Liberal and Conservative Agree: Fathers Matter, Case Closed

America has witnessed months of civil unrest in cities around America following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many of the protesters decry income and net worth “inequality.” But the most serious “inequality” is the unequal percentage of fathers in Black households, a phenomenon that has been encouraged by government policies that normalize and reward out-of-wedlock births. 

In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was assistant secretary of Labor to President Lyndon B. Johnson, published “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.” At that time, 25% of Blacks were born outside of wedlock, a number that this former adviser to President John F. Kennedy, future adviser to President Richard Nixon, future U.S. ambassador and future Democratic senator from New York said was catastrophic to the Black community.

Moynihan wrote: “A community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken homes, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure — that is not only to be expected, it is very near to inevitable.”

Moynihan, according to his daughter, “was crucified by the left,” many of whom considered the book racist. Maura Moynihan said: “To this day members of the New York and DC elite insult and attack me at cocktail parties for being his daughter.” But since the publication of her father’s controversial report, the percent of Black children entering the world without a father in the home has almost tripled.

One of the most prominent, if not the most prominent, liberal think tanks in America is the Brookings Institute. On the right, one of the most prominent, if not the most prominent, conservative think tanks is the Heritage Foundation. Yet despite their ideological differences, they agree on America’s most important domestic issue: Fathers matter.

In 2015, Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow at Brookings, wrote “Purposeful Parenthood” and said: 

“The effects on children of the increase in single parents is no longer much debated. They do less well in school, are less likely to graduate, and are more likely to be involved in crime, teen pregnancy, and other behaviors that make it harder to succeed in life. Not every child raised by a single parent will suffer from the experience, but, on average, a lone parent has fewer resources — both time and money — with which to raise a child. Poverty rates for single-parent families are five times those for married-parent families. … The growth of such families since 1970 has increased the overall child poverty rate by about 5 percentage points (from 20 to 25 percent). … 

“Recent research suggests that boys are indeed more affected than girls by the lack of a male role model in the family. If true, this sets the stage for a cycle of poverty in which mother-headed families produce boys who go on to father their own children outside marriage.”

In 2014, Brookings also published “The Unequal Burden of Crime and Incarceration on America’s Poor” by former Brookings expert Benjamin H. Harris and nonresident senior fellow Melissa Kearney. They wrote: “(F)or an African American child whose father does not have a high school diploma, there is roughly a 50 percent chance that his or her father will be in prison by the time of the child’s fourteenth birthday. That so many of our nation’s children — poor, minority children, in particular — grow up with an incarcerated parent makes their chances of success that much harder.”

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, wrote in 2012 “Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty,” in which he made the same case as did the researchers from Brookings: “Child poverty is an ongoing national concern, but few are aware of its principal cause: the absence of married fathers in the home. According to the U.S. Census, the poverty rate for single parents with children in the United States in 2009 was 37.1 percent. The rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent. Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.

“Some of this difference in poverty is due to the fact that single parents tend to have less education than married couples, but even when married couples are compared to single parents with the same level of education, the married poverty rate will still be more than 75 percent lower. Marriage is a powerful weapon in fighting poverty. In fact, being married has the same effect in reducing poverty that adding five to six years to a parent’s level of education has.”

Rapper T.I. recently said: “If (Blacks) make up for 13% of this nation’s population, we should make up for 13% of the ownership of land. We should be representing at least 13%, 14% on boards (of) financial institutions, and so on and so forth.” Does this 13% rule apply to the NBA, where three-quarters of the players are Black? Does this apply to homicides, given that almost half of America’s homicide victims are Black? More importantly, does this apply to the percentage of Black kids born outside of marriage?

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One thought on “Liberal and Conservative Agree: Fathers Matter, Case Closed

  1. GARTH REID says:

    The absence of the Black father not being in the home has been expressed by some notable people over many years. What Larry Elder wants to do is blame Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society Program” and Democratic policies for the failures of the Black family structure. I listened to Larry Elder tell the story about his name, Elder. Larry’s father never knew his real father and took the name “Elder” from one of the many men Larry’s grandmother had coming and going in and out her life. Yet, he blames Lyndon B. Johnson welfare program for the Black man not being in the home.

    The root cause of the lack of family formation among Blacks started from slavery with the frequent selling of family members and the raping of Black women by slaveholders. Black people never had a strong family structure or family ties. Frederick Douglass said that slave owners purposefully separated children from their parents in order to blunt the development of affection between them. Harriet Beecher Stowe used the sale and separation of families as a sharp critique of slavery in her famous novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Harriet argued that slavery was immoral on many grounds, and the greatest of them was the destruction of the family.

    “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” written by herself: Harriet Ann Jacobs, (1813-1897). Harriet Jacobs was an African-American writer. Born into slavery in North Carolina. The “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”; page 26 to 27… “On one of these sale days, I saw a mother lead seven children to the auction-block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her; but they took all. The
    children were sold to a slave-trader, and their mother was bought by a man in her own town. Before night her children were all far away. She begged the trader to tell her where he intended to take them; this he refused to do. How could he, when he knew he would sell them, one by one, wherever he could command the highest price? I met that mother in the street, and her wild, haggard face lives to-day in my mind. She wrung her hands in anguish, and exclaimed, “Gone! All gone! Why don’t God kill me?” I had no words wherewith to comfort her. Instances of this kind are of daily, yea, of hourly occurrence.

    The 1995 Million Man March by Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, in large part addressed Black men about the responsibility of fatherhood. In 2015, the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, which I attended, revisited the message of the 1995 Million Man March. Marcus Garvey spoke about the importance of the family and the Black community a hundred years ago. Malcolm X spoke about same the things almost 60 years ago.

    On June 4th, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson, gave his historic commencement address at Howard University. He said, “The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. Unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together. The schools, the playgrounds, public assistance, and private concern, will never be enough to cut completely the circle of despair and deprivation.

    The most important radiating to every part of life—is the breakdown of the Negro family structure. For this, most of all, white America must accept responsibility. It flows from centuries of oppression and persecution of the Negro man. It flows from the long years of degradation and discrimination, which have attacked his dignity and assaulted his ability to produce for his family. Less than half—of all Negro children reach the age of 18 having lived all their lives with both of their parents. At this moment, tonight, little less than two-thirds are at home with both of their parents. Probably a majority of all Negro children receive federally-aided public assistance sometime during their childhood”.

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