It took me an e-ternity (sorry, couldn't help it) before I heard of this whole Amber Cole debacle. And, once I found out, I promptly tried to ignore it. After all, as the father of a four-year-old black girl, why the hell would I want to hear about a 14-year-old black girl going down on some boy, allowing herself to be videotaped, and then having that video going viral. Why would I want to put myself in that girl's father's place? And I thought Laurence Fishburn had it bad.
Yet today, something on my Twitter timeline did catch my attention. Apparently, some brother, Jimi Izrael (apparently he's got a little fame to him) actually did imagine that he was Amber Cole's father and posted his imaginings on Jezebel. As I said, I ain't goin' there. That place is too dark, too depressing to even contemplate. However, something that Jimi wrote did catch my eye:
I am angry with those boys. But I knew those boys. Those boys were my friends. I grew up with those boys, hung out with those boys.
While I refuse to imagine my being Amber Cole's daddy, but I can definitely imagine being those boys' father. And I gotta tell you, there is absolutely no way in hell I'd let them off as easily as Mr. Izrael does. Not even close.
Now, I wish I were a better person. I wish I could sit my boy down, have that respectable Bill Cosby moment full of dignity, calm righteous indignation, and sagacious life lessons that would put the boy on the right path. And end it with a quiet chuckle and the reassuring epiphany that lets me know that my boy has learned his lesson. I wish I could sit calmly in my funky sweater and give the child a steady diet of Feminist Father red meat (how would he like it if somebody had done that to his sister or his mother or to him) to let him know that he should never encourage, entertain the prospect, or be involved in the degradation of a female--or anyone, for that matter.
But in all honesty, it wouldn't go like that. I wouldn't be calm, there'd be nothing quiet about my righteous indignation, and we wouldn't be performing a skit to a Ray Charles song. In fact, you could be damned sure that that Feminist Father red meat would actually turn into a "white meat" moment--'cause that's exactly what I'd be whipping my boy's ass down to. Hell, it'd be worse than that. I'd be whipping that boy until his corpuscles turned purple. In fact, you'd end up seeing my face in the Guinness Book of World Records under Ass-Whippin'.
I think the scene would go something like this:
"Mutha...!" Whap! "What the...!" Whap! "...that girl and...!" Whap! Whap! "...and then you...!" Whap! "Bill, no!!!" Whap! Whap! Whap! "What were you...!" Whap!!!
I'd be whipping that boy for videoing that girl. Whipping him for having another boy there to video her. Whipping him for even thinking it was appropriate. Whipping him for posting the damned thing. For even thinking of posting it. For Plessy v. Ferguson and the Dred Scott decision. For Roethlisberger's two interceptions in that last Super Bowl.
"Yes! 911!" Whap! Whap! "...if you ever ... !!!" Whap! "My babyyyyyy!!!!" Whap! Whap! "Mr. Campbell, please come with us." Whap! "The boy's coming with me." Whap! "By all means, please do, sir." Whap! Whap! Whap! and Whap!
Oh yeah. I'd be working my whipping arm until the judge handed down my sentence. Then I'd pause, plea for the boy to be tried as an adult, get us placed in the same cell, and then whip him for 5-20 years--dependent upon good behavior, of course.
All (semi) joking aside. I am actually quite ambivalent about corporal punishment. I am neither for it nor against it. I like many of my brethren had received ass whuppins growing up. But, in my case, they were extremely rare and usually for spectacular screw-ups (like, when I was 12 and went to an arcade without permission and fell asleep only to awaken to find out that the entire town and three police jurisdictions were combing the entire area for my snoring butt--boy I got lit up that night). So, I don't have any traumatic associations with corporal punishment, don't harbor any resentment for the times I've suffered under its belt, and don't feel that I'd been abused. And while I've never hit my child nor can imagine ever doing so, I will never rule out the possibility.
And, in all honesty, if either one of those boys were my child, you would have to call protective services on me.
Amber Cole, like so many other females in her position, has become a bit of a celebrity. We have scrutinized and judged her actions ad infinitum. We are judging all girls and women by this poor child's actions. Yet, where are the boys? Why aren't they just as infamous as this girl? Why don't we even know their names?
Incidents like this will continue to happen until we teach all our children dignity. Until boys suffer the same, harsh scrutiny over their sexual conduct as girls do. That respect, dignity, and degradation are a two-way street. If one is supposed to be graced by respect, one must treat everybody in every situation with respect.
But until that happens, until true equality is attained by all, this father would whip both those boys' asses.