May 12, 2015

A CULTURE OF BOYS WITHOUT DADS:  Ken Blackwell and Roy Schwarzwalder have a compelling op-ed in TownHall today, discussing the elephant in the room that progressives don’t want to acknowledge:  the importance of fatherhood.

Fatherhood is in crisis all across the country. . . . Nationwide, only 17 percent of African-American children reach 17 in a family with their married biological parents. . . .Clearly, the solution is healthy marriage and strong families. As Jason L. Riley writes in the Wall Street Journal[], “In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28 percent, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8 percent of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.

As one of us (Blackwell), wrote with Pat Fagan last year in The Washington Times[], “Marriage is the greatest ‘program’ to end poverty, child abuse, child sexual abuse, school dropout, college failure, health problems, drug problems, depression, out-of-wedlock births to teenagers, reduce abortions, increase homeownership and savings … We know that when you remove marriage as a factor, there is virtually no difference between whites and blacks on graduation, employment and staying out of jail.”

Exactly.  There is nothing as powerful for the welfare of children than an intact family.  But even if the parents do not wish to be (or remain) married, having the constant presence of both a loving mother and father is probably the single most important predictor of the trajectory of a child’s life.

Fathers matter tremendously, and if progressives such as President Obama really “cared” about the black community, they would emphasize this message over and over again.  Instead, when faced with the fact that 73 percent of black children are born out-of-wedlock (versus 29 percent for whites and 17 percent for Asians), we hear crickets, or worse, howls of indignation from progressives, such as a recent piece posted at ThinkProgress, which proclaimed, “there’s compelling evidence that number of black dads living apart from their kids stems from structural systems of inequality and poverty, not the unfounded assumption that African-American men somehow place less value on parenting.”   Or this wisdom from a Washington Post blogger:

If black boys pulled their pants up, then are they more likely to find a job or less likely to be racially profiled? If they just finished school, then could they avoid the cradle to prison pipeline? If African Americans detached from hip-hop culture, stopped having babies out of wedlock and kept their neighborhoods clean, then would racism and social inequality finally end in America?

These questions are beside the point.  Does anyone doubt that a young black man (or white, or any other race) who has a good father/male role model in his life will be more likely to find a job, finish school, and avoid having children out of wedlock or ending up in prison?  The cause of these ills isn’t racism; it’s a cultural divide that causes young black men (or white, or any other race) from the lower socio-economic class  to reject the cultural values of higher socio-economic classes, such as marriage, education and work.  So much of what progressives call “racism” today is, in fact, culturalism.  If we want to have an “honest discussion” about race, we need to start talking about culture.

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