Pandering to racists (“Lack of two-parent homes still the biggest hurdle for African American children”), Washington Post columnist George Will once again attributes high unemployment and incarceration rates among black men to illegitimacy and absent fathers.
According to Will, “high out-of-wedlock birth rates mean a constantly renewed cohort of adolescent males without male parenting, which means disorderly neighborhoods and schools.”
Disorderly neighborhoods and schools lead to the incarceration of “more than a third of all young black noncollege men” which in turn “blights the prospect of black women seeking husbands” which results in a black bastardy rate of seventy percent.
If this isn’t upsetting enough, Will tells us that an Education Testing Service study found that 59 percent of black eighth graders watch four or more hours of television each night while only 24 percent of white children do. It’s unclear whether ETS included the television watchers parents’ marital status in its study so we don’t actually know if watching a lot of television is due to bastardy or inability to purchase iPhones.
Will’s solution to all that ails the black community is “increasing marriage rates and getting fathers back into the business of nurturing children.” Neat, simple, and wrong.
Poverty, not parental marital status, causes a disproportionate number of black men to land in prison.
The success of many African Americans -- Oprah Winfrey, Jesse Jackson, and Ethel Waters to name a few -- attest to the fact that Illegitimacy does not a criminal make. And if being raised by a single mother predestines black men to the big house, why did Barack Obama end up in the White House and Clarence Thomas in the Courthouse?
Will is concerned about out-of-wedlock children only when it comes to black families. He has uttered nary a criticism about reluctant white fathers Levi Johnston and John Edwards. He hasn’t predicted that young Tripp Palin-Johnston is going to cause “disorder” in his neighborhood and his school or urged Sandra Bullock to find a husband before her “little cajun cookie,” Louis, reaches adolescence. Will has nothing to say when Jennifer Aniston screams on the cover of People “I don’t need a man to be a mom.”
If Will were really concerned about unwed parents, he would champion the right of gays, many of whom have children, to marry. If he really supported “getting fathers back into the business of nurturing their children,” he would take up the cause of reforming adoption laws which deny single fathers the right to nurture their children.
What’s really going on is that Will and his conservative cohorts are using racist – and sexist politics -- to transfer responsibility for black unemployment and incarceration from economic and tax policies which favor the wealthy like themselves to black “immorality.”