Daddy posts cute parenting photo. Racist comments ensue. WTF?

This is a cute photo. It’s a photo of Doyin, the blogger at Daddy Doin’ Work. If it had come up on my facebook feed, I would have said “oh, cute!” and that would be that.

But when Doyin posted it, here’s some of what happened (read his post for the full story):

[...] there’s a small pocket of men out there that can’t stand me. Here’s a sampling of some of the private messages and comments I received from them after I posted this picture:

- “He probably rented those kids. They don’t even look like him.”

- “I would bet anything that you’re a deadbeat.”

- “OK buddy, cute picture. Now why don’t you hand the children back to their mom so you can go back to selling drugs or your bootleg rap CDs?”

- “So do you do this for all of your illegitimate kids?”

You get the idea. [...]

However, do you know what’s funny? Oftentimes when a dude posts a public hateful comment on my FB page or Twitter feed, it’s followed up by his wife or girlfriend emailing me privately to apologize for his behavior. [...]

Surprisingly (well, not surprisingly to me) in this instance, the majority of racist emails I received came from other black people. Again, here’s a sampling:

- “This would be so much better if those kids were BLACK!”

- “Look at this Uncle Tom. No chance he would be doing this if his kids were black.”

- “I’m sorry, but I can’t support a brotha who didn’t marry a black woman.”

- “Your MOM is black and you dishonored her by marrying outside of your race? You probably can’t handle a strong black woman.”

Doyin is emphatic in stressing that in both cases, the negative comments he received represented a small minority of (respectively) fathers and black folks who respond to his work, not the norm. But still. WTF? How much resentment is simmering out there that a black dad can’t post a cute photo of him taking care of his adorable children without getting angry racist replies? Sheesh.

Doyin also pointedly observes that he sometimes get praised for parenting, when no one would think twice (let alone praise) a mom doing the exact same things.

[Via the Good Men Project.]

This entry posted in Feminism, sexism, etc, Men and masculinity, Race, racism and related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

27 Responses to Daddy posts cute parenting photo. Racist comments ensue. WTF?

  1. 1
    RonF says:

    1. Black man (or, for that matter, black woman) shows their face on a blog. Racist comments ensue. This is a surprise? There’s certainly no shortage of racists in the world, and they like to talk.
    2. I seem to recall a movie that was shot some time ago. In it a black man got to know a white woman and at one point kissed her. What I remember of the story is that when the movie was being shown to a group of black people as a pre-release focus group and the kiss occurred, the reaction of the black women in the audience was so negative – and vocal – that the director cut the scene. I’ve tried searching for this but can’t refine the search correctly. Does anyone else remember this?

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    the majority of racist emails I received came from other black people

    Hm. I thought that black people couldn’t be racist. How many times have I heard it asserted on this blog that prejudice on the basis of race has to be coupled with power to be deemed racism, and that black people did not have the power to qualify?

  3. 3
    rimonim says:

    RonF @2: Others might have a different take, but my understanding is that the argument you describe applies to so-called “reverse racism.” When a person of color, e.g., uses a slur for a white person, that may be a host of bad things–rude, objectionable, biased–but it is in no way equivalent to centuries of systemic oppression. Interpersonal racism is a small element of this oppression, which includes entrenched class inequality, systemic bias in the criminal justice system, and so on. Therefore: black people can’t be racist, as such, against white people.

    I have never heard anyone argue that black people can’t be racist against other black people. For example, many have discussed the pattern of light skinned black folks being privileged over those with darker skin.

  4. 4
    Hugh says:

    @rimonim: I think you may be making the mistake of hearing something reasonable when someone says something unreasonable.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ0QfLkjujY

    “Can we (black people) be bigoted? Yes. Can we be prejudiced? Yes. Racist? No”

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    So this blogger and Eric Michael Dyson are using two different definitions of the word “racist.” Dyson would presumably say that the comments the Daddy blogger got from other black people were bigoted and prejudiced, but not racist.

    Why is that interesting? Where is there a rule that all Black people have to agree on everything?

  6. 6
    Hugh says:

    Did I say all black people have to agree on everything?

    I just said that the statement “black people can’t be racist” isn’t a strawman, but something people actually say.

  7. 7
    Hugh says:

    Having said that, I’d like to anticipate criticism and say that, whatever we call this problem – bias, prejudice, whatever – it obviously exists within the black community and is not something that requires white people to pitch in on.*

    *Not in general, anyway, although I think I would probably defend the right of a white person who is actually in a relationship with a black person to stand up to these kinds of attacks on their relationship.

  8. 8
    Mandolin says:

    I’m used to “black people can’t be racist” as being a shorthand for “[against white people].”

    The logic being: There is no (in the United States) power structure that systemically oppresses white people, so there’s no way to tap into that. However, there is a power structure oppressing black people, so it is possible to tap into that, although the context and meaning are likely to be different. Power structures oppressing other races are definitely possible to be tapped in to as well.

    I’m sure people use other definitions and it sounds like people have come up with some. I just tend to assume that’s what people mean if they use the short hand, unless they spell it out differently, because that’s the position I’m used to.

  9. 9
    Mandolin says:

    I guess the question that came up for me, after looking at the post, was how obvious is it that these kids have a non-black parent?

    Because couldn’t they have a light-skinned black parent? A biracial black parent?

    I was just surprised by the inference, and it made me wonder whether A) they are the ones jumping to weird assumptions (which I admit is my base assumption because how can you tell from looking at a child how recent the non-black ancestry is?), or B) this is just one of those things I don’t have the training to see (in the way that a lot of white people–including me–can’t instantly spot Jennifer Beals as being mixed race.)

  10. 10
    Elusis says:

    “Reverse racism” as an institutional construct is not a thing, because POC don’t have enough institutional power to implement it.

    Internalized racism is totally a thing, just as internalized sexism, internalized homophobia, etc. are things, and internalized racism can certainly lead POC to attack other POC via racist stereotypes, colorism, etc.

    I’m not sure I have a good word for what’s going on when a POC attacks another POC for a cross-cultural marriage, but IMHO it has more to do with living in a racist society (in which the dominant discourse is that whites are superior and POC are inferior, and therefore valuing other POC as mates is seen as “kicking against the system”) than it does with anything that resembles institutional racism or “reverse racism” (which, still not a thing.)

    Also: I’m surprised-but-not-surprised that this conversation has already de-railed into “can POC be racist?” rather than discussing the more salient issues raised by the post. I mean, where are the MRAs to talk about how well this illustrates negative stereotypes of men, and how de-valued men are re: caregiving skills? Are they quiet because the blogger said he mostly got those comments from other men, with back-channel apologies sent by wives and girlfriends, and that doesn’t fit the MRA narrative of how “misandrous” women are? Is it possible that MRAs are more interested in painting women as villainous money-grubbing leeches than they are at actually supporting men in their parenting?

    [surprised face]

  11. 11
    Ruchama says:

    I’m not sure what it means that my first thought was, “No way that tiny little soft-bristle brush is going to work on hair like that.” (Her hair looks pretty similar to mine.)

  12. 12
    mythago says:

    Wow. I am impressed. With one rhetorical question, RonF managed to shift a huge amount of the discussion energy away from actual racism and into people scrambling to 1) reassure him progressives aren’t hypocrites and 2) waste time explaining institutional racism, a concept that can’t possibly be new to him. Well played, sir!

  13. 13
    Hugh says:

    “I’m used to “black people can’t be racist” as being a shorthand for “[against white people].”

    I’m uncomfortable with that for two reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, it privileges a US-centric perspective. Secondly, I imagine that it is not helpful for people who have had to deal with serious discrimination from black people because of their racist to have to navigate a discussion about why what happened to them isn’t racism, but something less bad (or equally bad, but not appropriately termed that).

    “I mean, where are the MRAs to talk about how well this illustrates negative stereotypes of men”

    Most MRAs are white, so it’s probably appropriate for them to stay quiet about this.

  14. 14
    Elusis says:

    “I mean, where are the MRAs to talk about how well this illustrates negative stereotypes of men”

    Most MRAs are white, so it’s probably appropriate for them to stay quiet about this.

    Why wouldn’t MRAs be interested in talking about the stigmatization of black fatherhood?

    I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign to end the social stigma around black fatherhood. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists campaign for better pay and equal career mobility for men of colour. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists actively campaign for more gay men’s rights. I have NEVER seen Men’s Rights Activists advise others in their group on how using faggot to emasculate men who aren’t part of their cause is alienating and marginalising other MEN….

    Men’s Rights Activists are hypocrites and frauds. They’re bitter privileged white men who don’t want to campaign for the rights of men – they want to campaign to keep their privilege unchecked and their ability to discriminate against others.

  15. 15
    mythago says:

    Most MRAs are white, so it’s probably appropriate for them to stay quiet about this.

    Why? I would think that they’d be peeing themselves with the opportunity to point out that the matriarchy is not only misandrist, but racist.

  16. 16
    Hugh says:

    @mythago: As I said, if this is, as it seems, a problem with black people attacking other black people, I think white people really have nothing to contribute to its resolution, be it MRAs or anyone else.

  17. 18
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Hugh says:
    January 13, 2014 at 1:45 am

    @mythago: As I said, if this is, as it seems, a problem with black people attacking other black people, I think white people really have nothing to contribute to its resolution, be it MRAs or anyone else.

    Huh?

    Both POC and whites can–and should–work to avoid discrimination based on srace. Both POC and whites can–and should–speak out against it when they see it. Treating POC>POC discrimination as a “POC problem” is itself an act of discrimination.

    To use a good analogy:
    Women can (and should!) express an opinion on whether men are acting badly to other men. Similarly, men can (and should!) express an opinion on whether women are acting badly to other women. If I fail to address a problem just because the perpetrator and victim are both women that would be a sexist act.

    Yes: there are some folks who will resent those opinions. Such is life. So long as folks continue to have opinions on things that affect other people (and we all do) then they should expect other people to have an opinion on things that affect them. This applies to women, men, whites, POC, and everyone else.

  18. 19
    Elusis says:

    Hugh: nowhere did Daddy Doin’ Work say that he ONLY got negative comments from other black people. In fact, he wrote “the majority of racist emails I received came from other black people.” So it seems reasonable to infer that he got plenty of emails from non-black people. In fact, his first point in his analysis of the responses talks about how many of the negative comments he got were from men in general, not just black men – that point is made in a later paragraph. (I’m interested that he specifically names the racism but not the sexism, but it’s his blog and he can write what he wants.)

    I feel like it’s pretty clear that one could grow old and die waiting for MRAs to call out the obvious sexism (mostly from men, apparently!) in the responses to this blogger. (Disclosure: I went to look at Manboobz.com to see if there was any mention of this going around the Manosphere; I’m not strong enough of stomach to go to actual MRA sites.)

    For the record, this blog post went around my Facebook friends list, and every single person who posted it in solidarity is someone who’d identify as a feminist. So the folks here who sometimes like to claim that feminists don’t care about men and how they’re affected by sexism*? Please to bookmark this post, to come back to in order to refresh your memory as needed.

    *Note: this is not “misandry,” this is sexism, pure and simple: the same system that says “women are best fit to care for children” also says “men are not as fit as women to care for children.” It doesn’t need its own special name.

  19. 20
    Hugh says:

    @Elusis: I’m sure he did. In case I wasn’t clear, I was referring specifically to the comments made by other black people seeking to shame him for being in a relationship with a non-black person. That’s the kind of conversation that white people, however tempting it might be for them to get up onto their high horses, would do everyone (not least themselves) a favour by staying out of. The black community also has its problems, but the idea that it needs the intervention of white people, no matter how well intentioned*, is incorrect. Unless a black person is actively asking for white people’s involvement, and there’s no sign of that.

    But yes, racist comments coming from white people, by all means, jump in there.

    @gin: I appreciate what you’re saying, but your analogy is not exact. For starters, a man jumping in on female-on-female sexism is very different to a woman jumping in on male-on-male sexism simply because men have a privileged position in these kinds of discourses, and it’s very hard for that kind of intervention, no matter how well-meaning, to just end up playing off and reinforcing that privilege. A man who is concerned about sexism is better served by working to reduce sexism perpetrated by men, where his privilege is an asset, not a problem.

    Obviously, if we’re talking about race-based prejudice rather than gender-based, the white person leaping in to the internal black community conversation is in a similar position. I see what you’re saying about it being sexist/racist to ignore it, but I think there is an equally sexist/racist narrative – “I know women have problems with sexism from other women, and obviously they can’t solve these problems without my involvement, so here I am!”

    If we accept that people should just leap in on any aspect of sexism or racism they percieve irrespective of their privilege, we get the situation where non-Muslims are taking positions on how Muslim women are allowed to dress, and all that bollocks. Best avoided entirely, I think.

    I know this post has been pretty rambling, but that’s the nature of the issue.

    *I admit I doubt the good intentions of white people who decide they need to chip in on this, but let’s be generous.

    **As a general postscript, I’ll repeat again, this doesn’t apply if the white/male person is directly targeted by sexism, or is specifically asked to contribute. But this kind of thing is very rare, for obvious reasons.

  20. 21
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    eh, that’s ludicrous. You’re arguing in favor of a sort of social pretense: using flexible, arbitrary and extraordinarily imprecise boundaries to control who is allowed to take what position–and you’re doing so in the name of enforcing an equally arbitrary and (to the degree possible) even more imprecise judgment of privilege (or at least the privilege which is convenient for the argument of the moment.)

    It’s not that i can’t see it as tempting. I’m not surprised you want to try. It’s that you don’t seem to recognize that the costs of the pretense vastly exceed the benefits. Or, perhaps more shocking, that you don’t even see the costs at all.

    If we accept that people should just leap in on any aspect of sexism or racism they percieve irrespective of their privilege, we get the situation where non-Muslims are taking positions on how Muslim women are allowed to dress, and all that bollocks. Best avoided entirely, I think.

    Bollocks?

    I support a rule where everyone is allowed to take a position on how folks dress, whether that opinion is supportive or not; nice or nasty. I support a goal (not a rule) of not giving a shit in general. But should I choose to express my opinion of someone’s clothing (or they of mine) the concept that we should be restricted in expressing that opinion because of the classification of the person who chooses to wear the clothes is fucking insane. Do you seriously see that as a beneficial social goal?

  21. 22
    Hugh says:

    Yes, bollocks. Problem?

    Well, if you honestly don’t see any problem with white atheist or christian men lecturing muslim women on what they should or shouldn’t wear, I don’t think there’s much more to be said.

  22. 23
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    First of all: FYI dude, “muslim” is a religious status and not a race; “white” is entirely the wrong comparator here, and especially ironic given your sincere attempts at social handicapping.

    And I don’t think ANYONE should be lecturing ANYONE on what they should wear. If we chose that, it would be better for everyone. But I don’t think we need a rule on who can say what, and I certainly don’t think it makes any sense to distinguish (for example) between “Muslim lecturing non-Muslim” and “non-Muslim lecturing Muslim.” One isn’t better than the other.

    But we’re not talking about Muslims (or, as I think you intended, Muslim Arabs.) We’re talking about whether I should be able to say “it’s stupid and discriminatory and wrong-headed for Joe to attack Doyin because of Doyin’s race, or the race of Doyin’s kids.”

    Would you like a society where I cannot/should not say that? Or, perhaps, where I have to say, instead, “it’s stupid and wrong-headed for Joe to attack Doyin because of his race, or the race of his kids. Unless Joe is black, in which case I have no opinion at all. Or unless Doyin is black, in which case my opinion depends entirely on his preferences; there’s no moral wrong unless Doyin decides there is on, irrespective of the general harm to society.”

    Of course, that’d be a load of BS. It simply acts to substitute Joe’s moral judgment for my moral judgment–because Joe is black. Which would be especially stupid and pointless in this hypothetical since Joe just demonstrated his lack of moral judgment by being a discriminatory poopy-head.

    You can have wide spread communication and STILL accommodate distinctions of discrimination. Wally White Atheist can (and should) talk about discrimination in the context of oppressive clothing requirements among certain Muslim Arabs. If Wally does so in a dick way, then he’s an asshole. But if the oppressing folks claim (falsely) that Wally’s being discriminatory? If they do so just because they don’t like being challenged? That’s not Wally’s problem, and he’s not the one being an asshole.

    So in this case: Some of the commenters were discriminatory assholes. Some of those discriminatory assholes happened to be black. That doesn’t change things. If they can’t deal with having their discrimination pointed out by someone who is white, then they should stop doing it. If you think otherwise, you are acting in support of that discrimination.

  23. 24
    Hugh says:

    Like I say, there’s not much more to be said.

  24. 25
    Hector_St_Clare says:

    Re: Well, if you honestly don’t see any problem with white atheist or christian men lecturing muslim women on what they should or shouldn’t wear, I don’t think there’s much more to be said.

    Of course I don’t- what would possibly be wrong with it? There are all sorts of backward practices that I’m happy to criticize, in any number of religions- Muslims, Jews, Hindus, New Guinea cannibal cults, etc.. And by the same token, I don’t think being ‘non white’ gives you a free pass from criticism for bad behavior. I’d say that Christians (white, or any other sort) have not only the right but the duty and obligation to criticize Muslims when they’re behaving outrageously.

  25. 26
    sc says:

    yes, we know.

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