Thursday, March 27, 2008

The answer to black poverty

Obama's sweeping race speech missed the most vital tool the black community needs to raise itself out of poverty. It's pretty simple really.

Marry the mother of your children and stay married.

This naturally applies to people of all races of course, but out of wedlock births have most deeply affected the black community:

The connection between family breakdown and child poverty is well established. In a 1991 American Sociological Review article, David J. Eggebeen and Daniel T. Lichter estimated that if black family composition had remained constant from 1960 to 1988, the black child poverty rate in 1988 would have been 28.4 percent instead of 45.6 percent. If black family composition had remained constant from 1980 to 1988, Eggebeen and Lichter said, the black child poverty rate in 1988 would have been 40 percent instead of 45.6 percent.

"This implies that changing black family structure in the 1980s accounted for roughly 65 percent of the increase in official poverty among black children," they noted. "Black family shifts in the 1980s also accounted for 51 percent of the increase in deep poverty, and about 90 percent of the growth in relative child poverty." Family breakdown also had an intensifying effect on the child poverty rates of whites, but it "had a much greater effect on the child poverty rates of blacks."

It's all well and good to discuss race as an issue, as Obama did, but to ignore the root of poverty for so many black Americans, keeps us from dealing with the problem. Out of wedlock births for blacks stands at 70%. Such a shocking number and so devastating to the family structure and clearly the cause of poverty for so many. Mostly because of culture. So many problems across the board can be attributed to the breakdown of the family and all races have been affected by it. None so much as African Americans though. Yet we hardly ever address it. Why?

We all like to pretend that our sexual freedom has no consequences. But the truth is that the consequences are vast and deep. From sexually transmitted diseases to abortion to out of wedlock births. These are all self inflicted wounds. As real and profound as these consequences are, no one seems to care enough to do much about it. From policy to TV to movies to music we put our stamp of approval on the very behavior that sends so many children into poverty.

Celebrities and stars do concerts and benefits for the rainforest and tell us that we need to think about the future of our children, yet they promote and live a lifestyle that contributes to a dismal future of poverty for our children. There is much irony there.

Obama's pastor clearly blames many of the black community's problems on white America, but Obama should know better. Obama grew up without a father. He overcame that, but so many others do not. If Obama really wanted to change race relations and change black America for the better, he would do well to address the issue of family breakdown, the causes and the reasons, and promote a centered life that gives us happy healthy children of all colors. Promote and talk about marriage and family. It doesn't cost the taxpayer a dime and Obama's own faith has a pretty great guidebook on how to make it all work.