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‘White Dads Can Be Deadbeats, Too’: Auditor Responds to ‘Fatherlessness’ Report Critics

Last month my office released a report on the tragic consequences of fatherlessness. Kids who grow up without an engaged father in the home are more likely to go to prison (especially boys), less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to be healthy, and young girls are more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.

For pointing out these facts, two out-of-state academics submitted a Mississippi Free Press column calling  the report “misinformation,” “poorly written,” etc.

What’s interesting is that our report relies on the same sorts of statistics that President Obama quoted in a 2008 speech on fatherlessness.

“We know the statistics,” Obama said. “[C]hildren who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools; and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

I don’t recall the critics of our report reprimanding President Obama for talking about the issue. I’ve searched for Christine Dickason and Kaitlyn Barton’s (the two academics) scathing analysis of Obama’s speech and subsequent report, but it’s nowhere to be found.

‘White Dads Can Be Deadbeats, Too’

Dickason and Barton said my office’s “whole report is a dog whistle” and racist. I don’t recall them saying President Obama was racist for pointing out similar facts. But I’ll keep looking.

I’m not sure why Dickason and Barton decided to bring race into the conversation. It reveals more about them than it does the report. If I say, “fathers need to be engaged in kids’ lives,” and they say that statement is demeaning to Black fathers, that tells you exactly

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