By Tommy DeSeno, also published in the April 12, 2012 edition of the triCityNews
We were warned in 1965 but failed to listen. In that year Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of the most respected Democrats to ever live, issued a report to the Department of Labor that has become known as “The Moynihan Report.” It was entitled “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action.”
Brevity requires me to get right to the paper’s thesis, simply stated therein:
The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence – not final, but powerfully persuasive – is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated.
Deteriorating “family structure” is the problem. What specifically is Moynihan referring to? The absence of a father in the Black household:
In essence, the Negro community has been forced into a matriarchal structure which, because it is out of line with the rest the American society, seriously retards the progress of the group as a whole, and imposes a crushing burden on the Negro male and, in consequence, on a great many Negro women as well.
It has to be acknowledged that the ideal situation to live in, giving the most likely chance for success of a family, is the traditional nuclear family with a father and mother supporting one another in the household. As Moynihan points out, that isn’t a knock on other matriarchal societies. However, when a majority in a nation is not matriarchal, and the minority is, that is devastating, even emasculating, to the male minority.
It is recognized that human situations won’t allow all to grow up in a nuclear family. Also, since we are talking about a sample of 300 million people in America, you will be able to find some examples of children from single mother households who have done better than children from nuclear families. That, however, is highlighting the exception while hiding the rule.
Statistics, as pointed out in The Moynihan report, reveal that the nuclear Black family with both parents in the household see their children grow up on average with higher IQs, less crime and more financial success than their single mother counterparts.
The report notes:
The role of the family in shaping character and ability is so pervasive as to be easily overlooked. The family is the basic social unit of American life; it is the basic socializing unit. By and large, adult conduct in society is learned as a child.
What role should young boys learn from their fathers? The Moynihan Report quotes cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead:
“In every known human society, everywhere in the world, the young male learns that when he grows up one of the things which he must do in order to be a full member of society is to provide food for some female and her young.”
Moynihan adds to that: This pattern is not immutable, however: it can be broken, even though it has always eventually reasserted itself Replicas Inflatable Cemento.
It couldn’t be clearer that the pattern among poor blacks has been toward households empty of fathers. Unfortunately, despite the devastation it can bring to the children, fatherless Black households are growing. Black children are learning more often than not that leaving families behind is an acceptable choice (I acknowledge the growing trend among white fathers today too).
Back in 1965 when the Moynihan Report was written, on average 36% of Black children were living in broken homes at any given moment. That number has risen since then for both whites and non-whites, but today’s numbers for Blacks are alarming: Nationwide 70% of Black children are born into single parent households, while in Asbury Park estimates have been as high as 90%. The poor Black family has continued to disintegrate.
Understand, so there is no mistake, that Moynihan finds no shortcoming of the Black male or female: Genetically, the intelligence potential is distributed for Black infants in the same proportions as Icelanders, Chinese and every other group.
However, when testing Blacks alone, the pattern is clear that Black children from stable families fare far better than those from fatherless homes.
Included in the areas where Blacks from broken homes fall short is crime. Moynihan quotes several sources, including a study that showed 3/4ths – or twice the expected ratio – of Philadelphia’s Black juvenile delinquents came from one parent households.
Moynihan was careful to note the outside pressures on the Black male, including segregation, alienation and prejudice in obtaining employment. His point, however, is that the Black child from a stable family is given the emotional support to deal with it, while the child of the single parent family is often left with a hopelessness and quitting attitude based upon the actions of his absent father.
The shooting of young people in Asbury Park is not occurring to middle class children with stable homes. This behavior was presciently predicted by Moynihan.
So who is to blame for Asbury Park’s fatherless homes and children shooting each other? I have narrowed it down to 35 people here in the City. In the next issue of triCityNews, I will name names and tell you who is at fault.