Our parents are our early models of God. Their unconditional love teaches a child about the world around him, about emotional needs, about basic values and norms. From such interactions, a child's personality is formed.
The breakdown of the nuclear family is a matter of concern for all of us. The Boston Globe reported a few years ago that 64% of American households are made up of single parents. The skyrocketing rate of divorce and custody disputes in our country is having a devastating effect on our society. Broken homes are eroding the quality of interactions between families and children and fueling an increase in domestic assault, welfare services, poverty, crime, depression, poor educational achievement, etc.
This link between the disintegration of the family unit and increased social pathology is particularly evident in the minority community. Right now, Seventy percent of black babies are born to unmarried parents. Often times these single parents lack the resources to adequately care for themselves and their children. Frustration, neglect and abuse follow. We cannot pretend this is not happening.
In environment where families are broken and unconditional love is unknown, hope twists inward and horrible violence erupts. In 1992, the violent crime rate for blacks was nearly ten times the average for white males the same age. Violence is also eroding the black family unit. 45% of all spousal homicides in this country are attributed to blacks, despite the fact that they represent only 13% of the population.. This cycle of violence is one of the greatest scourges facing black America today. As noted author and political science professor, James Clark observed, "as the 20th century comes to a close, more black males will be incarcerated in prison than go to college."
Many people pay lip service to the eroding family structure in black America. But until we confront the broader and more fundamental issue of how restricted economic opportunities for black males contributes to broken families, little will change.