There are many African Americans struggling to make ends meet in our society and liberals claim to be fighting for them.
The Federalist Papers reported that noted economist Walter E. Williams believes the issue facing African Americans isn’t racial repression like the Left claims, but a much deeper issue. It’s the collapse of the traditional family structure.
Walter E. Williams works at George Mason University as a John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics. He recently wrote a lengthy article detailing the issues facing black Americans in society.
He starts off by criticizing the Left’s notion that minorities are struggling in the US because of “a legacy of slavery, racial discrimination, and poverty.” While certainly terrible things, Williams claims these are not the primary sources of the difficulties African Americans are facing.
According to Williams, “The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure. Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households.”
He cites an interesting statistic to prove his point that the collapse of the family, not racism, is at fault. Williams claims that in 1960 there were only 22 percent of children raised in single parent homes. That number skyrocketed to 70 percent of black children growing up in single parent homes in 2010.
Another statistic he uses states that 11 percent of black children were born to unwed women in 1938. That number has similarly jumped to 75 percent.
He uses these two facts to make perhaps his boldest statement in the article, “the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.”
Williams states that black families with two married parents have only an 8 percent poverty rate, whereas their unwed single counterparts have 37 percent in poverty. This is perhaps the clearest indicator that traditional families lead to decreased poverty among black Americans.
The claims Williams puts forth are echoed by Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, who believes a traditional family is key to evading poverty, as reported by Newsweek. According to Lowry, the three steps for economic success require graduating from high school, maintaining a full-time job or have a spouse who does, and waiting to have children until married and after the age of 21.
According to Lowry, another problem facing black Americans is the sense of helplessness instilled by the Left, who deny “the moral agency of blacks, who are often depicted as the products of forces beyond their control.”
This is the argument put forth by Williams in his article. He believes that the Left is what is causing the most damage to the potential of black Americans: “The most damage done to black Americans is inflicted by those politicians, civil rights leaders, and academics who assert that every problem confronting blacks is a result of a legacy of slavery and discrimination. That’s a vision that guarantees perpetuity for the problems.”
The assault on traditional families and the pervasive feeling of helplessness are the greatest threats to black Americans’ success in the US. Though there may be fringe elements of society who advocate racism, this is not the primary obstacle to escaping poverty and achieving happiness.
We as Americans, regardless of race, need to hang on to traditional values, such as family, if we wish to remain successful and happy in life.
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