Wow! Thanks to the Daou Report I came across this op ed in USA Today Roland Warren on African-American Marraige link. I’m fine with the premise that at least in this culture it’s better for kids if their parents are in a stable marriage. It’s the Roots part of Warren’s argument that threw me.
“Kunta Kinte escaped his master several times only to be caught each time. But one thing finally caused him to change course: his marriage and the birth of his daughter. Kunta “jumped the broom” with Bell, the plantation’s cook. The ritual was used to formalize the husband-wife bond, since slaves could not legally marry. Bell soon gave birth to their first daughter, named Kizzy, an African word for “stay put.” Kunta decided that creating a legacy of hope for his family was more important than escape.”
Warren can’t really be serious. Is he actually implying that “marriage” helped Kunta Kinte stop trying to escape or resist slavery and that it thus made him a better man? Holy Spartacus!
I know that some argue that living the “straight life” is a form of slavery, but Warren may have had a few too many dinners with Trent Lott. Some of us grew up believing that it’s perfectly honorable to resist slavery for yourself and those you love, rather than to “make the best of it.” Perhaps he really did mean to imply that fatherhood and family life were a fair tradeoff for being chattel. I know that Warren worked in the house of Goldman Sachs, but no matter the field does anything justify slavery?
Criticize those who escape to drugs, crime, other women, gambling, surfing the internet all you want, but I gotta draw the line when it comes to implying that trying to escape or resist slavery is ever a bad thing. Warren’s Roots argument does have some interestingly positive implications for gay marriage though. :}
I have no problems with the basic goals of the National Fatherhood Initiative, but Warren’s loose Roots talk is both embarrassing and strangely reveals a lot about his sensitivity to African-American history and the legacy of slavery itself. I say this fully aware that Roland Warren is African-American and that I’m not. Warren may need to take another look at another Haley book, the Autobiography of Malcolm X .