay now.

If you’ve followed reality for the past ever, you know exactly how this has gone down. Amber Cole’s name has been spread far and wide across the internet. The boys in the video remain anonymous. Amber’s transgression is viewed as totally awful; the boys — well, they’ll be boys, amirite?

Meanwhile, there’s been not enough of a strong defense of Amber — who is African American — from the white feminist community. I’m not sure why, though I suspect it’s a bit of fallout from the Slutwalk whitesplaining debacle. This needs to stop; Amber Cole doesn’t deserve to have me know her name and her teen sins, and that is something that any decent human should say without reservation. We can do that without wading back into the Slutwalk controversy (such as it is — anyone with the vaguest understanding of white privilege knows what went wrong there, and why. It’s not so much a controversy as Exhibit Q for the proposition that being liberal does not make one automatically anti-racist.)

So yes, we should vocally defend Amber Cole. Not to say that there aren’t potentially interesting things we could talk about regarding intersectionality, the way that African American women who are sexually active are treated differently than white women, and the marginalizing of non-white voices in the feminist community. These are all important and serious issues that we should deal with in an open and honest manner. And we could use the Amber Cole case as an opportunity to do so. I’d love to see, say, Jezebel post something by an African American writer regarding this debacle. And lo and behold, they have!

This is great. Or it would be great, if the writer in question was, say, Pam Spaulding or Renee Martin. But it isn’t. No, the writer in question is Jimi Izrael who, you may have noticed, is a guy. Now, being a male feminist, that’s not so much a problem. What is a problem is that Izrael is not a feminist. He’s an unrepentant MRA whose main take on the Chris Brown attack on Rhianna was to talk about how Rhianna shouldn’t have been reading Chris’ text messages. He’s best known for a book in which he castigates African American women for being too picky and choosing handsome alpha males instead of Nice Guys™.

So yeah. This should be awesome, if by “awesome” you mean “horrifying.” And the “awesome” starts right with the headline.

I Am Amber Cole’s Father

He’s…he’s not going to pretend he’s Amber’s dad, is he? That would be…that would be awful. Tell me he isn’t going to….

I am Amber Cole’s father. I am angry, confused and completely at a loss. I love my daughter. I want to guide her without suppressing her. That is not always easy.  Children need protection from their worst inclinations. That is not always easy.

Oh, fuck me.

I am trying to convince her that the world will still love her if she keeps her clothes on. I do not know if she can hear me, or if she is listening. She would listen to her mother, if her mother was not busy. Doing something, anything that is not parenting.  I want her mother to spend less time being “empowered” and more time being aware and engaged with our daughter. I want her mother to be a better role model, not a BFF.  It takes two.

Correction: fuck you.

Where the hell did that come from? Where in God’s name did Izrael come up with that half a paragraph? There’s been no evidence put forward that Amber’s mother is particularly disengaged or a bad parent. No evidence that she failed to talk to Amber about anything. No evidence that she’s anything other than a good, dedicated parent. Near as I can tell, this sequence is just pure, free-floating misogyny projected onto a situation that Izrael knows very little about. It won’t be the last.

Anyhow, Izrael’s first paragraph was about attacking Amber’s mom. Hopefully, he’ll mention the boys who, you know, videotaped this and uploaded it to the internet. After all, we know they did something wrong.

I am Amber Cole’s father and this should go with saying: I am angry with those boys.

Well, okay. That’s…

But I knew those boys. Those boys were my friends. I grew up with those boys, hung out with those boys.

You know what I would never, never, never say about boys who intentionally degraded my daughter? This. I can assure you, if God forbid anyone should ever violate my daughter’s privacy and trust like that, my vengeance will be swift and awesome. I will not muse that I knew boys like you; I will do everything in my power to make your life miserable.

No father could reminisce about his childhood while talking about his child being shamed. No father worth a damn, anyhow.

But I was always The Other Guy – the boy you do not see on the tape. The one who, because of religious beliefs, self-respect or common sense decides to have no parts of such a thing. He is a nerd. He is an outsider. He is long gone, at home reading and writing. I want to meet The Other Guy and shake his hand. I’m trying to raise The Other Guy. But it is not easy. Girls don’t like The Other Guy. Being the Other Guy is not as cool as being one of the boys. I want to raise my boy to not be that kind of cool. Being a gentleman is cool. I want him to get the chance I did not have. I want him to to wait for that special girl.

Oh. My. God. He did not just pull out a Nice Guy™ whine in the second fucking paragraph of his post on how he loves his fake daughter, did he? He did? Kunapipi, take the wheel.

And by the way, you know how you can ensure that your son doesn’t grow up to treat women with respect? Tell him that women don’t respect decent guys — but that he should be one anyhow. That’s a message that is going to have 50 percent effectiveness.

I am Amber Cole’s father and I have seen the video.

You know what I will never, never, never, never, never do? Watch a sex video with my daughter in it. Ever. Period. Seriously, I’d rather blind myself.

You probably have too.

Nope. Not into kiddie porn. Especially when it was uploaded specifically to shame a 14-year-old girl.

I would like to ask her mother’s boyfriend, Karrine Steffans or Kim Kardashian where my daughter learned that. How she became proficient at such a difficult act.

Now, I’m not going to run down blowjobs here. They’re great, and I think most men enjoy receiving them from their partners. But let’s face it, they’re not rocket science. I’ve never given one, but I think if I for some reason decided to, I could figure it out. Indeed, billions of men and women have managed to figure it out just fine, even before Kim Kardashian was born!

I want to know who has been teaching my little girl how to act like a woman while I have been trying to teach her to be a young lady. Teens don’t have the tools they need to express, explore and comprehend the consequences of careless intimacy. I want to know what kinds of people we are allowing to look after our children when we are not around. I want to know why my 14 year-old knows so much about oral sex.

Look, Amber and her partner are ahead of where I was at 14, but not by much. I knew what a blowjob was at 14. I hadn’t had one, but I wouldn’t have turned one down, either. Now, I was too young to engage in that level of physical intimacy, but like roughly every 14-year-old on the planet, knowing that probably wouldn’t have stopped me.

I think it’s good that we tell our kids about sex. That we set them up to learn what it is and what it isn’t. I’m not going to pretend that I think Amber or her partner made good choices here — if Amber made her decision freely, it wasn’t a good one, and however things went down, her partner made a bad one. But I’m not going to pretend that nobody was making bad choices about sex twenty years ago, or two hundred, or two thousand. Romeo and Juliet were about 14; teens have been making bad decisions about sex forever.

Of course, this supposes the act was consensual. It might not have been, not fully. Which takes this out of “bad decision” territory and into “rape” territory. This should go without saying; certainly, Izrael doesn’t say anything about it. But that’s because he assumes his not-daughter was behaving like a slut. Any other possibility never crosses his mind.

And now, let the dynamite go boom.

I am Amber Cole’s father, and I am not raising a slut. White feminists can teach their own little girls to find empowerment through their crotches – my brown little girl cannot afford to be that carefree and cavalier with her life choices.

A few commenters on Jezebel defended this part. I’m not going to. Oh, Izrael is right that African American women do not have the freedom to be as open about their sexuality as White women do, at least for now. But that’s not a good thing; that’s something that hopefully will change someday. And I don’t know any women, not even the most sex-positive of the sex-positive, who are arguing that they’ve found “empowerment through their crotches.” What they’ve said — and what I believe — is that what they choose to do with those crotches is their own damn business, and that doesn’t define whether they’re worthwhile or not.

But — and this is the important part — Amber wasn’t giving quasi-public blowjobs to her boyfriend to empower herself. If rumors are to be believed, she was doing it to win back an ex. Or maybe win a boy’s affection. She was doing it to get attention from boys. If other sources are to be believed, she was coerced into it. If Izrael was serious about caring about Amber, he’d ask why his not-daughter felt she had to use sex to hold onto a relationship, or worse, why she had no choice but to engage in a sex act. And why we teach our sons that this is a price they can demand.

But he’s not interested in that discussion. He’d much rather bash white feminists.

Slutlife is the hard, lonely vocation of rich, educated, privileged white women who will fuck The World, contract social diseases and still, somehow find a husband. No black woman ever got far being a slut. I want to know what kind of women “slutwalk,” while young impressionable girls of all kinds look on with wonder and admiration. I want to know why these same women run to protect Miley Cyrus but just shrugged, nonplussed for my little brown girl. I want to know what the fuck those dumb bunnies are thinking. Most of them do not have daughters. I want my daughter, the woman, to have healthy, vibrant sexuality. My little girl should have other priorities. I am her father.  I will protect her and every woman in my life with my life.

That paragraph is all over the map. White feminists are sluts who won’t stick up for my not-daughter! And they’re also stupid and don’t have daughters, unlike me with my not-daughter, who I want to have a healthy sexuality! I don’t want her to care about sexuality. I’m her not-father, and I’ll protect her with my life, but I don’t really care enough to get mad at the boys who were involved here.

And that’s the rub. There’s far more vitriol in this column for white feminists, Kim Kardashian, and a fictional representation of Amber Cole’s mother than for the boys who actually and certainly videotaped this act and uploaded it to the internet, and may have pressured her into the act itself. Women suck. Boys will be boys. But boy, Izrael sure cares about Amber, so much that he’s gonna bring it home with a pure MRA rant.

I am Amber Cole’s father. Don’t ask where I was that afternoon, because you already know. I was at work, just like you. I do not live with her, cannot always talk to her, cannot always be there. Not the way I want, and there are few laws to help me. To protect me and my rights. No one cares that I cannot be the kind of father I would like to be, until my daughter is a link, a hashtag, a trending topic. A punch-line. The subject of what may be the most widely seen piece of child pornography in history: A 14 year-old giving oral while two other boys watch and laugh. You say what you would do, what you would say, but you have no idea. We are all great parents with other people’s children. You blame me. Do not judge me. I love my daughter as much as you love yours. I am doing the best I can. I need the help of a partner who at times seems to be modeling the kind of behavior I am discouraging. We are fighting. Pushing and pulling, in no one’s best interest. Why can’t this be about my daughter? No, this is not about blame. It takes a village that starts with parents – all parties must be accountable. But parenting? Yeah.  To do it well–even after all these years –it still takes two.

And again, we go back to the projection of what Izrael sees as the relationship between Amber’s parents, a relationship that he has no connection to whatsoever. Amber’s mother and father may be together. They may be split up. I don’t know, and a quick Google search doesn’t tell me. Maybe they are split up. They could be.

But if they are, there’s no evidence that Amber’s mom is fighting with her dad. No evidence that Amber’s dad is shut out of the relationship in favor of the mom. And not for nothing, but sometimes, despite the best parenting in the world, kids screw up. If the act was consensual, I don’t really blame Amber and her partner for it. In the grand scheme of things, they did nothing that millions of 14-year-olds haven’t done, and if it was a bad decision, it’s a bad decision that they share will many, many others.

As for Izrael’s questions — what would I do? What would I say? I don’t know. I feel awful for Amber and for her family. I wouldn’t substitute my judgment for theirs. I hope I could find a way to be supportive, while keeping myself from murdering anyone. But I don’t know how Amber Cole’s family works, and I won’t pretend I do. Unlike Izrael, who’s decided her family works like every MRA’s fever dream says it does.

Bring it home with the awful.

Kid sex is as old as time, but that realization doesn’t make me feel any better. Amber Cole is my daughter.

I am Jimi Izrael. I am not really Amber Cole’s father.  But she is my daughter.

You do not think so. But she is your daughter too.

No, she isn’t. And she isn’t your daughter, either.

Do you hear me? She isn’t your daughter.

Amber Cole doesn’t need you as a father. Indeed, thank God she doesn’t have you as a father. At a time when she’s had an intimate act spread across the internet, had her name plastered up on YouTube and Facebook and Twitter, had her morals questioned and her technique critiqued, she needs parents who actually will try to support her. I don’t know if her parents will. But you sure as hell won’t.

You’re too interested in moralizing and lecturing and blaming women — over and over again — to give more than a passing nod to the greatest lapse of judgment in this sad, sordid affair. Not Amber giving a blowjob, nor her partner receiving one, assuming it was consensual. Not even the act being done with his friends around. But the decision — willful, premeditated, and with malice aforethought — to videotape the act and upload the video to the internet, where it was bound to spread. Giving in to sexual urges? Nobody who’s done so can truly claim that it’s a decision made completely rationally. But choosing to intentionally shame someone? That’s a choice. And a horrible one.

If you were really Amber’s father, the first thing you’d have written would be names — three names, to be specific. Yes, they’re minors, but so’s your daughter, and the whole world knows her name now. I’d be screaming the names of the boys who violated her. Telling them to anyone who would listen. I’d tell people this should be the called Adam, Billy and Chuck video. Wasn’t Adam a partner in the sex act? Wasn’t Billy watching? Didn’t Chuck hold the camera? Why aren’t they getting attacked? And by the way, given that there were three boys there, and one girl, and the boys were friends — how willingly did Amber consent? You never even to ask the fucking question. That would be my first question, and the first question of any decent father.

If you were Amber’s father, really Amber’s father, you’d be angry at YouTube and Facebook for keeping child pornography – child pornography — online after you notified them about it. You’d be angry at the school for not having their property adequately monitored. You’d be furious at the boys who at best merely violated her privacy, and at worst raped her. And you’d be focused on helping your daughter heal, not yelling and screaming about how bad her mom is. Because when your child is hurting, if you’re any kind of decent parent, that’s the only thing that matters.

You’re not Amber Cole’s father. She has a father. And he’s angry — about his belief that his daughter was coerced into doing this. He’s angry — about the way the video providers drug their heels after being asked to delete it. He’s pushing for charges to be filed against the boy who videotaped the act. He’s focused on those who hurt his daughter.

That’s what a real father does. Not slut-shame his daughter, or attack her mother. No, a real father goes to war to defend his daughter, goes full-tilt after those who wronged her. Fortunately for Amber Cole, she has a real father. And fortunately for her, Jimi, it isn’t you.

 

This entry posted in Anti-feminists and their pals, Feminism, sexism, etc. Bookmark the permalink. 

152 Responses to No, You Aren’t Amber Cole’s Father

  1. 101
    Schala says:

    I see my neighbors kids constantly confused due to both same age peer pressure and media pressure. My opinion is that they are not getting enough ADULT association in their lives. When they come over to hang out with our kids, my husband or I are in the house. Am I depriving my kids of their human right to explore their sexuality by being around? Nonsense!

    I’m pretty sure that if the kid is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or transsexual – that being confined to having social interactions always chaperoned by parents, who might heavily disapprove of your identity or your sexuality…is going to be any help.

    Now I’d love it if parents all would approach a situation like that with an inquisitive mind and an empirical approach (ask questions, then decide what it might mean based on that information, not scripture, rumors or stereotypes), giving support and understanding, showing unconditional love and telling their kids that them being different is no big deal. This also promotes acceptance for the kids (they’re more likely to accept others, friends or family, who have such an issue – if they weren’t thrown the book at by their own parent for even talking about it).

    What’s most likely to happen is that the parents condemn them, impose even stricter rule on the “offending” kid, and the kid in question feel unloved by their own parents – and with no way out, to boot.

  2. 102
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    @Hershele,

    “What I meant by “sheltered” was keeping kids from learning anything about sex; I suspect you’re in favor of this”

    - Where in any of my comments would you get the idea that I’m in favor of keeping kids from learning anything about sex?

    @Schala,

    “I’m pretty sure that if the kid is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or transsexual – that being confined to having social interactions always chaperoned by parents, who might heavily disapprove of your identity or your sexuality…is going to be any help.”

    - Excuse me? This came out of left field. What on earth does it matter if the kids is hetero, homo, bi, trans or whatever?

  3. 103
    Schala says:

    - Excuse me? This came out of left field. What on earth does it matter if the kids is hetero, homo, bi, trans or whatever?

    It’s about the social environment you promote, where parents are always present. If the parents are against the kid (because the kid is LGBT or in some way not conforming to the image the parents want), time “off” without the parents is beneficial.

    Because I wouldn’t seriously try to convince parents that hold custody and have god-like powers regarding decisions about my life until my majority. And “preventing trans kids” has not been classified as child abuse, even though it can very well be. CPS won’t see anything wrong with it.

  4. 104
    Nicole says:

    CCC, I don’t know why you even bother trying to explain things to these people. They cannot understand. We are invisible to them.

    They want to applaud the girl but not the boys who made the video because anything women do is okay and anything men do is not okay. It doesn’t matter that the three made the video together. The woman has to be the victim.

    I say woman because for us, 14 is a woman. It’s just that locked into a western society for better or worse, because we are women at 14, it is absolutely crucial that we understand adult level sexual responsibility by puberty. We are not allowed by Nature or by the society to be any other than adults by then because someone with a child’s mind in an adult body left unprotected will be exploited and/or not understand how or why not to exploit others.

    Keeping one busy with studies is one way of doing it, and brutal honesty is another. Either way, a decent Black parent understands that we don’t, to this day, have the luxury of slipping in this. If White people don’t understand then well, they don’t need to. They’re not Black. It’s not their business.

    …and Jeff, Jimi Izrael is indeed Amber Cole’s father. I am her mother. Oduduwa is also her father. Yemaya is her mother. You feel me?

    Of course you don’t.

  5. 105
    pillowinhell says:

    Okay CCC. I reread the article you’ve cited. So, let’s start with the fact that I respect where you are coming from. I agree(and I doubt that many would disagree) wholeheartedly that coming from a two parent home, with two involved parents who nurture, set limits as well as set aspirations for their children is a good thing. This set up appears to work best pretty much wherever you go in north america.

    If find it interesting that you consider 14 to be precocious for sex. Puberty starts at about nine for girls, though the physical evidence for this doesn’t show up until 13 or so. So, at age 14, you have young women who’s bodies have been preparing for sex and developing sexual urges for roughly five years. What’s more, when you look at studies, Black youth really aren’t any much quicker to jump into sex than other racial groups, when you control for religious affiliations and economic backgrounds. I can see your real concern for the futures of these youths, but in a world that already forces Black people to strive so hard just to be seen as…well ..human for starters, I can’t see busloads of kids signing up to wait until marriage, given the lack of incentives your community faces.

    This situation is a horrific double bind for Black people. So, let’s say that an increasing number of Black girls realize that getting married is the way to go. They realize that their children need an involved father,who has made the commitment of marriage and they attend highschool until graduation. Then what? Most of these young girls who’ve been raised by single mothers are poor. Highschool is as far as most of these girls will get, unless they prove to be exceptionally talented and extremely driven, at which point they may get a scholarship, or work their way through a community college. No matter what race you are, there are very few marriages that cross class status lines, who will the highschool girls marry? The guys who went to highschool and believe in marriage, a situation that is vanishingly uncommon in the poorest neighborhoods. Does the No Wedding, No Wombs have incentives in place to encourage young Black men to get their highschool diploma? Are there any programs on a state or federal level that offer incentive for this? I myself don’t know. So… If women have the hurdle of trying to get real education so they can get a decent job, (a feat that requires almost superhuman resilience and determination in the poor) and then to compete for the few Black men who have done the same…a wedding could be far off into the future, well into adulthood. Sex may not be a human rights issue for children, but expecting grown adults to deny a very basic human need indefinitely seems profoundly harsh.

    One thing that does concern me about this, is it has the potential to become the back door way to eugenics, as the poor are increasingly pressured to just fade away. On the other hand, it is pretty much the only variable Black people have direct control over. It takes a great deal of tenacity and integrity to follow this path, and I admire anyone who would chose it.

    You state that marriage is the starting place for turning things around for Blacks. As I see it, there is a step before that and it involves stronger supports for the current cohort of single mothers along with greater encouragement and support of Black fathers to be involved with the children. I live in Canada, and in my community, there’s a barber shop which caters to the Black community. The owner of the shop is a Black man who also runs a community service in the shop for Black men to encourage and support the younger men in being part of their kids lives.

    How on earth did you not hear about blowjobs by the age of 14? I’m about the same age as you, and between the girl talk and the ubiquitous promotion of sex in our society, I at least had some idea of what it was, despite being highly sheltered in childhood. You and I are about the same age by the way.

  6. 106
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    This particular blog was about the Amber Cole situation, which was hetero in it’s sexual expression.

  7. 107
    Jessica Metaneira says:

    Nicole, that is not what any of us said.

    I think SOMEWHERE upstream I explained that.

    Why is she not to blame? Because she lives in a society where girls and women are constantly bombarded with the idea that their main value is in pleasing boys. and men. Many ADULT WOMEN fail to understand better. So I cannot blame a 14 year old for not deconstructing the social messages that led her to give oral sex on tape.

    Afterthought: What if marriage is not the right thing for girls? I certainly don’t aspire to get married. Does that mean I should refrain from having sex indefinitely? What about a young Black girl or woman who doesn’t actually want to get married or is unsure that she might. Why should she abstain indefinitely JUST IN CASE she decides marriage is right for her?

  8. 108
    Schala says:

    How on earth did you not hear about blowjobs by the age of 14? I’m about the same age as you, and between the girl talk and the ubiquitous promotion of sex in our society, I at least had some idea of what it was, despite being highly sheltered in childhood. You and I are about the same age by the way.

    At 14, I didn’t know what a fellatio was, I didn’t know how PIV sex occurred (I well figured it was in the genital area, but that’s about it), and I didn’t know what gay meant.

    I’m 29 now. Didn’t have sex before 25 if you count oral, 26 otherwise. Never been married.

    Also, my puberty started much later than 9, but given the invisibility of the first changes (can’t really tell you when I started having pubic hair), I can only pinpoint to a voice change (slight but noticeable) at 16 as some moment. A growth spurt at about the same time. No facial hair before 20. And no armpit hair ever.

    Others who don’t fall within average and ‘normalcy’ regarding time and effect of puberty, are more likely to not speak about it, and unlikely to be ‘detected’ by doctors (who frankly only care if it looks really weird anyways).

  9. 109
    pillowinhell says:

    and Jeff, Jimi Izrael is indeed Amber Cole’s father. I am her mother. Oduduwa is also her father. Yemaya is her mother. You feel me?

    It takes a community to raise a child? That Black peoples’ only hope is to stck together in their efforts to improve their access to equality? That Ambers actions have once again reinforced a stereotype as well as put her future at risk, both of those consequences resulting in her entire communities continued suffering? As her community shares in that suffering, they have a right to condemn the behaviour and the family? I’m just trying to turn around and examine what is perhaps your point of view.

    My apologies for driving you nuts, but yes, I’m white and my lived experience is vastly different than yours. I’ve been attempting to learn what it is to be white, and one thing is that I’m always an individual. My success or failure is entirely mine, which leaves me free to decide as I please. I do not believe that Black people have this, as any one persons actions are construed to be the actions of many if not all Black people. That’s what stereotypes do.

    Please let me know if I need to rethink this, for me as far as I can tell, the experiences in life are so different that I might as well think about what it is to be a man on the moon.

  10. 110
    pillowinhell says:

    Okay Schala, I see what you mean. So here’s the difference between you and I …. By age fourteen I’d been given a very comprehensive understanding of sex. My mother sat me down at age eleven and ensured that I knew what needed to be known. I come from a two parent family so it was easier for them to keep tabs on what I was doing, and it was made clear that this was adult behaviour, very risky and something that should only occur between two loving, respectful and consenting adults. My mother also made it clear that she felt it was something to wait until marriage for, however, her minimum age was sixteen. And that regardless of age, shed far and away rather take me to the doctors for birth control and condoms than see me pregnant. Result: I lost my virginity at age 21. Not married though I have a daughter (nine) and I’m 37. My look at stats told me the prognosis for single mothers and their children is much better the older the mother is before getting pregnant. At least, if you’re white. It aint fancy over here, but her father is involved and I’m able to support her on my own with her father providing minimal support.

  11. 111
    pillowinhell says:

    I’d also like to note, that at 14 I was working, and the men I served coffee to had no problem with making sexual jokes and innuendo in front of me. There were magazines in stores, movies that didn’t show anything but made it clear that things were being unzipped (gotta love PG 13 in Canada) and the older brothers and sisters of my friends. Perhaps it was the education I got so early, things weren’t able to fly over my hairspray so easily. (80′s teen, had to have the big hair)

  12. 112
    mythago says:

    Nicole, that is not what any of us said.

    Nicole doesn’t give a shit. It’s just anti-feminist bullcrap with “hey, let’s try and push the Guilty White Liberal button!” thrown in.

  13. 113
    pillowinhell says:

    Mythago, it may be that what you say is true…but I don’t think so. I don’t feel guilty for being white but I do feel some responsibility to try to understand what people of color may experience when I do or say certain things, or act in ways that are culturally ingrained and hurtful to others. I think its important to listen and try to see what they see everyday.

    That being said, I don’t understand how shaming these girls is productive, they will only cut themselves off from those who are doing the shaming. As for the condescension towards Amber and her family….would you let your kids hang out with her? Invite her into your home? Amber didn’t get to chose her family, and if your answer is no, you don’t want your kids exposed, then Amber has no one to look up to, no one to show her there is another way, no one to show her what a marriage can be and how to maintain that union. In essence, all those good people have thrown her to the winds after getting their “fair” licks in.

    Amber isn’t here to defend herself. We can’t ask her what happened. And if she didn’t feel safe from shame, she wouldn’t tell us what was really going through her mind anyways. Why would she make herself so vulnerable?

  14. 114
    mythago says:

    I think its important to listen and try to see what they see everyday.

    Oh, I absolutely agree. But the essay wasn’t “we are all Amber Cole’s father” as a statement about community, it was Izrael pretending that he was actually the guy who is Amber Cole’s father.

  15. 115
    Schala says:

    By 14, I knew what genitals looked like from a book about sexuality explained to children.

    I considered that double standards seemed totally arbitrary and unfair (since as far as I can remember). That gender roles and the expression being gendered had no logical basis, and no basis at all besides tradition. I still pretty much adhere to this opinion now at 29.

    By 14, I didn’t masturbate (or really know how – but keep in mind, I’ve always been anorgasmic, AFAIK), and certainly didn’t think it was normal for people to do several times a day. But to each their own. I was called homo and gay…but didn’t know what it meant. And it was so obvious to my tormentors that I apparently should have known (they didn’t bother explaining). I was asexual and didn’t knowingly make sexual advances to anyone.

    I figured what gay was at 15 or 16 (not certain how, bet I was explicitly told – still didn’t see my mannerism, and wasn’t told about it, either), what trans was at 22 through internet, what BDSM was at 24, and I figured my way into sexuality intuitively and rather naively. Though as a trans woman, it’s not like there’s a guidebook.

    Fact to note is that I never got interested in Playboy or any of those magazines, or porn in any manner (meaning I didn’t watch any or want any). I did read erotica at 24-26, though I’m not sure that counts as what.

    How I figured to give a blowjob is by analysis of how a penis is made (having one, however small, helps for that), and plain intuition. Hadn’t seen it done before. I did have the preconceived notion that it did involve suction though (which it doesn’t more than superficially – something I figured with minimal experience).

    As for sexuality, I figured I get attached too fast (that’s personal, so I couldn’t generalize) for it to be a good thing outside a long-term relationship. Being told that wouldn’t have done much though – I had to experience it, and analyze my situation and desire (not just accept the cultural status quo as deciding for me).

    Sorry if some of it is TMI.

  16. 116
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    In case this was missed or appeared out of context because it did not appear directly after Schala’s comments;

    Me:
    Excuse me? This came out of left field. What on earth does it matter if the kid is hetero, homo, bi, trans or whatever?

    Schala:
    It’s about the social environment you promote, where parents are always present. If the parents are against the kid (because the kid is LGBT or in some way not conforming to the image the parents want), time “off” without the parents is beneficial. Because I wouldn’t seriously try to convince parents that hold custody and have god-like powers regarding decisions about my life until my majority. And “preventing trans kids” has not been classified as child abuse, even though it can very well be. CPS won’t see anything wrong with it.

    Me:
    This particular blog was about the Amber Cole situation, which was hetero in it’s sexual expression.

    To Jess –

    Marriage isn’t for everyone. However we are talking here about kids and teens. It usually isn’t until one is much older, at least in their 20′s, that one decides marriage isn’t for them. I’m not saying one has to remain celibate for life. I’m simply saying that the behaviour written about on this particular blog regarding Amber is age inappropriate.

    Regarding the message that girls receive from the media and surrounding culture that their only value is in sexually pleasing boys and men, that is one of the reasons why I am so against teen sex. Most teen boys are in it solely for themselves. Their hormones are raging and they want to get off. They are not thinking “how best can I pleasure my partner and model for her a caring, gentle, loving, committed partner”. COME ON!

    I’ve seen to many teen girls hurt, depressed, unable to focus on anything else in their life like school – precisely because of getting sexually, or even just romantically, involved with horny, fickle teen boys.

    Their grades slip and it prevents them from taking advantage of future oppurtunities. Teen relationships are unstable and largely fly by night, at least in my community. If the teens were from stable backgrounds and in it for the longterm, such as being engaged, then it might be a different story, but there is ZERO emotionally stability in most teen romances these days.

    As far as puberty and sexual activity. If you do research into various tribal cultures around the world where people are married in their teens and giving birth at 13, 14, 15, there is a high infant mortality and maternal mortality rate. Menarch comes at the beginning of puberty, not the end. There is, at the very least, a few more years left after menarch at which the girl’s internal organs become childbirth ready. Doctors today put the completion at 17-19 years of age, depending.

    I am not opposed to betrothing people at young ages and then having them marry mid-teens if such a thing is culturally supported, as it is in tribal societies. However, sex, pregnancy and childbirth needs to wait until the girl has fully matured. Remember that in these cultures kids take on adult responsibility and work at much earlier ages than our current American culture. They often undergo ritualistic initiations that formally welcome them into the adult level of their communities. They are psychologically prepared for the responsibilities of family at a much younger age.

    This is by far much more psychologically healthy than having American kids who are totally divorced from any sense of adult work and responsibility engaging in sex that often results in illness and unprepared for pregnancies.

    I myself married very young by today’s American standards and saw firsthand the benefit that a stable relationship provided me through my college years. What I am against is premature sexual activity divorced from any adult responsibilities, which is the current paradigm in our culture.

    To Pillow -

    You ask what incentive does a young Black girl have in waiting till marriage? The incentive is that children in 2 parents households do not suffer in poverty to the extent that children of young single moms do. The incentive is an oppurtunity to have a stable relationship in which 2 adults are contributing to the wellbeing of the offspring. The incentive is less likelihood of contracting a debilitating sexually transmitted disease. The incentive is breaking the cycle of multi-generational single mom household pathology that is at epidemic proportions in the African American community.

    Her incentive for not waiting? Unwanted pregnancy with no commitment from the father. Poverty, disease and possibly even death.

    I agree with programs organized by men to encourage young Black men to get their acts together and take on parenting responsibilities. I do not agree with any program to make being a single “baby mama” any more easier than it already is for our irresponsible young Black women.

    We need to stop incentivising this destructive pathology.

  17. 117
    Schala says:

    Me:
    This particular blog was about the Amber Cole situation, which was hetero in it’s sexual expression.

    You promote this as a best arrangement deal, but it’s clearly only a best arrangement deal when your kid fits the image you want the kid to follow (probably straight, interested in what you want them to be, etc).

    It’s only a good arrangement if the kid is cis* and hetero, but when you talked about it, you didn’t say so.

    *non-trans

    I also wonder how you would treat a kid who is not too fond of socializing, of socializing events, parties, meets, picnics etc and prefers to do their own thing alone, or with a small group (hating crowds)?

  18. 118
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    “It’s only a good arrangement if the kid is cis* and hetero, but when you talked about it, you didn’t say so.”

    1. Its a good arrangement no matter what the kid is, and
    2. I don’t have to say so

    “I also wonder how you would treat a kid who is not too fond of socializing, of socializing events, parties, meets, picnics etc and prefers to do their own thing alone, or with a small group (hating crowds)?”

    My 2nd daughter is like that and I treat her just fine.

  19. 119
    Eytan Zweig says:

    CCC – I think the point Schala is making, and that I tried to make in a difference way earlier, is that the arrangement you describe is not a general solution for all familiar (of any race or ethnicity). I have no reason to doubt it works wonderfully for you and your family – from your words, you are clearly a very devoted mother and sensitive enough to accomodate your kids different personalities. But many parents simply don’t fit that mold. If the parents have a narrow outlook of their children’s upbringing, and the kids do not fit in, the model you describe can become a torture for the children rather than a nurturing environment.

    Also, I should point out that one thing the model you describe lacks is any cross-cultural contact (assuming the family is monocultural). All my family – my parents, my aunts and uncles, my cousins – are culturally identical to me. And growing up, my parents said a lot of culturally insensitive things about other ethnicities because they never realised the problem with that. If I didn’t go to schools where I met a lot of children from different backgrounds, I probably would have grown up with a similar narrow cultural outlook. I had a friend in school whose father was worse – he wasn’t just insensitive, he was a vocal racist and homophobe. I shudder to think what my friend would have grown up as if his father would have taken a more active role in raising him, if he didn’t go to school where he met people who demonstrated how wrong his father was.

    So, my point is – the model you describe is a good arrangment for some families. I’m not American, and I’m not Black – I have a very limited view of what the environment outside the house is for you. I am quite willing to believe that it’s far healthier for your children to be raised within their family. But I do believe that for many, many children, the environment outside the house – for all its dangers and flaws – is still better than what they get inside.

  20. 120
    Robert says:

    If the parents have a narrow outlook of their children’s upbringing, and the kids do not fit in, the model you describe can become a torture for the children rather than a nurturing environment.

    This is true of any family structure, and is therefore an invalid critique of the two-parent structure.

  21. 121
    Nicole says:

    Jessica, I didn’t say that the White people here said anything, just that you don’t get it. Those who don’t see that Jimi wasn’t actually pretending to be Amber’s father are just being purposefully stupid.

    …and yes, I am anti feminist. I am an egalitarian. I believe in gender equality, not gender supremacy.

    I understand that realistically, gender equality under the law is not going to translate to some kind of magical override of evolution or Nature, and that in a civil society, the strong need incentive to protect the weak. They don’t have to, naturally. They should if they want to have a civil society.

    When they no longer have incentive though, these kinds of things will happen. In Nature, whatever can happen, will happen.

    Shame that I have to explain these simple principles to grown people, but there you see the power of ideology over reality…that someone could reach the age of 12 and not understand that if someone is stronger than you and you might need them for stuff, it’s better to have them as an ally than an enemy.

    So this isn’t about White guilt. It’s about White culture in the U.S. being scaffolded by unreality, the ideology of feminism being one of them. Your unreality is something we cannot afford the luxury of living in.

    There are European cultures that are not rife with such unreality. So it’s certainly not being pale that does it to you. It’s the culture. Despite claiming otherwise, you still presume that you are better than us and that we should conform to your “progressive” ways. It’s the same supremacist song, just with females as the lead singers, as if that makes it somehow better.

  22. 122
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Robert @114 – absolutely true, my critique above is not a valid criticism of the two parent structure.

    Which isn’t relevant, since I was not critiquing the two parent system. I was critiquing the model CCC described, which involves homeschooling and a focus on family-centred, adult-moderated, recreation. I grew up in a two parent household and it had very little resemblance to the one CCC is describing.

    CCC’s model is explicitly designed to minimize outside influence on the children. Which is good if the parental influence is positive and the outside influence negative, but neither of these is always true.

  23. 123
    Robert says:

    CCC is saying that his/her model is the best one. Schala writes “You promote this as a best arrangement deal, but it’s clearly only a best arrangement deal when your kid fits the image you want the kid to follow (probably straight, interested in what you want them to be, etc).”

    Schala is correct that this arrangement, with parents who will only support the child if they follow the parents’ preferred image, does not produce good outcomes. But NO arrangement with such parents will produce good outcomes.

  24. 124
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Schala is correct that this arrangement, with parents who will only support the child if they follow the parents’ preferred image, does not produce good outcomes. But NO arrangement with such parents will produce good outcomes.

    I disagree – I’ve had personal experiences with people who have had terrible relationships with their parents (including cases where the parents were heavily involved in the child’s upbringing and incredibly unsupportive of the child’s identity) and have grown up happy and productive because they had support from peers and teachers who gave them what their parents did not.

    CCC’s model cuts off support from any non-parental sources; CCC makes it clear that she believes that her environment would not provide positive support. I have no reason to doubt that she’s correct about her specific circumstances. But there are many cases in which that sort of support is incredibly important.

  25. 125
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Would the people who talked about at what age they’d heard of oral sex care to mention how old they are? I’m 58, and trust me, it wasn’t public information when I was a teenager.

  26. 126
    Jessica Metaneira says:

    @Nicole – I’m from Ireland, not the USA, so I’m not qualified to speak on the specifics of USA culture either. What may I ask to do mean by

    ‘you still presume that you are better than us and that we should conform to your “progressive” ways. It’s the same supremacist song, just with females as the lead singers, as if that makes it somehow better.’

    I don’t think anyone should conform to ‘my’ or ‘our’ way of thinking and behaving. I think children of any race and any culture should be brought up with a solid and age-appropriate understanding of safe sex as well as boundaries and self respect and how to say no if needed and set limits. I’m not sure how this makes me supremacist.

    To CCC –

    ‘Marriage isn’t for everyone. However we are talking here about kids and teens. It usually isn’t until one is much older, at least in their 20′s, that one decides marriage isn’t for them. I’m not saying one has to remain celibate for life. I’m simply saying that the behaviour written about on this particular blog regarding Amber is age inappropriate.

    Regarding the message that girls receive from the media and surrounding culture that their only value is in sexually pleasing boys and men, that is one of the reasons why I am so against teen sex. Most teen boys are in it solely for themselves. Their hormones are raging and they want to get off. They are not thinking “how best can I pleasure my partner and model for her a caring, gentle, loving, committed partner”. COME ON!

    I’ve seen to many teen girls hurt, depressed, unable to focus on anything else in their life like school – precisely because of getting sexually, or even just romantically, involved with horny, fickle teen boys.’

    ‘Marriage isn’t for everyone. However we are talking here about kids and teens. It usually isn’t until one is much older, at least in their 20′s, that one decides marriage isn’t for them. I’m not saying one has to remain celibate for life. I’m simply saying that the behaviour written about on this particular blog regarding Amber is age inappropriate.’

    It’s the fact that someone is young that means even more strongly that we shouldn’t be assuming that they WILL get married and should wait for that. In addition I think yes, you can be sure at a young age that you don’t want to get married. I’m 21. I’ve never really wanted to get married since about age 14.

    ‘Regarding the message that girls receive from the media and surrounding culture that their only value is in sexually pleasing boys and men, that is one of the reasons why I am so against teen sex. Most teen boys are in it solely for themselves. Their hormones are raging and they want to get off. They are not thinking “how best can I pleasure my partner and model for her a caring, gentle, loving, committed partner”. COME ON!’

    Being against any and all teen sex because some teens are not smart about it doesn’t make sense. And it is not all about hormones it is largely about entitlement. That could be fixed, if we had proper sex education as opposed to just biomechanics.

    Just trying to stop teens having sex doesn’t work because they have no real reason to take you seriously. Why should they believe that sex is so wrong, when we take calculated risks every day?

    ‘I’ve seen to many teen girls hurt, depressed, unable to focus on anything else in their life like school – precisely because of getting sexually, or even just romantically, involved with horny, fickle teen boys’

    Wow…are teen girls honestly this weak where you are? I honestly can’t comprehend falling into depression because one boy, one boy out of 3,000,000,000, was sexually or emotionally disrespectful to you.

  27. 127
    pillowinhell says:

    Jessica, the history of Black America is a long and bloody oppression. Blacks here developed their own and largely peaceful ways of working against it.

    I checked out a few sites on Black American history focusing around Black womens struggles. This is what I found:

    Black men and women have always worked together and it went double in slavery. Black society tends to see themselves as equals as opposed to white feminism which in many respects pits men against women in virtually every aspect of our lives (at least insofar as second wave analysis goes). Black Americans tend to maintaine their roots, history, culture and more balanced views of masculinity and femininity as a way to maintain communal balance. In particular, the Black people including women like Sojourner Truth never gave up their agency. In large ways or small, Black women fought against enslavement.
    Try checking out womanism, or africana womanism, you’ll see the differences between the streams of thought, Black womens history, and just how far back Black history goes. You’ll also see why CCC and Nicole are saying they are invisible and maybe why they hold Amber and young to such account.

    White feminism frequently pits women against men. White women fight for autonomy and individualism. Blacks work together as family and community, while still acknowledging each person.
    White feminism frequently puts women as the victims of men, we tend to forget our own agency. I don’t wear makeup and heels to please men, I do it to reconnect with my femininity and sexual power. Black women have never forgotten that they always have some choice as to what they do or how they respond. Every time feminism tries to force these opinions on Black women, we paint them a helpless victims. Every time we tell them that it is the fault of men we are denying their own experience. That’s how oppression works here. By pitting women against men, we remove the source of strength the Black community has always had.

    CCC, when you state that Amber had no correct upbringing, you don’t just mean that she lost her purity, in the way it means for white people? Are you also saying that her upbringing should have included the strength to own her own agency, something which would have been bolstered had she been given the historical and current context of Black women in America?

  28. 128
    Jessica Metaneira says:

    I’m not saying she was some helpless victim with no agency. I’m saying that these social messages act on EVERYONE. The smartest most responsible person is still going to be affected by constant saturation from a culture that treats women as sex objects. Even smart, competent FULL GROWN ADULTS manage to fail to deconstruct this. Add that to the fact that she was a fourteen year old kid and holding her 100% accountable as if she were a grown adult seems decidedly absurd. Unless Black youth are magically more mature than 14 year olds of every other race.

    I didn’t say it was the fault of men. I said it was, to an extent, the fault of Western sexualization culture in general. I think we would all do well to stop subscribing to that, men and women alike.

  29. 129
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    “Also, I should point out that one thing the model you describe lacks is any cross-cultural contact (assuming the family is monocultural).”

    Eytan, I don’t know why you would assume that. My kids get plenty of cross-cultural contact because my family travels as part of their education and they also have friends amongst smart Asian kids from academically inclined 2 parent families that share similar values. We also have a mixed extended family.

    However, I think providing a loving 2 parent household is more important for children than making sure they can pick their friends from a buffet of assorted cultures, mostly in keeping with the current “multicultural” zeitgeist.

    I know people who grew up mon0-culturally and when they travelled as adults their experiences expanded as they met people from other cultures.

    It appears to me that between your comment and Jess’s comment that you both think jam-packing a child’s youth with as many experiences as possible, whether they be culture or sexual, is the way to raise a child into a functional and happy human being.

    I disagree. Less is more and I think keeping a child’s life simple and emotionally uncluttered is the way to go.

    More later, I have to cook.

  30. 130
    pillowinhell says:

    I agree with you on the sexualization of women.

    In north America, in general (very broad brush) teens are seen as both children and adults, depending on what suits us. There is no formality to welcoming our youth into adult circles, and then holding them to adult standards. I believe it was CCC that pointed this out, and I have to agree that this is hugely problematic. For Black youths, there is little time to grow up. Boys are routinely put into prison, doing adult lengths of time for things that would get community service for white boys. By and large, the overwhelming stereotype is that all Black children are violent criminals or welfare moms just waiting to happen. So from the age of whatever, these kids can’t afford to mess up in the slightest.

  31. 131
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    Pillow,

    What you wrote about African Americans sounds like a PR soundbite. It may have been true at one time (pre-civil rights era) but it is blantantly false now. Especially this;

    “Black Americans tend to maintaine their roots, history, culture and more balanced views of masculinity and femininity as a way to maintain communal balance.”

    – Our community is totally screwed up with regards to gender relations and I can elaborate more on that later after I’ve finished feeding my kids.

    “CCC, when you state that Amber had no correct upbringing, you don’t just mean that she lost her purity, in the way it means for white people?”

    – No. I mean she most likely has no guidance in her life, and neither do those boys, and I would say it no matter what race they were.

    Jess,

    “Wow…are teen girls honestly this weak where you are? I honestly can’t comprehend falling into depression because one boy, one boy out of 3,000,000,000, was sexually or emotionally disrespectful to you.”

    – Then you must not remember what its like to be a kid with crush on someone and feeling like your world is turned upsidedown when they don’t reciprocate the same feelings. Either that or your jaded. Which is a topic I’ll get back to later.

    “It’s the fact that someone is young that means even more strongly that we shouldn’t be assuming that they WILL get married and should wait for that.”

    – Why not? Waiting to have sex until one is an adult in a committed relationship is a good idea, whether or not you ever get married.

  32. 132
    Eytan Zweig says:

    It appears to me that between your comment and Jess’s comment that you both think jam-packing a child’s youth with as many experiences as possible, whether they be culture or sexual, is the way to raise a child into a functional and happy human being.

    Absolutely not. I don’t think any such thing, and would not advocate it. First, find one place above where I say anything about sexual experiences. Second, I never said anything about jam-packing anything.

    You seem to persistently think I’m disagreeing with you about what good values are for children. I’m not. I’m disagreeing with you that parents are generally capable of imparting those values on their own. In your case, you obviously are, but I think that it’s not a model that will work for a lot of families.

  33. 133
    Jessica Metaneira says:

    ‘Then you must not remember what its like to be a kid with crush on someone and feeling like your world is turned upsidedown when they don’t reciprocate the same feelings. Either that or your jaded. Which is a topic I’ll get back to later. ‘

    I’m afraid I was never one of those kids. I never really saw it as something to take hugely seriously. I guess I was just old for my age. Even as a 14-15 year old kid I was well aware that going out with someone was a privilege that you might or might not earn, not a right and that most relationships were going to end for some reason or other.

    ‘Why not? Waiting to have sex until one is an adult in a committed relationship is a good idea, whether or not you ever get married.’

    I agree with waiting until you are READY but you don’t necessarily need to be into adulthood to be ready. What is this danger of sex that is so great that you must never do it before 20 or so? Teens can drive and play collision sports, but safe sex is something so dangerous they should stay 100% away from it?

    Most young people are not idiots. The concept that you need to be safe is hardly too complex for them. Given the necessary facts and skills for protecting their boundaries and self respect they can, you know, do just fine.

    I also don’t really think a ‘committed’ relationship is a huge deal unless you actually want to have children. I see nothing wrong with two people who like and respect each other and respect each other’s boundaries having casual sex. I went out with someone this year for a few weeks then broke up and I can’t say I was damaged by it…it’s a normal part of life. IMO the only time you need to be committed to each other is if you are thinking of having children.

  34. 134
    Jessica Metaneira says:

    ‘It appears to me that between your comment and Jess’s comment that you both think jam-packing a child’s youth with as many experiences as possible, whether they be culture or sexual, is the way to raise a child into a functional and happy human being. ‘

    Sorry if I gave that impression. I don’t think pushing as many experience as possible on a young person is a good idea at all – I just don’t think the ‘stop them having sex until they’re 20 something’ is a good route to take.

  35. 135
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    “In north America, in general (very broad brush) teens are seen as both children and adults, depending on what suits us. There is no formality to welcoming our youth into adult circles, and then holding them to adult standards. I believe it was CCC that pointed this out, and I have to agree that this is hugely problematic. ”

    Yes. We are a culture that demonizes males above the age of consent for being sexually attracted to females below the age of consent and at the same time has lingerie companies selling padded push up bras for the pre-teen set.

    If X state’s age of consent is 16, we will encourage a 16 year old girl to have sex with her “same aged peers” – someone expecting that that is going to be more pleasant and equitable to her than sex with an older, mature, 20 something who actually might give more of a damn about her feelings and HER orgasm, than a hormonally charged, horny and fickle 16 year old boy.

    We are a culture that has dozens, maybe hundreds, of online websites dishing out sex advice to teens and pre-teens, telling them that while they may listen to their parents advice if they want to, they should understand, over and above anything else, that it’s “your body, your decision”.

    No mention whatsoever that while they are living under the roof and financial support of their parents, that what the parents say, not some stranger on a website who isn’t paying diddly squat and who doesn’t know these kids from Adam, should be the final word.

    And might I add, in light of the other article about a university football coach raping little boys in the gym, and other research I’ve done on the increasing sexualization of kids (much to the delight of pedophiles), I am HIGHLY suspicious of why so-called “sex positive” adults are soooooo eager to get kids sexually aware and active, and why they are soooo eager to be dishing out advice to them online about everything from anal sex to what they refer to as “fisting”.

    Just as wanna-be polygamists might be jumping on the same sex marriage rights bandwagon, we have NAMBLA and other “sexual rights” groups jumping on the sex positive bandwagon.

    I am highly suspicious of adults who want to get kids “experimenting” at younger and younger ages.

  36. 136
    pillowinhell says:

    CCC? Ever wonder what an American or Canadian coming of age ceremony might look like?
    In my family the Law of Natural Consequences ran wild. Want to be treated less like a child? Get a job at 14. Want clothes that aren’t bought from the bargain shop? Spend your own money, and by the way, when your sixteen the only thing we’ll pay for is your meals and housing. Want a car? Save your money for the driving lessons, insurance and vehicle then pass the test. Absolutely everything was tied to the responsibility of earning it myself. How late I was allowed to stay out was tied in with how late I worked. That showed maybe I was ready, then I had to continue to earn the privilege by not doing stupid crap.(Like keeping mom up til 2 am wondering where I was) I drove my mother nuts (ask me about the summer my mom bought me a neon green swimsuit with purple stripes because we were going to the beach and I spent my money on everything but swimwear), but it kept my head straight. On the other hand…maybe a coming of age ceremony wouldn’t be a good thing….Canadians would probably be “forced” to appropriate Native culture, due to laziness.

    As for my PR soundbite, I think I might have done better to have just posted the relevant links to womanism and Black history.

  37. 137
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    “As for my PR soundbite, I think I might have done better to have just posted the relevant links to womanism and Black history.”

    I don’t agree with much of Womanism.

    This whole “black men and women work in complimentary ways to one another” and are “not pitted against each other like white men and women are” is nonsense since at least the civil rights era. A large percentage of African Americans are raised in households that are multi-generational single mother homes. A type of matrilineal culture. Its not healthy. They are highly dysfunctional.

  38. 138
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    Eytan:
    Absolutely not. I don’t think any such thing, and would not advocate it. First, find one place above where I say anything about sexual experiences. Second, I never said anything about jam-packing anything.

    Me again:
    No, I mentioned you and Jess both. Jess for the sex stuff and you for the cultural. My opinion is that exposing one’s kids to other cultures is nice and educational but its not of the greatest importance. I don’t believe in multi-culturalism as a great universal value or anything like that. Mono-cultures like Finland and Japan seem to be doing just fine.

    The only reason why I’m “multi-cultural” is because the predominant culture that I come from is so dysfunctional that I have sometimes had to look at the way OTHER people do things to gain a more functional perspective. And like I said, my extended family is mixed.

    I am grateful to my exposure to various Asian cultures who have modeled to me a functional way to raise a family. That’s why it’s so strange for me to hear comments like, “telling kids to wait to have sex doesn’t work”. Um, yeah, it does actually. If the surrounding family and culture reinforces that.

  39. 139
    pillowinhell says:

    So which parts do you agree with?

  40. 140
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    OK if y’all wanna see the state of a large % young African American womanhood today, watch this. It is being CELEBRATED.

  41. 141
    pillowinhell says:

    Okay, at the risk of being prying….were your parents Black or Asian?

  42. 142
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    My parents are Black.

  43. 143
    Aabaakawad says:

    CCC,

    I admire your patience.

    I am White, male, feminist, atheist, never been married or had children, and I had no trouble understanding what you are telling us, from your first post to your last.

    The irony is your harshest critics here fancy themselves multicultural and accepting. The would be better off being curious and studious because their “multicultural” appreciation of others amounts to a series of romantic notions and/or exact analogues of their own culture but with different pigment and cuisine.

    White middle class (or higher status) suburban existence is above all safe. Compared to less privileged environs, far fewer predators after dark, fewer peers that pressure misbehavior, fewer con artists & users, more interpersonal honesty, fewer diseases to avoid, less violence, better emergency services, more second chances, more forgiveness for mistakes, more value given to your being. But all this safety is invisible like clean air, so it is assumed to be similar for everyone else.

    Sexual precociousness is usually survivable, and single motherhood manageable, in White or integrated suburbs. In most other places, not so much.

  44. 144
    pillowinhell says:

    Gee, can I have a signed autograph of you, just so I can know what a not racist white man looks like? I promise to frame it and display it in a place of great honor.

    Since I’m not sure who you are aiming you comments at, I’d like to clarify that I was raised middle class, but I’ve spent most of my adult life in the lower class. My neighborhood isn’t Hells Kitchen, but its not classed as safe by any means. Lots of drugs, prostitutes, fights and street people around here. One of the major dealers/pimps in this area just got put away, and he was nothing to sneeze at. I could probably inquire about his rap sheet, but I’m hoping to catch some sleep tonight. About the only thing that doesn’t go on downtown is the driveby shootings.

    CCC if your parents are Black, and you clearly admire the way in which you were raised, why use Asian families as a role model? There has to be more than just Asians stay married, because you stated earlier that your parents stayed married too, unless I’ve misread something? Also, I have to say that video left me in need of eye drops after having to roll my eyes so much.

  45. 145
    Ampersand says:

    Aabaakawad

    I admire your patience.

    If you find the people here so awful that it takes great patience for you to stand reading them, by all means, go away. If you’re going to stay here, then try not to make such sneering, passive-aggressive comments about the other folks here.

  46. 146
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Aabaakawad –

    I’m glad you can tell everything about me from my skin colour. For what it’s worth, I’m not American, and I don’t know much about either how it was to grow up in America as either a black or a white person. I know how it was to grow up in Israel as a middle class Ashkenazi Jew, which meant that, despite being very much in the top of the socio-economic scale, my experience was quite different in (at least) two crucial aspects:

    1 – I was an active participant in the oppression of our neighbours. And I mean this quite literally. I don’t want to get into this in this thread, but lets just say there is a lot I feel guilty about (even though I’ve never performed an act of violence against another person).

    2 – I grew up in a culture of fear. I was taught that death lurks behind every corner, and had good evidence of this myself (having twice narrowly survived being killed in a bombing, and knowing people who were not as lucky).

    So, for all my faults, and there are many, I don’t think you can accuse me of an upbringing that was safe in quite the way you assume.

    CCC @132 –

    No, I mentioned you and Jess both. Jess for the sex stuff and you for the cultural. My opinion is that exposing one’s kids to other cultures is nice and educational but its not of the greatest importance. I don’t believe in multi-culturalism as a great universal value or anything like that. Mono-cultures like Finland and Japan seem to be doing just fine.

    I agree in principle – but again, let me stress that I didn’t say that multi-culturalism is of greater importance than values. What I said is that for some children, the culture they are brought up at home can be very stifling, and for those children, it’s good to have access to other options.

    Again, I’m trying to move the discussion away from your particular circumstances to the general case. Everything you have said here leads me to believe you’ve made the best choice for your children. My disagreement with you is with your earlier posts where you seemed to present your approach to child raising as a universally better one. I don’t think that’s the case – I think it’s an approach that works in very specific environments but not in all – or even most. And that’s all I’ve been trying to say, and maybe I should leave it at that.

  47. 147
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    Aabaakawad, I agree with you.

    Pillow, my parents had to go against the grain of the surrounding environment to raise me right and we all got accused of “acting white”. Acting white means focusing on academics, talking proper English and staying out of trouble.

    Moreover, no matter how “white” a Black American family is, we’ve always got criminals and their baby mama’s somewhere in our bloodline who inevitably come ’round knocking for hand-outs or a place to stay while the Feds are looking for them. Most upwardly mobile Black American families in suburbs are just a hop, skip and a jump from some sort of ghetto pathology. One slip up, and we’ll be there!

    I listed a few things that Asian parents do right, but since I’ve been asked more than once and by more than one person what I think they do right, I guess nobody read that comment so I’ll repeat here;

    1. get married
    2. stay married
    3. have kids after being married and only when they can afford it and give their kids a proper home
    4. are strict
    5. pressure their kids to do well in school
    6. emphasis academics and intellectual pursuits over sports and being popular
    7. when they allow them to date, its within strict guidelines.

    Generation after generation this is the pattern. The exact opposite of the general African American pattern.

  48. 148
    Joyce says:

    I love this article.

    That idiot is certainly not Amber Cole’s father.

  49. 149
    Cross Cultural Comparisons says:

    If you can internally edit out the foul language and frequent use of the “f” and “n” and “b” words, this youtube video gives some good insight into the Amber Cole situation and the responsibility that Amber’s father appearantly is trying to avoid.

    The part about Amber starts around the 17.30 mark

    http://www.youtube.com/user/DanFreeman717

  50. Pingback: The Fifteen Most Popular “Alas” Posts of 2011 | Alas, a Blog

  51. 150
    Nicole says:

    Sorry for the necro, but I’ve been busy.

    Jessica says, “I don’t think anyone should conform to ‘my’ or ‘our’ way of thinking and behaving. I think children of any race and any culture should be brought up with a solid and age-appropriate understanding of safe sex as well as boundaries and self respect and how to say no if needed and set limits. I’m not sure how this makes me supremacist.”

    What makes you (and some other commenters) White supremacists is that you are convinced that what you believe is age appropriate is age appropriate and that what you believe the boundaries should be is what the boundaries should be. Right at this very moment, the World Health Organization is trying to impose (not promote but actually impose) circumcision on African nations and cultures that have traditionally eschewed it or abandoned it due to health concerns. They are also promoting methods of hormonal birth control that have been proven to be higher risk for women of African ancestry even in the diaspora with great health insurance…stuff my doctor here wouldn’t dream of putting me on.

    All over the world, you are still the colonizer. When you couldn’t do it politically anymore, you switched to economic and ideological means. Granted, on the surface this seems more civil, but it’s still based on the presumption that your culture is superior and that others who do not adopt it are primitive.

  52. 151
    Jessica Metaneira says:

    ‘What makes you (and some other commenters) White supremacists is that you are convinced that what you believe is age appropriate is age appropriate and that what you believe the boundaries should be is what the boundaries should be.’

    Where did I say it should be based on my opinion?

    ‘Right at this very moment, the World Health Organization is trying to impose (not promote but actually impose) circumcision on African nations and cultures that have traditionally eschewed it or abandoned it due to health concerns. They are also promoting methods of hormonal birth control that have been proven to be higher risk for women of African ancestry even in the diaspora with great health insurance…stuff my doctor here wouldn’t dream of putting me on.’

    Did I say I agreed with that?