Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thoughts on Families

I cannot help but think that this post and this post by Ta-Nehisi Coates can be interpreted as "I don't like to pass judgments on alternate family types because I do not want to pass judgment on my father."

The statement:

Families need to be utilitarian, not doctrinal. If it works, let it work.

is very nice, but it ignores the fact that not all family types work as well on average, and certain types that may work in individual cases are not ideal on a statistical basis and should not be what we aspire to.

And there is some of that ol' anti-racism in this, as well. One subtext here is that this is considered a normal way to do things in much of the African-American community and so we need to show more tolerance rather than be caught up in our European notions of what a family ought to be. Which of course ignores the question of whether the European of African models work better (as a societal norm, not in every individual case) in terms of creating a stable family life that is conducive to maintaining the things we like about modern society.

None of which to say that Ta-Nehisi is not a good sincere individual. Indeed, he seems to be a loving and responsible father, which is a good thing in this day and age (always good, but I fear it is becoming increasingly rare).

But nonetheless, one wonders in many cases (and for many people, I don't single out Coates as a special case) people's opinions on the moral and societal issues of the day are driven by a need to justiy their behavior or the behavior of those around them.

That is all.

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