On Fatherhood

Monday, December 01, 2008

Adam Gopnik, New Yorker staff writer, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, contributing editor to The Atlantic and author of The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, talk about fatherhood in the age of Obama.


Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Gopnik

Comments [12]

Cynthia from LES

I caught the show at the end and heard mention of a book comparing Lincoln and Darwin and their parenting - I think(?). Does anyone know what that was?

Dec. 01 2008 04:49 PM
LM from Union Square

The guest, Adam Gopnik, mentioned a particular scene in the new Broadway show "In the Heights” where a biracial couple kiss. In his word this was intended to be a “dynamite kind of moment” in the play intended to shock the audience.
I don't believe this was the intention of the play. It is an illustration of the diversity in our community. Of course there is racism and classism in Latin America, but in our Latin/Caribbean community a biracial couple is the norm, not the exception. Anyway, the actors were probably selected to play the part based on their talents, not on the color of their skin.

Dec. 01 2008 04:45 PM
john from upper west side

Obamas understanding goes beyond being interatial. For some time racial esthnecity and gender have overriden some basic and fundimental aspects of parenthood. With rights, recognition and freedom comes responsibility. Respect and discipline are a forgotten aspect in the education of our childrens character The family with a full time father and mother go a long way in helping to parent successfully. Children learn from example and prents are either good or bad examples.

Our new president was fortunate to have strong parents and grand parents to assure his character. His diversity is a sure plus to be excepted with some strong medecine needed to redirect education in this country both at home and at school.

Dec. 01 2008 12:13 PM
MichaelB from UWS Manhattan

And BTW, ironically, white upper middle class society is wrestling with the role of fathers in children's lives, as the importance of fathers has been marginalized in divorce, and the notion of many well-to-do women having children via sperm bank mating.

Dec. 01 2008 11:57 AM
Mireille LIong from Jersey City

Obama said in several interviews that he regret neglecting the parent who was there. His mother read his book while he was writing it.

Dec. 01 2008 11:56 AM

Can one of these guys explain why racism causes absentee fathers? Gays are denied marriage in America not blacks.

Dec. 01 2008 11:55 AM
MichaelB from UWS Manhattan

Problem with Ta-Nehisi Coates' point about solving 200 years of oppression in 40 years or so is that decades ago, closer to the oppression and with far less civil rights, the out of wedlock birthrate was far lower, as were so many other social indicators....

Dec. 01 2008 11:55 AM
Cheryl Clarke from Jersey City

I take issue with President elect Obama's Father Day speech. I agree mostly with Mr. Coates (on your show today). I think this country has a destructive nostalgia for fatherhood and in tact families (so-called.)and children who are born in female headed (absent father) families are criticized and punished relentlessly. Let's champion all families--not only the in-tact, father-present,heterosexual. Obama has a sad nostalgia for his father. He turned out okay without his birth father. Didn't he? Let's give women some credit. Cheryl Clarke

Dec. 01 2008 11:54 AM

Just as the idea of having a beer w Bush resonated with lots of US voters --

likewise I feel a connection with Obama the dad.

Dec. 01 2008 11:52 AM

Obama's commitment to Michelle as a mother is also inspiring.. I get the feeling that not a day goes by that he doesn't appreciate the time she spends being a full-time mother, and the sacrifices she's made. Parenting is a team thing, and I think their dynamics are incredible.

Dec. 01 2008 11:48 AM
Edward Helmrich from Larchmont, NY

President-elect Obama will continue the pro-choice policies of the last several decades, with a vengeance, so the responsibility of fathers for their children will not improve.

Dec. 01 2008 11:44 AM
Darius from Prospect Heights

Great guest! Ask Mr. Coates about his criticisms of Obama's speech on race, particularly about how the history of racism and the views of immigrants interact. I know it's off topic but it's an interesting point.

Dec. 01 2008 11:03 AM

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