‘Con­ver­sa­tion’ won’t solve prob­lems; peo­ple will

The Covington News - - OPINION - WAL­TER WIL­LIAMS COLUM­NIST Wal­ter E. Wil­liams is a pro­fes­sor of economics at Ge­orge Ma­son Univer­sity. To find out more about Wal­ter E. Wil­liams, visit the Cre­ators Syn­di­cate web­site at cre­ators.com.

If we put our­selves into the shoes of racists who seek to sab­o­tage black up­ward mo­bil­ity, we couldn’t de­velop a more ef­fec­tive agenda than that fol­lowed by civil rights or­ga­ni­za­tions, black politi­cians, aca­demics, lib­er­als and the news me­dia. Let’s look at it. First, weaken the black fam­ily, but don’t blame it on in­di­vid­ual choices. You have to preach that to­day’s weak black fam­ily is a legacy of slav­ery, Jim Crow and racism. The truth is that black fe­male-headed house­holds were just 18 per­cent of house­holds in 1950, as op­posed to about 68 per­cent to­day.

In fact, from 1890 to 1940, the black mar­riage rate was slightly higher than that of whites. Even dur­ing slav­ery, when mar­riage was for­bid­den for blacks, most black chil­dren lived in bi­o­log­i­cal two-par­ent fam­i­lies.

In New York City, in 1925, 85 per­cent of black house­holds were two-par­ent house­holds. A study of 1880 fam­ily struc­ture in Philadel­phia shows that three-quar­ters of black fam­i­lies were two-par­ent house­holds.

Dur­ing the 1960s, dev­as­tat­ing non­sense emerged, ex­em­pli­fied by a Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity so­ci­ol­ogy pro­fes­sor who ar­gued, “It has yet to be shown that the ab­sence of a fa­ther was di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for any of the sup­posed de­fi­cien­cies of bro­ken homes.”

The real is­sue, he went on to say, “is not the lack of male pres­ence but the lack of male in­come.” That sug­gests mar­riage and fa­ther­hood can be re­placed by a wel­fare check.The poverty rate among blacks is 36 per­cent. Most black poverty is found in fe­male-headed house­holds. The poverty rate among black mar­ried cou­ples has been in sin­gle dig­its since 1994 and is about 8 per­cent to­day.

The black il­le­git­i­macy rate is 75 per­cent, and in some cities, it’s 90 per­cent. But if that’s a legacy of slav­ery, it must have skipped sev­eral gen­er­a­tions, be­cause in the 1940s, un­wed births hov­ered around 14 per­cent. Along with the de­cline of the black fam­ily comes anti-so­cial be­hav­ior, man­i­fested by high crime rates. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are mur­dered. Ninety-four per­cent of the time, the mur­derer is an­other black per­son. Ac­cord­ing to the Bureau of Jus­tice Statis­tics, be­tween 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black mur­der vic­tims. Us­ing the 94 per­cent fig­ure means that 262,621 were mur­dered by other blacks. Though blacks are 13 per­cent of the na­tion’s pop­u­la­tion, they ac­count for more than 50 per­cent of homi­cide vic­tims.

Na­tion­ally, the black homi­cide vic­tim­iza­tion rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. I’d like for the pres­i­dent, the civil rights es­tab­lish­ment, white lib- er­als and the news me­dia, who spent mas­sive re­sources protest­ing the Ge­orge Zim­mer­man trial’s ver­dict, to tell the na­tion whether they be­lieve that the ma­jor mur­der prob­lem blacks face is mur­der by whites. There are no such protests against the thou­sands of black mur­ders.

There’s an or­ga­ni­za­tion called Neigh­bor­hood Scout. Us­ing 2011 pop­u­la­tion data from the U.S. Cen­sus Bureau, 2011 crime statis­tics from the FBI and in­for­ma­tion from 17,000 lo­cal law en­force­ment agen­cies in the coun­try, it came up with a re­port ti­tled “Top 25 Most Danger­ous Neigh­bor­hoods in Amer­ica.” (http://tinyurl.com/cdqrev4)

They in­clude neigh­bor­hoods in Detroit, Chicago, Hous­ton, St. Louis and other ma­jor cities.

What’s com­mon to all 25 neigh­bor­hoods is that their makeup is de­scribed as “black” or “mostly black.” The high crime rates have sev­eral out­comes that are not in the best in­ter­ests of the over­whelm­ingly law-abid­ing peo­ple in th­ese neigh­bor­hoods. There can’t be much eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Prop­erty has a lower value, but worst of all, peo­ple can’t live with the kind of se­cu­rity that most Amer­i­cans en­joy.

And black politi­cians, civil rights lead­ers, lib­er­als and the pres­i­dent are talk­ing non­sense about “hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about race.”

Tell me how a con­ver­sa­tion with white peo­ple is go­ing to stop black preda­tors from prey­ing on blacks.

How is such a con­ver­sa­tion go­ing to elim­i­nate the 75 per­cent il­le­git­i­macy rate?

What will such a con­ver­sa­tion do about the break­down of the black fam­ily (though “break­down” is not the cor­rect word, as the fam­ily doesn’t form in the first place)?

Only black peo­ple can solve our prob­lems.

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