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What If Bristol Palin Were Black?

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Christian-right leaders and conservative stalwarts have praised the decision of Bristol Palin, the daughter of Governor Sarah Palin, to carry her child to term. She is 17 and conceived this child out of wedlock. Now imagine she wasn't the daughter of a prominent Republican politician but an average person. Now imagine she was black.

What do you think conservatives would have to say about her? "Typical, urban youth with no sense of responsibility raised with loose morals who plans to depend on the state to take care of her child." You know it. It's not within dispute. That's exactly what they would say.

Barack Obama has told everyone to lay off this because it is a personal, family matter. Yes, but it also has public policy ramifications. Governor Palin is for abstinence only education. Well, that obviously didn't work.

Has she learned her lesson? Will she now amend her policy position on this matter given her personal record of failure in implementing this ridiculous stance?

Notice I am not blaming Bristol. Quite the opposite. People like me are the ones that defend the Bristols of the world. It is conservatives like James Dobson, Rush Limbaugh and yes, Governor Palin who usually attack people who find themselves in Bristol's situation. They demand a dogmatic adherence to moral strictures and chastise and belittle women who have children out of wedlock. Especially if they are women of color.

Which brings us back to Obama. Do you think the Republicans would lay off of Obama if his 17 year-old daughter had gotten pregnant out of wedlock? You know the answer to that question. Everyone does.

"This is what the permissive liberal attitude gets you. If you allow your children to think everything is acceptable, they have no boundaries. They wind up getting themselves in trouble like this. It's a predictable result of the liberal lifestyle."

And that's before the subtle and not so subtle racial implications are brought into this. There is a constant double-standard of how black and white people and politicians are covered in this country. When a young black girl gets pregnant, she's looking to get money from welfare. When a young white woman gets pregnant, she made an unfortunate mistake and her family is being supportive in trying to help the make the best of it.

Cindy McCain was addicted to drugs and stole from her own charity to feed her addiction. Now what do you think the Republicans would have done if Michelle Obama had done that? How do you think the press would have covered it? You think they would have called it a simple mistake and moved on?

When presented with these examples, no matter who you are, you know in your heart that this double standard exists. All of this is not said to condemn Bristol Palin or Cindy McCain. This is to get you to think twice about your own assumptions about the next time you hear a story of a young African-American woman who got pregnant in the inner city or a minority who got addicted to drugs and committed a crime to feed that addiction.

There but for the grace of God go Bristol Palin and Cindy McCain.

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