It saddens me to consider the extent to which African Americans are still buying the outside-in approach. Certainly things are changing, which accounts for recent polling showing that George Bush is picking up ground among black voters. However, the large majority of blacks are still polling for John Kerry. This reflects the extent to which African American citizens still feel that they are results rather than causes. The social problems in the black community reflect the persistence of the sense of victimization, the sense that individuals are not in control of their own lives. It is this very pathology that causes them to find liberals like John Kerry appealing. The answer is always on the outside.
In a recent study published by my organization, CURE, on the Economic State of Black America, we see a starkly different picture between the economic reality of black America that is centered on family and the black America that is not. Households that are headed by married parents have median incomes three times greater than those headed by single mothers. Households headed by single mothers are four times more likely to be living in poverty than those with married parents at home.
Economic reality is an inside-out phenomenon and not outside in. Economic success reflects values, persistence, and hard work. The only thing government can do is remove obstacles it itself has created _ taxes and regulations _ that cause barriers to individual wealth creation. The unique barrier to wealth creation that government has caused in the black community is perpetuation of the very illusion that the problem is political and not personal.
Education, another issue of concern in the black community, is also inside out and not outside in. Study after study shows that the single greatest predictor for success in school is life at home. Again, family and values are the answers here. The government-created obstacle to individual achievement in education is the vice grip in which it is held by the public school monopoly. The problem here is both the inability of parents to choose where to send their kids to school and the politicized curricula of public schools that are sanitized of the very values that kids vitally need.
Blacks are beginning to get it and George Bush, the inside-out candidate, is picking up ground. The more time African Americans, and all Americans, spend looking in the mirror rather than at political ads, the faster we will pick up ground. This country is free. The answer to freedom is inside.
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