I Am Amber Cole’s Father: Blog Post Raises New Storm
While “I Am Amber Cole’s Father” was clearly not written by Amber’s real dad, it does speak poignantly to the role of a father in a daughter’s life. As many black women (myself included) grow up without one, it is very moving. Penned by black writer Jimi Izrael, his essay imaginatively explores what Amber’s father must be going through when facing the reality of where his failures as a parent have brought his child. Her national humiliation struck a powerful note in Izrael’s heart, as he writes in the comments on Jezebel:
This was so hard, so painful to write, because my daughter really is Amber Cole—she is a tween with a pretty name, she is, in fact, the most beautiful girl in the world. She is curious, impressionable and vulnerable. She is besieged by rich and famous blow-job ingénues, peer-pressure, poor role models, boys. She’s learning the power of her body with no real teacher that is not her age. Her mother is wonderful, overwhelmed and disengaged. This is the way of it. That’s the fight I’m fighting. That’s the fight most of the fathers I know are fighting. We are fighting to be an influence in their lives.
I read through these comments and haven’t heard one of you talk about your daughters. It is easy for you to cosign some little black girl Getting Her Jaws Worked, to suggest that little girls embrace the ideas behind a “Slutwalk” –which sounds too close to “Hoe Stroll” for my taste—when you are not a stake-holder. I have a daughter. I am a stakeholder, and this Isht is real to me. It’s my every-day, my every-week. And it’s hard. Trying to keep her mother’s neighbors from “visiting” her. Trying to get her to take the Rihanna and Shakira posters off the wall. Keep her from being exploited by her hormones, by the lure attention microwave fame that comes with giving out free sex favors, by men who are not teaching their young boys any better. Trying to keep her in school, engaged, learning and dreaming. Trying to teach my boys to love and respect himself enough to love and respect the women in his life. That’s my gig. NOT. EASY.
Apparently, the readers of Jezebel found this father’s heartfelt essay to be somehow demeaning to women, because he sees his role as a male as being one of “protector.” This is a similar reaction to our Madame Noire story on Amber when it was published on Jezebel: that somehow discussing the need for men to respect women as women is demeaning to women, especially if the question of “protection” is frankly discussed. It still amazes me that the commenters on a women’s web site which proclaims to empower female identity would find the idea of women needing protection politically incorrect.
I applaud Jezebel for bringing Izrael’s essay to their huge audience, and believe it is a great site — but I am disappointed at the revelation that the “feminists” on the board are using this black man’s supportive treatise as a backwards defense of black women’s rights to be free of “patriarchy.” Please.