Last we met, we discussed how President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, his “Great Society,” had led to the impoverishment of the Black Family and its ultimate dependence on those programs. At the very end, one aspect we noted, was the deleterious effect those programs had on the institution of marriage—and its concomitant growth of child poverty. Again from Robert Rector
The culprit is in part, the welfare system itself, which discourages work and penalizes marriage. When the War on Poverty began, 7 percent of American children were born outside marriage. Today the number is 41 percent. The collapse of marriage is the main cause of child poverty today.
And from The Federalist
Only 17 percent of black kids make it to their high school graduation living exclusively with their married mother and father. That means 83 percent of black youth are suffering the loss of a parent or the instability of split homes.
Along with continued poverty, sometimes multi-generational, we also have crime—violent crime.
Dr Sowell writes
Murder rates among black males were going down — repeat, DOWN — during the much lamented 1950s, while it went up after the much celebrated 1960s, reaching levels more than double what they had been before.
Most black children were raised in two-parent families prior to the 1960s. But today the great majority of black children are raised in one-parent families.
United Families International Website has gathered information from a number of studies. Here is the takeaway from one of them
A study of adolescents convicted of homicide in adult court found that at the time of the crimes, 42.9 percent of their parents had never been married, 29.5 percent were divorced and 8.9 percent were separated. Less than 20 percent of these children were from married parent households.**
So we know that the breakup of the Black, nuclear family, closely correlates with the beginning and expansion of the Welfare State. We also know that the breakup has resulted in increased child poverty, but also increased crime. However, correlation is not causation.
Here is the cause—The Welfare State, ie Government, has replaced many Black fathers in the home. It’s just that simple. Public assistance discourages marriage or even the presence of the father in the home. The structure of Public Assistance pits poorer fathers against Government’s deep pockets. Married couples have a lower income threshold to receive public assistance than unmarried couples who live apart. If one or both of them are unemployed, the threshold is very low.
For many, it’s easier to not have a job (or to work cash jobs) and not live in the home. That kind of “easy money” discourages the father from getting a job with a real W2, the kind it takes to get ahead and discourages him from marrying the mother of his children.
Without a father in the home to teach, coach and model correct behavior, young men, especially in the inner cities, turn to other role models. Even if the father is surreptitiously living in the home, what kind of positive model is it for a young man when he see’s “Dad,” hiding in the closet from the Welfare Inspector?
As I noted previously, it is possible to make a case that this is all a result of good intentions, but sadly, with some unintended consequences. In part V we will discuss radical feminism and its deliberate and sustained effort to separate men from their families and the horrific damage it continues to cause. Stay tuned.
**Patrick Darby, Wesley Allan, Javad Kashani, Kenneth Hartke and John Reid, “Analysis of 112 Juveniles Who Committed Homicide: Characteristics and a Closer Look at Family Abuse,” Journal of Family Violence 13 (1998): 365-374.
Other Articles in this series: