Not Race - The Family


Had a "discussion" with my brother this weekend about Black Lives Matter (BLM). He acknowledged that he was unaware of their views on "disrupting the prescribed Western nuclear family structure," nevertheless he said he was supportive of their stance against police brutality.

I understand the views of those like my brother who say that BLM's views on the family are irrelevant and therefore support their stand against police brutality, but I disagree. At issue is what we think the fundamental problems are in our society. To me, there is no problem more resounding across the board than the breakdown of the American family. Surely we have our societal problems with "race," mass incarceration, drug use and homelessness, but those issues are most often the derivatives of a broken family.

Given a solid family structure, not perfect, but solid, one can achieve to their potential in this country without regard to skin color. In fact, when surveys are controlled for socioeconomic status, i.e. when comparisons are made of people who grew up in similar family structures, it is resoundingly clear that the individuals do equally well without regard to skin color.

Our society speaks of a wealth gap based on differences in economic prosperity between "blacks" and "whites." They talk about the achievement gap, based on educational achievement differences between "blacks" and "whites" and they especially talk about the gap between incarceration of people with dark skin compared to the incarceration rate of people with lighter skin. However, you seldom hear anything about the Family gap and know why that is...?, because there isn't one. If your mom and dad remain married throughout your lifetime, without regard to skin color or wealth, then you simply do better.

I will provide no further commentary and simply present exhibit A, the Poverty chart below. For understanding, the group on the bottom shows the likelihood that the children will end up in poverty. For example for "Blacks" it shows that a married couple household has a 12% chance of poverty, a mother only household has a 45% chance of poverty and a father only household has a 36% chance of poverty. Sounds simple to me. Married couples play a big role in preventing poverty. Please study the diagram and think about the difference that could be made in our society if we began to see the family (mom/dad and children) as the most important institution in our society. I know that life and circumstances can prevent some from having the ideal family but we need to continue to hold up the "ideal" as the standard. If "race" is a problem at all, the family is the solution.

Source: Characteristics of Children's Families, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education. Last updated: May 2019.

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