They Said It…the John Douglas edition

When I read or hear about certain things that elected officials say, I sometimes have to sit back and ask, “what were you thinking?”

On his blog, Atlanta Public Affairs, fellow Peach Pundit front-pager DecaturGuy highlighted the following comment from state Sen. John Douglas in regards to th Genarlow Wilson case:

“…if it had been my daughter, he [Genarlow Wilson] wouldn’t have made it to jail. Bigger problems would have awaited other than the judge and jury. But almost certainly the girls didn’t have fathers at home to guide them in their teen years. Another casualty of the welfare system.

[Source: 6/11/2007 JasonPye.com blog entry “UPDATED: Wilson to be freed”]

With all due respect to Sen. Douglas, that has got to be one of the most racist and condescending comments that I have ever seen from a politician.

First of all, Douglas assumes…let me repeat that…assumes that the two girls in the Genarlow Wilson case were on welfare. Then, the Senator from Social Circle, Georgia makes another assumption; that the two girls were at fault because they didn’t have daddies at home teaching them the difference between right and wrong.

Excuse my language, but Sen. Douglas doesn’t know a damn thing about those two girls, so for him to make the assumption that they were on welfare and didn’t have daddies is irresponsible, arrogant, and Sen. Douglas needs to apologize for his insensitive remarks.

Now I’m not too happy about having to inject race into this discussion, but if I may venture an opinion, I suggest to you that John Douglas would not have made those comments and assumptions if those two girls were not black. Here’s a memo for you Sen. Douglas; not all black folks are on welfare and not all black folks come from a home where’s there no father-figure in the household.

Sen. Douglas, you really need to apologize.

41 comments

  1. I don’t want John Douglas’s brain to explode (be kind of like squeezing a pea) but he first blames these girls for being at this party because they are on welfare and have no father, then he says if it happened to his daughter…

    Assuming he’s doing his job as a father he shouldn’t have to worry about that hypothetical, according to his own logic.

    Reminds me of that old mind bender…if a tree falls in the woods on John Douglas would anyone care?

  2. I Am Jacks Post says:

    I’m not excusing what Douglas said (though I think you’re overreacting), but if that’s one of the “most racist” statements you’ve ever read, then you clearly don’t listen to or read Joseph Lowery and Jesse.

  3. Erick says:

    I would have made the same comment regardless of race, and I think it is an absolutely fair statement for Senator Douglas to make.

    Good for him for saying it.

    I would not have made the statement about the welfare system, but I have a very strong suspicion that he’s right on the money when it comes to absent fathers.

  4. Rogue109 says:

    “I suggest to you that John Douglas would not have made those comments and assumptions if those two girls were not black.”

    And what do you base that on? Because he’s white? How is this comment any better (and I’m not saying I agree with Douglas’ comments)?

    Andre, his comments aren’t racist, they are bigoted. There IS a difference.

  5. memberg says:

    Hmm, I don’t think this qualifies as “blaming the victim” in the traditional sense, i.e. “blaming the victim to excuse the crime.”

    Just saying.

  6. Andre Walker says:

    If it’s a case of absent fathers, then how would you explain the syphilis outbreak in Rockdale County, back in 1996, when those teens (most with two parents in the household) were just going to parties and having as much sex as possible.

    I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as saying that these girls went to this party and engaged in sexual activity simply because daddy wasn’t there.

  7. ToddH says:

    Absent fathers does seem to be a problem in the black community. Was it racist when Bill Cosby said it?

  8. Jmac says:

    But, Erick that’s a specific assumption being made about a particular case. I don’t think anyone disputes that two-parent homes, based on most studies, provide stable guidance for children.

    However, Douglas went out of his way to presume that these girls came from a home without a father (or similar paternal figure).

    Furthermore, Andre’s central point is still valid … even if children have a two-parent household, there’s no assurance that type of upbringing will lead to sunshine and puppies.

  9. Jmac says:

    Absent fathers does seem to be a problem in the black community. Was it racist when Bill Cosby said it?

    That’s neither here nor there. The point is the fact that an elected official made an ignorant assumption about this particular situation.

    If Douglas wanted to discuss the problem of absent fathers, then he should do so. But not by issuing a blanket statement which links this specific action to his own beliefs. Again, as Andre noted, there are probably a variety of reasons why this situation unfolded and pinning it solely on hypothetical absent fathers if petty and blatantly political.

  10. Jason Pye says:

    I would not have made the statement about the welfare system, but I have a very strong suspicion that he’s right on the money when it comes to absent fathers.

    Erick and Senator Douglas, I had an absent father. I have no criminal record and managed to keep myself out of trouble…and we were not on welfare.

  11. ToddH says:

    I had an absent father and we were on welfare when I was growing up. I was pretty much a problem child until I was 21 or 22. I drank alcohol and did drugs and got into trouble with the police. I don’t know if things would have been different if my dad had stuck around or if we weren’t poor and on welfare, but I’m pretty damn sure it didn’t help either.

  12. CHelf says:

    “But almost certainly” is a very bold statement. This is not your normal generalization. I guarantee you right now if the kids were honest, Sen. Douglas could go to several schools in his district and find out this happens quite frequently and by kids who have fathers at home. I’d be willing to use his phrase and say almost certainly kids of politicians, church leaders, etc. are involved in this sort of behavior as well.

    I’m not sure how the welfare system comes into play since kids have oral sex regardless of socio-economic background. Perhaps this is not ‘racist’ but it sure is wrong. With this logic every kid who gets into any trouble whatsoever must come from a broken home that is somewhere in the projects. Kids outside the projects and white kids have these same issues. If he needs proof, just visit the schools in that district.

    Jason, I had the same background as you. We’re both proof that this sort of comment is far-fetched.

  13. Samuel says:

    Sen. Douglas is quite correct. I’m afraid uninformed “bleeding hearts” have forgotten the facts in this case and have blindly followed Oprah’s agenda.

    The sordid filmed scenario involved five males and two girls. The “so-called consensual girlfriend” – 15 years old – may not have consented at all – let’s see; five grown men, alchohol and video camera; did she really have much choice or was she intimidated into filming group sex? As for the other girl, she was 17 years old, passed out drunk, unconcious and raped – on video – by Genarlow Wilson. Has everyone forgotten about the rape? Look at the video again and see Genarlow Wilson is not an innocent victim. Quite the opposite! He is a grown man guilty of intimidating a child into filming sex with him in front of four other grown men (all who pled guilty by the way) and then legal adult Genarlow Wilson is filmed raping an unconcious 17 year old women. Crimes were committed here against a child and against an innocent unconcious women. 10 years is not enough – 30 years is not enough. Plus, no matter how long he is imprisoned, Genarlow Wilson is still a sexual predator and needs to remain as a registered sex offender. Race has nothing to do with this.

  14. CHelf says:

    “Have you seen the tape, Samuel?”

    I’d be careful asking that question. We might not want to know the answer.

  15. Erick says:

    Andre, re: the Rockdale County situation. I saw the PBS documentary. Just because they had fathers living in the house doesn’t mean the fathers weren’t absent. It seems to me they were.

    Same in this case.

  16. Buffalo Bob says:

    I would like to ask Sen. Douglas if he knows what his daughter is doing everytime she leaves the house?? I too, diagree with the whole daddy thing, this happens across the board, does not matter the child’s background.

  17. Rusty says:

    Samuel,
    Congratulations, you’ve made the quote rotation on my blog with this gem:

    I’m afraid uninformed “bleeding hearts” have forgotten the facts in this case and have blindly followed Oprah’s agenda.

    I can always rely on Peach Pundit commenters for my daily unintentional comedy fix.

  18. CHelf says:

    If this sentence is upheld and they began prosecuting these cases in the exact same manner, you’d have some severe overcrowding going on in the jails. Maybe some people are sheltered and don’t know what goes on with teens these days but if HALF of the comments coming from Legislators on this issue were enforced, this little surplus of ours would be building new jails for a large number of teens. And it really does not matter what background they came from.

  19. Federalist says:

    You know, when I was 17 this was not a big deal. John Douglas is out of touch with reality. I grew up before welfare and it was no secret that 15 year old girls would blow 17 years old boys, and it was no big deal. Douglas is a hack, and above this he is apparently a racist. Our morals will not be dictated by these self righteous a$$holes, and if you cons keep allowing it…well, you will no longer be supporting democracy or America. I call for the resignation of this sorry excuse of a man they call John Douglas, plain and simple.

  20. RJL says:

    26 comments about something John Douglas says is like a crowd gathering around a deranged street barker and commenting to each other, “I wonder if he has any data to support his claim that the world will end on Friday?”

  21. Federalist says:

    Jason, I am assuming that since they are minors…their identities will not be released, in any form (i.e. physical descriptions)

  22. Andre Walker says:

    Here’s an excerpt from the USA Today article on the subject:

    Wilson’s advocates say race was one reason the young man received a sentence they describe as appallingly harsh, noting that he and the girl — both black — were only two years apart and the law has since been changed. On Monday, a judge ordered Wilson released, agreeing that the long sentence was a “grave miscarriage of justice.”

  23. Bill Simon says:

    Erick and JDouglas,

    Soooo, let me get this straight: in homes with fathers, the daughters will never be involved in experimenting/participating in oral sexcapades, eh?

    Senator Douglas, I know you’re this ignorant, but I didn’t expect such a statement from Erick.

    You folks really DO live in a sheltered enclave of America outside the “big city.”

  24. Rick Day says:

    I’m confused. Nothing new.

    What exactly is Oprah’s Agenda? I could not find a wiki, and the only googley searches turn up mean-spirited blog posts (hm. Kind of like yours!) Please cite accurate sources re: Agenda

    However, if you find it includes her running for POTUS, well…where do I send her my check?

    LOLZ @ Oprah’s Agenda.

  25. ChuckEaton says:

    “Wilson’s advocates say race was one reason the young man received a sentence they describe as appallingly harsh, noting that he and the girl — both black — were only two years apart.”

    An interesting point, but I wonder what the black girl’s advocates would be saying had Wilson received a light sentence?

  26. patriot says:

    The major problem here is that the law that was in effect at the time says that she cannot consent to the act, and make it ok. The 2 year age gap and her minor status due to her 15 yr. old age were automatic disqualifiers.

    The media seems to want to portray this as a “normal”, consensual act, as if it were motivated by romance or affection. I wonder if she was “in love” with all 5 of the young men? She was intoxicated, probably intimidated, and exploited (at least by the taping, if not by the actions. ) Any surprise that today she is 18, and the mother of a 2 yr. old?

    As to the absence of a father-figure, the only parent mentioned in the press is her momma, with momma making all the statements about the girl consenting and re: the prosecution.

    The race of the 2 principal “players” and whether they were of the same race makes no difference, as to the impropriety. Any race, same condemnation of the actions and violation of the laws.

    Why no prosecution of the drugs and under-age drinking? Are those actions supposed to be ok? Seems to me they were contributing factors.

  27. Samuel says:

    Does anyone find it fitting that Genarlow’s attorney only uses her first two initials: “B.J.”

  28. atlantaman says:

    “with momma making all the statements about the girl consenting and re: the prosecution.”

    It appears both sides are trying to intimidate the mother into being a pawn for her cause. Apparently she issued a statement of support for Wilson, after receiving pressure from the Wilson advocates, then retracted her statement after receving pressure from Baker.

    With a black defendent, black victim, black AG and blacks on the jury I find it hard to see how his sentence was racist.

  29. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Patriot said:
    “The media seems to want to portray this as a “normal”, consensual act, as if it were motivated by romance or affection. I wonder if she was “in love” with all 5 of the young men? She was intoxicated, probably intimidated, and exploited (at least by the taping, if not by the actions. )”

    So true and thanks for pointing that out. This wasn’t romance and it wasn’t a case of a group of swingers having some consensual fun in the form of a gangbang. I’m pretty sure that the girl was pressured and intimidated into performing tricks. Forcing someone into doing something doesn’t have to be made physically….The intimidation factor was certainly there.

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