A long time ago I got tired of conservatives talking about family dissolution in the black community. The constant recitation of the black out of wedlock birthrate was in some quarters of the Right akin to the Muslim Shahada. No conversation about economic or social policy in black America could begin without it. So in my irritation with the phony concern and boredom with the talking point I would point out to professional conservatives that the white out of wedlock birthrate – today, right now, not in 1965 – was higher than the black bastardy rate the Moynihan report deemed a social catastrophe. If the root of black crime, poverty, and misery that were stains on our society were due to the lack of black fathers in the home surely we should be more concerned about what was happening in white households since whites make up seven times the population as blacks. The conversations would die at that point. That’s what signaled to me that many of the people talking about black families didn’t actually care about black families. The talking point was only used to cast a bad light on federal welfare policy. I remember it being in the air (and in print, too, but sadly I don’t have the cites) that somehow blacks were uniquely vulnerable to being on the dole. Something in the black genetic code went haywire when cashing in a food stamp. This would not happen to whites.
Then I read some Theodore Dalrymple.
I found other sources and starting reading about what was happening in the white British underclass. Seems like white folks got violent and loud in public and fought and procreated with no regard for their progeny, too. And then I knew with no shadow of doubting that black people had to get out of the conservative movement. I was already done with the Republican Party. I knew it didn’t really want black people in it. Not ones who would speak off script anyway. I was mad at being conned. I wanted someone to acknowledge it and apologize. Of course that never happened. The con continues. There is an entire organization that tweets out black out of wedlock birthrates every few days. It even gets black faces to retweet the stats and talk in short videos about the issue to keep it framed as a “black” issue and a “welfare state” issue.
Well, I hope you can all spot the scam now. Broken families and families where the father is never on the scene are not merely black issues just as bad policing is not just a black issue. The confused, violent mobs of white kids in the street weren’t shipped here from China or a neighboring galaxy. They came out of your house. Yeah, go ahead, blame the universities. That’s easy, but I know a whole bunch of kids in or just recently graduated from a university (including my own) who are not throwing rocks at police officers, burning down businesses or pulling down statues. It ain’t the schools. It’s divorce, shacking up, and bad parenting. The black mobs beating up teenage girls over Air Jordans have the same root as the white mobs burning down police precincts.
There is a lot of talk on the Right about rebuilding institutions and communities. I’m not going for it and neither should you. Until I see my political “allies” own up to the exclusion of black voices in their movement and the exploitation of black misery for their political gain it’s all Black Lives Matter rhetoric to me – as in black lives are the pliable and convenient stepping stones you needed to access and keep power.