A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about the problem of teen pregnancy and the tragic impact it has had on so many aspects of life in the nation's capital. Reader response was heavy and, in some ways, disturbing. While I never used the terms "black or "African American" in the column, many readers saw the teen pregnancy problem in only racial terms.
What brings this to mind is today's statement from Sarah and Todd Palin disclosing that their unmarried 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant. The presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee and her husband expressed their pride in becoming grandparents. As a grandparent of six, I can appreciate their feelings, and extend to them a hearty welcome into the enviable grandparents' club.
I'm also happy to learn that their daughter will have the unconditional love and support of the entire family as she and her husband-to-be raise their baby.
I only wish the angry readers who weighed in on my column showed similar understanding and, if not love, then at least a little respect for the young women I wrote about.
Instead, this is some of what I got:
"How long has this 'problem' been going on in the black community? Since the dark ages, er, the 60's, say. From day one they should be held accountable for their behavior…Remove the kid if necessary and establish some kind of homes for them. Better the state rear them instead of the current crop. The girls have so little self-love they long for getting knocked up or just believing they're being loved." 7/19/2008 3:12 PM.
"One often reads, hears or sees profiles of young men who grow up poor in gang infested areas and try to understand the tough choices they make that lead them astray. Stories of young women who fail to keep their knees together until a man fit to be a father comes along are rare." 7/19/2008 5:59 PM
"What children see they will do and what they do they will become." 7/19/2008 5:46 PM.
"Stop handing out welfare and housing to teen mothers and teen pregnancy will be cut by ½ in a few years." 7/19/2008 10:59 AM.
Sarah Palin, husband Todd, and daughter Bristol are well suited to tell the rest of America that there is more to the problem than that.