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The New York Times

 

The Value of a Mom and a Dad

March 13, 2012

By Heather Mac Donald

The black incarceration rate reflects elevated rates of crime commission. Every effort to find systemic bias in the criminal justice system has failed.

Drug convictions are not driving the disproportionate black incarceration rate; violence is. If all drug offenders had been removed from state prisons (which house 88 percent of the nation’s prisoners) in 2006, the proportion of black prisoners would have dropped from 37.5 percent to 37 percent. The majority of black state prisoners are serving time for violence (54 percent in 2008, compared to only 22 percent for drug crimes). The national homicide rate for males between the ages of 14 and 25 was nearly 10 times higher for blacks than for whites and Hispanics combined in 2006; in New York City, blacks committed 80 percent of all shootings in 2009, though they were only 23 percent of the city’s population; whites committed 1.4 percent of all shootings, though they were 35 percent of the population. Such ratios recur throughout American cities.

The most powerful antidote to this violence would be to ensure that more black children were raised by both their father and their mother. No other ethnic or racial group suffers from family breakdown to the same degree: 73 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers in 2009. While many heroic single mothers raise stable, high-achieving children in the face of huge challenges, the odds are against them. As any urban teacher will recount, black boys in particular bring enormous anger to school with them and disproportionately act out against authority. Higher discipline rates for black students reflect this reality.

Public policy’s ability to change so complicated a problem as the decline of marriage is obviously limited; the place to start, however, is with public rhetoric. The same energy and resources that have been brought to the campaign to stigmatize smoking should be directed to a campaign to valorize fathers. The most powerful advantage that mothers can give their children is their father, the message should be. Today’s elites, with their high marriage rates, know this.

Original Source: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/03/12/young-black-and-male-in-america/for-black-children-dont-discount-the-value-of-a-mom-and-a-dad

 

 
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