Monday, August 30, 2010

Money, not marriage, is the answer to black poverty

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.”

2 comments :

  1. George Will is a dick. Yeah, this is all racist garbage, not even thinly veiled. It is nothing new though, it has a long and nasty history of imputing "immorality" to the lower classes, and especially to African Americans. Who was supposed to be the stereotypical "welfare queen", even though statistically the majority of welfare recipients are white? Some of the hate spills over on the most recent immigrants, Mexicans and Latinos, but there is always plenty left for our former slaves.

    If you go back to the 19th and early 20th century the "immoral,dirty, criminal, drug-ridden, alcoholic, feebleminded, promiscuous and unwed" also included first the Irish, then the Italians, the Jews, and anyone from Southern Europe, as well as Asians on the West Coast.But Black folk were always at the bottom of the barrel.

    Many of us can remember segregation, the "N" word being common, "separate but equal", which was not, and exhortations not to listen to that dirty, immoral "race music" that became rock 'n roll. And lets not forget lynchings and laws against mixed race marriage. Ah, the good old days:-(

    Mr. Will does not give rat's ass about Black families or young men, and I am sure he favors the prison industrial complex that thrives on imprisoning them.

    Good blog, Jane. Racism sucks.

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  2. Yet another privileged white guy who knows exactly how to save the unwashed masses. For George Will, it's getting everyone married; for Scott Simon, it's importing a baby who "was meant for me."

    Common denominator here is that ECONOMICS is the cause of many social problems, not marriage or unwed-motherhood. Throw in harsher treatment by the criminal justice system, employment discrimination, poorly funded schools....I could go on for days, but you get the picture.

    RE: the amount of time black children versus white children spend watching TV - why is this still the gold standard for determining how much (or how little) time is spent on homework or other types of personal growth? In the 21st century there are countless distractions - internet, texting, sports, video games...TV time is only one of many choices avaiable in our free time.

    ReplyDelete

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