Star Parker

Blacks are not given enough credit for being trendsetters in America.

Blacks started playing the blues, jazz, and R&B, then the rest of America started playing them. Blacks discovered the politics of victimhood, then the rest of America started catching on.

Black women got into having babies without marriage. Then white women started getting into it and the incidence of white out-of-wedlock births today -- almost 30 percent -- is higher than the black rate in the 1960's.

Blacks bought into dependency and the welfare state. Now the rest of America has bought in.

Blacks for years elected politicians championing public policy that destroyed their own communities. Now the rest of America has installed a new political leadership with the perfect formula -- run roughshod over private ownership, disdain traditional values, substitute political power for personal responsibility -- for destroying our country.

We can expect the rest of America to reap the same benefits that blacks have enjoyed from this lunacy. In the late 1960's, when President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his war on poverty and seeded welfare-state culture in our inner cities, the majority of black families had married parents living at home. By 1995 only 1 in 3 black homes had married parents.

As the black family collapsed, predictable social pathologies escalated: Crime, drugs, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, fatherless children, abortion, and disdain for education.

Not surprisingly, the black poverty rate, almost a quarter of the black population, has remained frozen at twice the national average since the late 1960's.

While the press was having a field day criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal's television remarks following President Obama's address to Congress, too little attention was paid to his personal story. After all, the father of the 37-year-old Louisiana governor was a poor immigrant from India.

Not every child of poor immigrants becomes a governor before their 40th birthday. But there is a reason more people from all over the world want to immigrate to the United States than we're willing to let in. They come here for opportunity. Children of poor immigrants getting educated and moving in one generation into the middle class is the story of America.

Why, then, when poor immigrant families readily move in one generation into the middle class, does one fourth of black America remain poor, generation after generation?

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.