HOUSTON, July 21, 2013 — President Obama’s statements on Friday regarding race and Trayvon Martin were absolutely disgraceful, misleading and divisive. Like the best of the race-baiters, Obama ignored the facts, the jury verdict, racial history in America, and the current state of racial affairs in America. He opted to throw his base some red meat and to distract the country from the massive problems his policies have created and exacerbated, which have been particularly damaging to the black community and the black family unit.
In his remarks, Obama insinuated that the current state of the black community is, at least partially, due to slavery and a history of discrimination in this country. He repeatedly referred to a “historical context” that influences blacks’ perspective on cultural issues. Additionally, he stated that, “the poverty and dysfunction that we see in those (poor black) communities can be traced to a very difficult history.”
For the most part, the idea that slavery and discrimination play a major role in the current condition of the black community is a myth that is perpetuated in our society and needs to be addressed. The current status of the black community and specifically the deterioration of the black family can be traced to the big government welfare state, not slavery and discrimination.
If a history of slavery and discrimination is a major cause of the deterioration of black communities, it would be expected that blacks would have been much worse off at a time that was much closer to slavery. Using that same logic, the further away from slavery, the better off the black community should be. Also, if the welfare state actually did what it was originally intended to do, after over 50 years and $16 trillion spent on welfare programs alone, the black community should be much better off today. Unfortunately, empirical evidence shows the opposite.
According to Walter Williams, a black economics professor at George Washington University, today’s black illegitimacy rate is about 70 percent. In the 1940s it was 15 percent. Historian Herbert Gutman, in his book, “Persistent Myths about the Afro-American Family,” points out that in the 1940s, the percentage of black two-parent families ranged from 75-90 percent. Today only 35 percent of black children are raised in two parent households. In the 1940s, black unemployment was actually lower than that of whites. Today, the black unemployment rate is at 13.7 percent and white unemployment rate is 6.6 percent.
Welfare programs for the poor actively incentivize the very behaviors that will perpetuate poverty, including discouraging work by providing more income than a low-wage job would provide, and diminishing or ending benefits if employed.
The most damaging of all the negative effects, though, has been the the deterioration of the black family due to anti-marriage incentives in welfare programs. A single mother will lose between 10-20 percent of her welfare income if she gets married. Therefore, many people will not get married in order to keep that higher income. Single parent households, relative to two parent, married households, have been shown to have devastating effects on the children.
According to the census, the poverty rate for single parents with children was 35.6 percent; the rate for married couples with children was 6.4 percent. For white families in particular, the corresponding two-parent and single-parent poverty rates were 21.7 percent and 3.1 percent; for Hispanics, the figures were 37.5 percent and 12.8 percent; and for blacks, 35.3 percent and 6.9 percent. According to Robert Rector, senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, “the absence of marriage increases the frequency of child poverty 700 percent and thus constitutes the single most reliable predictor of a self-perpetuating underclass.”
Children who grow up in single parent households are much more likely to be criminals than those raised in two-parent households, and have much higher rates of teenage pregnancy. According to the National Fatherhood Initiative, 60 percent of rapists, 72 percent of adolescent murderers, and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates are men who grew up in fatherless homes. With regard to girls in particular, those raised by single mothers are more than twice as likely to give birth out-of-wedlock, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty for yet another generation.
Scholar Charles Murray has studied the effects of welfare programs on marriage and has determined that welfare laws and the anti-marriage provisions included therein are responsible for around 50 percent of the family disintegration in the United States. Murray believes that “the growth and increased liberalization of the welfare complex have eroded the traditional ethos of working-class communities that once held people who worked at low-wage jobs, and men who married the mothers of their children, in much higher esteem than unwed parents who became wards of the state.”
Liberals, though, refuse to acknowledge the failure of the welfare state, regardless of the empirical evidence, because if they did admit they are wrong, their entire world view must also be wrong. Liberals cloak themselves in moral superiority and focus entirely on the intentions of big government and the welfare system, rather than the results of programs or policies that they implement, even if these programs have detrimental effects on the same groups that they were intended to help!
Also, politicians are concerned about getting votes, and it is apparent that black Americans are very concerned about the size and nature of government programs that are designed to help the poor and needy. Therefore, liberals, regardless of the fact that these programs hurt the poor and needy, perpetuate the myth that they actually help in order to keep the vote of the black community.
Essentially, the black community and the black family have been devastated by the left’s twenty-first century plantation and no amount of disgraceful, divisive, and racist speeches by the current overseer, President Obama, will alter that.
Professor Walter Williams said it best: “(T)he welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family,”