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[Guest Commentary]: Black Fathers Matter

*Editor’s Note: Clark County School Watch (CCSW) is an independent blog published by Erik “E.C.” Huey. It is the most widely read blog of its kind focused strictly on educational issues in the Clark County, Nevada area. A native of Chicago, Huey is a former reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a former social media/digital marketing editor for KTNV-TV, and also a former reporter for various airline business trade publications in Washington, DC. Most recently, Huey was a former career high school English and creative writing teacher with the Clark County School District, who retired from the classroom after nearly 10 years.

 

I try really really really hard not to mention Las Vegas Review Journal “columnist” Victor Joecks that much when I write. After all, he’s not a friend to local public education or public sector unions, yet he’s never seen a voucher he couldn’t wrap his arms around. As a former henchman for the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), he’s now doing their dirty work from a cube at the “Sheldon Adelson RJ” And on this past Father’s Day, he wasn’t a friend to the Black community. Well, did we expect anything different?

Victor Joecks
Photo: LV Review-Journal

On Father’s Day, Joecks had a golden opportunity to pen something positive. The country is plunging back into chaos with COVID-19. Racial justice marches were present from coast to coast, including right here in Las Vegas.

It would have been the perfect time to align himself with BIPOC (Blacks, Indigenous, and People of Color).

He didn’t.

Victor “Skippy” Joecks instead used his space to weaponize black men. “Father’s Day Key to Ending Racial Disparities” was the title of his “column.” I’m not going to share the link because I don’t wish to give him the joy and pleasure of more clicks, and page views.

Reading the first two sentences already threw me into orbit.

Fixing fatherlessness in the African American community would do more to solve what leftists call ‘systemic racism’ than the government ever could. To understand why you need to realize ‘systemic racism’ has two meanings.

Note that he put Systemic Racism in quotes, alluding to his opinion that it doesn’t exist (it does).

This is a myth perpetuated of the highest order. Sadly, this myth is dragged out and dredged every now and then by people who wish to weaponize Black men.

He continued:

The first is straightforward. It describes a system that overtly favors one race over another. The obvious examples are slavery and Jim Crow. Fixing this requires laws that judge people not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. eloquently put it.

The second meaning is a system that produces racial disparities. For instance, African American students are less likely to graduate from high school than white students. Black men make up a disproportionate number of the people in jail. It doesn’t even matter if African Americans are the ones making the laws and enforcing them. Under this theory, the mere existence of a racial disparity is proof of racism lurking somewhere within the system.

Loves how he quotes MLK. Oh, believe me, we’d love to be judged by the content of our character but garbage like this makes people like Victor judge us by the color of our skin.

I’m not going to pour over the remaining drivel. And I thought I had put it behind me…until someone tried to engage me on Twitter about it today and made me angry all over again.

This “column” angered me. Angered me beyond belief.

I usually do not mix my private life with my CCSW life but this is something worth mentioning…my father is and will always be my first teacher. He’s 88 years young. Days ago, he suffered a stroke and after months of declining health, he’s fighting for his life. I’m helping to take care of him and attempting to make him comfortable. But emotionally, it threw me for a tailspin.

Victor’s drivel angered me more because of that. Why did he have to weaponize Black men? What did we ever do to him?

My black father, who grew up in the Jim Crow South, who’s fighting for his life right now, is weaponized by Victor Joecks.

After all, I know plenty of good Black fathers who are involved in their children’s lives. They’re never put on a pedestal in the paper. And why aren’t they?

When I was teaching, I can recall several instances where I was considered a “father figure” to my students. It was an honor I didn’t take lightly. To date, I still mentor some of these kids.

In fact, President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative offers a vast array of local mentoring opportunities for youth and Black men to be matched up. The late Tyrone Thompson championed mentoring.

Why couldn’t Victor write about that?

He made an awful lot of prejudgements without ever talking to anyone in our community. Which is tragic, yet typical.

If Joecks ever had the huevos to step foot inside a public school building, he’d notice that there are many fathers at events, after school events, donuts with dads. Many of those dads are black.

People like Joecks talk AT us, not TO us. People like him need to listen TO us and not lecture TO us. Maybe, they’ll learn FROM us.

Yes, there is fatherlessness. There is also just as much fatherlessness in white families. But again, sadly, Black men are weaponized.

This needs to stop.

I wrote this piece to tell our black children that no one has the right to weaponize who you are because of your color. Nor make judgments about who you are. Be proud of who you are. Always be proud of who you are.

As we are in a redefining moment in our society, it is important to stand strong and tall. Our children are watching us and need us.

Black children matter. Black fathers matter. Black lives matter.

Black Fathers Matter
Photo via Etsy

 

 



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