The last week brought us an especially sloppy effort by social conservatives to alchemically transmute American slavery into, y’know, something about gay people and abortions. How could that go wrong?

This isn’t the first time it’s been tried—recall the ongoing battle over racially loaded anti-abortion billboards. But it’s been an impressively explosive one. Midwestern political kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats circulated a “sanctity of marriage” pledge to presidential hopefuls, as something of a loyalty test; Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, both jockeying for the Tea Party vote, signed it. Apparently, they only saw the parts about how gays are unnatural and porn is bad, and missed the first bullet point about how black people were better off during slavery. The pledge made headlines, Bachmann and Santorum both stepped back, Vander Plaats’ group took out the bullet point (but left everything else in), and all the other GOP presidential hopefuls took the opportunity to pile on at a politically convenient moment.

Jorge Rivas, our chief “The View” correspondent, and I, our chief hey-Channing-explain-your-people correspondent, both filed stories on the pledge and its fallout; Jorge posted the video of Whoopi Goldberg taking Bachmann to task over the spirit of the pledge, not just for its invocation of slavery, but for its implication that families don’t count unless they look a certain way.

Here’s what you had to say about Whoopi, Michele, and reading comprehension.

Here’s Wonderwoman:

“Michele Bachmann is today saying that she didn’t notice a key part of a pledge she endorsed last week”.

So..either she didn’t read it or she didn’t comprehend it. Either scenario is equally scary since she went on to sign it anyway. This is JUST they type of person I want signing key policies. Yes. Let us all vote for her immediately.

crystal evans:

I guess they do not know their history too well. During slavery, at any time, a child could be sold away from his/her family by their so called “owner”. And they are trying to tell us that Black children had better lives in slavery? There were also high infant mortality and maternal death rates in slavery because the heavy physical labor that slave women did contributed to these problems.

parkwood1920:

I’m never surprised at the level of willfully ig’nant obtuseness that flows from Bachmann’s mouth; a comment like this is par for the course for her. At the same time, I think it’s high time we all confront the patriarchal myths that demonize single parenthood. Sadly, I’ve witnessed many Black folks utter the same contemptible stereotypes about single mothers in our community—as if unwed motherhood is a threat to the Black family.

Hopefully Whoopi’s outrage on The View can start a national dialogue about race, gender, and our hypocritical attitudes toward motherhood in this country. Surprising as it may seem, comments like Bachmann’s are only a symptom of a much more harmful disease.

Brenda Fletchall:

“Some of us are single parents. Some of us turned out okay with single parents. And you know what?! Stop pointing your finger at single parents! I am sick of people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about goin’ off! I’m sick of it!”

:) to this i say, woot! woot! :) THANKS WHOOPI!!

Elizabeth Hurst:

I can honestly say that when my son turns out to be a productive contributor to society, it will be because of nothing the conservative “Grand Old Party” did to support me as a single parent! I am thankful that I was able to benefit from government-supported services such as Planned Parenthood, WIC, & day care subsidies while I was doing my student teaching when he was a baby. Unfortunately, single parents won’t have that luxury in the future!

Ty DePass:

preach, Whoopi. “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.” ~ Herman Melville

Alice Bowron:

Yes Whoopi jumped right up to the plate and smacked the debate right out of the park: she is so right. I was a single mom and both my kids turned out superbly, no thanks to conservative politicians who consistently cut back programs and laws for child support collection—and are doing so as I write NATIONWIDE. As for homophobes-against-marriag​e-equality: speaking as a bisexual woman myself—which “half” of me deserves marriage, and which doesn’t?!!!! :P

And finally, a touching poem by commenter Craig L. Wilkins:

i pledge allegiance, to this document that i didn’t read at all and to the racism, for which it stands one nation, under a fog with liberty and justice for some


Want to join the conversation? Join us here on Colorlines.com, or hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Tumblr.

Read this online at http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/07/what_would_michele_bachmann_think_of_your_family_reader_forum.html


Thank you for printing out this Colorlines.com article. If you liked this article, please make a donation today at colorlines.com/donate to support our ongoing news coverage, investigations and actions to promote solutions.