Target came under fire for putting out the Father’s Day card above, and apologized, especially for having only a black couple version.
Interesting: what exactly is wrong about the card? It depicts the state of black fatherhood as it is: about 72% of black births are to unmarried couples, while about 32% is the white figure. Is the perceived problem that the card shames African Americans, or that it appears to give couples having children without bothering with marriage a societal pass by celebrating their lack of responsibility? Not being married to a child’s mother vastly increases the likelihood of absentee fathers, and being raised by single mothers is statistically linked to many social pathologies that disproportionately plague black communities.
Maybe Target isn’t the one who should be apologizing. One incensed critic wrote on Twitter, “This is an insult to black fathers and a slap in the face to the African-American community as a whole.” No, that would be true if the card’s implication wasn’t true. It is true. Now what? Getting angry at Target is a deflection.
Of course, the likelihood is that Target wasn’t thinking deeply about this at all. It just thought the “baby daddy” card opened up a new Fathers Day market.
In my recent essay about my Facebook friends’ reactions and over-reactions to the Orlando shooting, I referred to one particular Facebook post and my critical response to it. As I suspected, knowing that poster and his character like I do, my friend Mark commented on the essay, and followed up with this statement on Facebook. I asked if he would grant me permission to quote him, and he did.
This is an extraordinarily ethical and thoughtful man, and this is how an ethical human being thinks when emotion and non-ethical considerations become the strongest.
This is what an ethics alarm ringing sounds like.
Having suffered a near-toxic overload of Facebook this week, I’m going to give the points to Facebook and withdraw from the game for a few days. I love being here and interacting with my friends, family, and especially with those who don’t necessarily share my beliefs. Argument can be fun and challenging.
We need to start being more careful with each other, especially in times of sorrow like this last week. What we forget (and what I have learned recently in myself) is that these shootings traumatize the whole country in one way or another – whether a fear of a loss of rights and liberty on one side, or increasing fear for bodily safety in our every day lives on the other. Orlando becomes DC becomes Kansas becomes California becomes . . . When American citizens die, we are – or should be – all in this together. The poisonous dialog I’ve witnessed and, sadly, participated in or instigated this week shows that I, at least, had forgotten that.