I Support Sage Steele & You Should Too
Like Sage Steele, I have what you might call a ‘mixed race’ background. My father identified as Jewish & Greek, while my mother identifies as a black American.
As kids, my siblings & I were often teased by children, often black, for having a ‘white father’. But looking back on it, many of these same black children had black ‘biological fathers’ who did not fulfill the responsibilities of a ‘real father’. They were ‘deadbeat dads’. These children were so concerned about the color of my father’s skin and his ‘race’, that they did not realize that the important thing was whether he was a good father. And he was.
Many of today’s black critics of Sage Steele have the same problem. They are so focused on the color of her skin, the color of Barack Obama’s skin, and promoting their questionable ‘race narratives’, that they don’t realize Steele is asking a very good question:
Why does former President Barack Obama identify as black?
Obama was primarily raised by his white mother, while his black bio-father wholly abandoned the family. He was no real father at all, but instead a deadbeat dad. Similarly, Frederick Douglass & Booker T. Washington had white bio-fathers, but they were born slaves in the Ante-Bellum South, and consequently, these white bio-fathers were not real fathers, but instead, deadbeat dads.
Consequently, they did not recognize these white men as fathers. Not because they were white, but because they used their mothers, and failed to live up to their ‘paternal responsibilities’. The same is true of Malcolm X’s mother, who also had a white bio-father. If we put aside Malcolm X’s Nation of Islam ‘racist theology’ for a moment, this is the main argument he gives for not recognizing his European ancestry. This is the reason Malcolm X’s mother gave him, according to the Autobiography. In fact, Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, disciple of Malcolm X & Elijah Muhammad, probably also had a white bio-father, whom he never recognized for similar reasons.
The cases of Barack Obama and Colin Kaepernick are precisely the reverse. They had black bio-fathers who abandoned them, and a white man assumed paternal responsibilities. Their real fathers, who raised them and did the things a father should do, were white men. For Obama, this was his white grandfather, and for Kap, his adopted father. In both cases, Obama & Kap, their real parents are both white, regardless of the color of their skin. These white people are the ones who primarily made them who they are today.
Malcolm X was a product of the era of racial segregation, so cases like Obama & Kap did not exist, but according to Malcolm X’s own logic: neither Obama nor Kap should identify as black men. Their black bio-fathers used their mothers and abandoned their children, akin to the experiences of Douglass, Washington, Malcolm X’s mother, & Farrakhan. The only difference is that in Kap’s & Obama’s cases, the abandoned women were white, & the negligent bio-fathers were black.
The attacks on Sage Steele are motivated by racial bigotry, chauvinism, & ignorance, regardless of the attackers’ color. Steele may not identify as a ‘black woman’ in the sense that Jemele Hill does, because Steele’s primary female role model has been a white woman, her mother. This works for Steele.
Publicly identifying as ‘black’ in an active way has worked for Obama and Kap, but that does not mean that it works for everyone. I did for a time identify as black, but in the end, I could not relate to the black leaders and influencers who allegedly spoke for me. People like Jemele Hill, Ta-Nehisi Coates, & Ibram Kendi. I’ve known black people like them all my life, and frankly, I have nothing in common with them. Nothing. Moreover, I find their race narratives to be bigoted, chauvinistic, and generally useless. Consequently, I don’t want to be associated with either their racial politics or worldview.
It doesn’t work for me.
Now these same types of people want to speak for Sage Steele, and it doesn’t work for her. Steele raises important questions, and if they challenge the race narratives of people like Hill, Coates, & Kendi, I think that’s a good thing. Don’t attack Steele because she is not overly focused on the color of a person’s skin like them, or because she judges people by their character and actions. That’s a good thing. Just ask MLK.
We should support her for that.
Aristarchus Patrinos; October 5, 2021; < 750 words;