Walter E. Williams

The poverty rate among blacks is 36 percent. Most black poverty is found in female-headed households, but the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits since 1994 and stands today at 7 percent. Today's black illegitimacy rate is 72 percent, but in the 1940s, it hovered around 14 percent. Less than 50 percent of black students graduate from high school, and most of those who do graduate have a level of academic proficiency far below that of their white counterparts. Black men make up almost 40 percent of the prison population.

Here are my several two-part questions: Is having babies without the benefit of marriage a bad decision, and is doing so likely to affect income? Are dropping out of school and participating in criminal activity bad decisions, and are they likely to have an effect on income? Finally, do people have free will and the capacity to make decisions, or is their behavior a result of instincts over which they have no control? As a black person, I'm glad that the message taught to so many of today's black youths wasn't taught back in the 1930s, '40s and '50s, when the civil rights struggle was getting into gear. The admonishment that I frequently heard from black adults was, "Be a credit to your race."


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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