Heather Mac Donald hits another one out of the park with a parsing of a New York Times article about the “youth crisis” of rising murder rates among blacks. Nothing new. Young black men kill each other and will continue doing so, fueled by factors like fatherlessness and family instability.
Generally speaking, there’s no one around to teach them how to be decent men and take responsibility for themselves and offspring they produce. The women in the family can’t or apparently don’t want to socialize them with the expectation of getting married and making a home of their own for themselves and their wives and children. They don’t learn how to master their impulses or direct their natural aggression to productive pursuits. And on and on.
You know my views on the matter. If not, check the archives. Search “fatherless,” “fatherlessness,” and variations on the theme.
I wanted to point you to Mac Donald’s column. Her critiques are always devastating, from my perspective. Too bad she doesn’t pop up in mainstream publications more often. In her latest City Journal article, “The Times’s Crime Confusions Persist,” she advises President-elect Barack Obama to take a new approach to reducing crime rates. If your time is short today, don’t waste it reading this post. Go straight to the article.
Mac Donald points out something I’m sure a lot of people know: the disparity between white and black homicides (10-to-1) actually is greater than the numbers show. That’s because the government includes hispanics in the “white” crime perpetrator rate category. “Hispanic crime rates are between three and four times that of whitesâ€”meaning that if one excluded the Hispanic homicides from the white rate, the black-white differential would be even larger than ten to one,” she writes.
Curiously, hispanic victims of crime are broken out into a separate category. This tactic masks the real horror (substitute sadness, atrocity, whatever works for you) of violent crime among blacks (and hispanics). That’s the point, I suspect.
Mac Donald also gets to the root of the problem, one so many people tend to ignore or downplay: marriage. A stabilizing and civilizing influence on men and boys and the conduit through which values and valuable life/family lessons are passed down, marriage is a rarity among young blacks with children. They don’t even expect to be married. They have sex, make babies and excuses, and pass this sorry and disrespectful behavior on to their children.
But talking about it won’t change anything, It makes for interesting conversation, though. It’s like looking at a train about to wreck. Terrible. Awful. But what can you do to stop it? It’s going too fast, and it’s a lot bigger than you are.
Mac Donald writes:
“Liberal policymakers and pundits have spilled buckets of ink over the years promoting social-service programs as the solution to crime, yetâ€”like the Timesâ€™s recent editorialâ€”those opinion-setters cannot squeeze out one word about the most effective anticrime (and antipoverty) strategy: marriage. The marriage imperative civilizes boys. By contrast, in a world where it is unusual for a man to marry the mother of his children, boys fail to learn the most basic lesson of personal responsibility: you are responsible for your children. Freed of the social expectation that they will have to provide a stable home for their offspring, boys have little incentive to restrain their impulses and develop bourgeois habits. In 2005, the national black illegitimacy rate was 70 percent, and it approached 90 percent in many inner cities (compared with a white illegitimacy rate of 25 percent, and as low as 6 percent in some urban areas, like the District of Columbia). The disappearance of marriage from the black community is a social cataclysm.
“Some highly structured, values-based youth programs, like the Boy Scouts, can provide boys a surrogate for the paternal authority that they lack at home; society is right to support these lifelines. But they cannot possibly bring crime down significantly among blacks in the absence of a cultural shift toward marriage. True, no one knows yet how to revive marriage in the black community. But given the imperative of doing so, you would think that somewhere in the flood of recommendations for more useless government social programs, a little space could be reserved for promoting the idea of a marriage movement.”
Mac Donald has and isn’t afraid to use common sense and put her thoughts down on paper for public consumption. Obviously, being called a racist doesn’t intimidate her in the least. Courageous and honest people are needed in a crisis, people, and but too many of us are faint-hearted.
The standard liberal solution to society’s problems in general and social pathology among blacks in particular strays far away from confronting the individual. Well-intentioned but ultimately useless social programs funded by taxpayers make liberals feel like they’re doing something. The truth is, we’re just spinning our wheels like hamsters. The character of individuals, not so much the dynamics of the group, must change.
P.S.: Instead of sending “dissenting” e-mail to me or Heather Mac Donald, send it to the men doing the killing and the men and women dooming black babies to fatherless childhoods. They deserve your scorn. We don’t.