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Jill at Feministe took a swipe at me June 17 for my post, “Obama: ‘Responsibility doesn’t end at conception.'”
According to Jill I am a “nutbag… total nutbag… [and] crazy racist,” and she filed her piece under the tags “A**holes, Crazy Conservatives… Racism… [and] Stupidity.”…

About Obama’s strange line in a Father’s Day speech this past Sunday, “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception,” I wrote…

Obama admitted once again that conception launches fatherhood. One cannot be a father without a child. Hence, childhood commences at conception.

… to which Jill responded:

Something tells me that Stanek failed Logical Reasoning 101.

single family.gifI also wrote that Obama failed to mention how to prevent absentee fathers, single mothers, and illegitimate children:

Men can avoid being absentee fathers and women can avoid being single mothers if both will respect themselves and each other enough not to have sex like animals, driven purely by sexual urges. Obama neglected to mention that.

… to which Jill responded:

Silly Obama. Why in the world would he not mention that black people should just stop having sex like animals – apparently a big problem in “black culture”?

All this was standard liberal fare sans debate that I’m used to and typically ignore. But the responses to Jill’s piece by some of her readers surprised me. Tekanji commented:

I agree that what Stanek said was both ridiculous and vile, but the sheer number of times you casually threw around ableist slurs like “crazy” and “nutbag” really doesn’t sit right with me. Whether or not Stanek actually has a mental illness, it’s still not cool to use slurs degrading people with mental illnesses to attack her. I would recommend reading the quotes and visiting the links in this post: Yes, it is offensive to the targeted group

tql wrote:

…i think you are reaching. her statement wasn’t racist. a bit over the top to use the f***ing like animals imagery, yes. but, i think she was using that illustration generally speaking.
is it problematic for children growing up without a consistent presence of a father in their life a problem in the black community? yes…
is a way to avoid that problem to think about who you have sex with, and perhaps do it in either the context of a loving, mutually supportive, relationship – preferably marriage? yes…
so, what exaclty is the problem?

Emma wrote:

Just because you don’t like her… you’ve literally PULLED a meaning out of her statement, that I pretty much have to be searching for to find. Her simple point was, a lot of people are careless and have sex indiscriminately and wildly. I REALLY doubt she was calling black people animals. I’ve heard that phrase used tons of times, and in reference to both black AND whites….
I think you sometimes need to be a bit more objective in the way you report stories. All i could read here was an angry person tearing down what was actually a sensible statement.

(Indeed, I am an equal opportunity user of that phraseology, for instance here.)
And Raving Atheist added:

… Stanek’s conclusion follows perfectly from the premise previously announced by Obama: “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception.” If a man is a father at the time of conception, then the product of conception is a child.

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You may, of course, disagree with employing the word “father” to refer to the man responsible for pregnancy…. But Stanek was merely pointing out that Obama does use the word “father” to describe the relationship between the impregnator and the fetus.
There is nothing remotely racist with Stanek’s post. Obama identified what he perceives as a problem in the African-American community, and Stanek faulted him for not suggesting pre-marital abstinence as a solution. Her use of the phrase “sex like animals” refered to premarital sex generally, not sex as practiced by African-Americans.
But if you are going to fault Stanek, you should fault Obama as well. He said “They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men”, thus refering to black men as “boys.” He also said that those who “commit crime” are a problem in the African-American community, thus implying that “blacks are criminals.” At least one commentator has noted that Obama’s speech represented a “right turn” aimed at winning the general election by demonizing black men. Why did he single out any community at all, when he could have just limited his criticism to the class consisting of irresponsible fathers?

I am heartened by the maturity displayed by people who may disagree with my position but are willing and able to discuss it. I am also heartened by the self-policing.

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