Walter E. Williams

The pathology seen among a large segment of the black population is not likely to change because it's not seen for what it is. It has little to do with slavery, poverty and racial discrimination. Let's look at it. Today's black illegitimacy rate is about 70 percent. When I was a youngster, during the 1940s, illegitimacy was around 15 percent. In the same period, about 80 percent of black children were born inside marriage. In fact, historian Herbert Gutman, in "Persistent Myths about the Afro-American Family" in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History (Autumn 1975), reports the percentage of black two-parent families, depending on the city, ranged 75 to 90 percent. Today, only 35 percent of black children are raised in two-parent households. The importance of these and other statistics showing greater stability and less pathology among blacks in earlier periods is that they put a lie to today's excuses. Namely, at a time when blacks were closer to slavery, faced far more discrimination, more poverty and had fewer opportunities, there was not the kind of chaos, violence, family breakdown and black racism that we see today.

Intellectuals and political hustlers who blame the plight of so many blacks on poverty, discrimination and the "legacy of slavery" are complicit in the socioeconomic and moral decay. But as Booker T. Washington suggested, "There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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