Denzel Washington is probably going to catch hell for espousing a family values script that has been tethered in the hands of conservatives.
“It starts at the home,” the prolific actor recently told the New York Daily News. “It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure. So, you know, I can’t blame the system. It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.”
Mr. Washington’s comments were made during a press junket for his just-released film, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” which is about a lawyer, the law and America’s system of justice. The movie didn’t do so well over the Thanksgiving weekend, which is not surprising considering the competition included a big family draw (“Coco”) and a DC Comics superhero draw (“Justice League”).
At any rate, what real-life moms and dads say about family is far more compelling that any Hollywood script.
Traditional family values, the left has long said, are racist, sexist and chauvinistic.
Women don’t need men, they say. Down with bras and up with feminism.
Women don’t need to have babies, they say. Let the sperm and eggs meet in a lab, and then, if necessary, hire a women to carry the baby.
Men don’t need women to have a family. Let the men marry and adopt a family.
Never let God’s messy details regarding Adam and Eve stand in the way.
Barefoot and pregnant. Man and wife. Mother and father. Isn’t there an app for that?
Americans began redefining family long before Bill Clinton tried to redefine s-e-x in 1998.
And what’s more, there were studies that proved trying to raise girls and boys without fathers would not only produce onerous, socioeconomic consequences.
To wit, just as it seemed poor folks were about to turn a corner in post-Vietnam America, integration dug new trenches for law and order in the suburbs. The ghetto “way of life” became the cause because the poor black kids and Spanish-speaking families needed Uncle Sam to fill the hands of families in need.
The next cycle was the drug addiction, cocaine-fueled Hollywood parties, dissolution of male-female dancing and hedonistic entertainment culture that blurred all kinds of lines. By the time America got “woke,” Mr. Washington and Tom Hanks were starring in “Philadelphia,” the 1993 groundbreaking film about HIV/AIDS and homophobia.
Victimization in the hands of Hollywood and Broadway is always an overexaggeration. (Pick any Quentin Tarantino film as proof.)
Consider, as well, “Glory.” Mr. Washington won a 1990 Oscar for his portrayal of Private Silas Tripp, and while his acting was spot-on throughout, anyone who has seen the entire film knows that Mr. Washington won one of Hollywood’s honored because of the scene where he was being whipped. Mr. Washington’s Tripp offered a stiff spine. Yet it was his lone tear streaming from his right eye during the whipping that spelled victimization.
Well, fast-forward to PC America, where whippings aren’t allowed but victimization is a badge of honor.
For sure, Mr. Washington, a married father of four, did not say that America’s justice system is perfect and that blacks are an integral part of the prison-industrial complex, as it’s been called for sometime.
All he said was if we don’t want our children and young men and women to grow up in the system, we have to start at home.
“It starts with how you raise your children.” Remember? “If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure.”
That “father figure” could be a pedophile, a gang leader or a ne’er-do-well who hangs out at the neighborhood park.
Families and traditional values aren’t dirty words.
And thank Mr. Washington for such a profound reminder about fatherhood. He shed more than one tear to give us that one.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.